Nonprofit organizations employ Bitcoin donations to save on transaction costs and protect donor identity. Bitcoin can also simplify the donation process.
Cointelegraph spoke to several activists and donors who employ Bitcoin to fund their philanthropic goals.
Small, crowd-sourced activism efforts rely on efficient and cost-effective methods of transfer for small donations, so as not to lose a significant portion of a donation to fees. James Cleaveland, the activist behind Robin Hood of Keene, used Bitcoin to fund activists filling expired parking meters to prevent parking violation citations from being issued.
“I believe that taking Bitcoins for payment did simplify things as we didn't have to open a bank account, pay fees such as through PayPal, or worry about having to go cash checks. The Bitcoins could be transferred to coins for the meters as needed.”
Angela Keaton, Director of Operations of pro-peace website AntiWar.com, relies on Bitcoin for small transactions.
“With cash and traditional forms of payment it’s nearly impossibly for someone to send us a dollar or two without the donation being chewed up by payment processor fees. With Bitcoin we regularly see small donations that cost us nothing to accept and hold.”
Speed and efficiency
Christopher David, the pro-ridesharing activist behind Free Uber, used Bitcoin donations to fund a very fast-paced activism campaign with very little planning beforehand.
“We needed to raise money quickly for time-sensitive activism projects. We didn't have a bank account and didn't want to mess with PayPal's rules and transaction fees. Bitcoin had the added benefit of transparency, with all donations and disbursements listed publicly on the blockchain.”
One of the major donors to radio show, Free Talk Live, James Davis, has also used Bitcoin to fund other activism projects.
“I've also been able to contribute quickly, directly, and anonymously (when preferred) for a handful of other [New Hampshire]-based projects. NHjury.com, Rights Brigade (the activism calendar, fliers), the Free State Project, and the Free Uber fliers.”
Anonymity is a key concern among certain donors who have reasons for requesting that their donations remain private, and Cleaveland was happy that Bitcoin was able to provide that feature to the funding of his activism.
“We didn't have to deal with banks such as when accepting PayPal or checks and could accept anonymous donations. Much of the donations through Bitcoin were anonymous although a few people let us know when they sent funds.”
Because of some of AntiWar.com’s more high-profile issues, Keaton also values the ability for Bitcoin to protect the identity of donors, “so this allows donors who might have some privacy concerns -- we do not ever reveal the names of our donors regardless -- extra protection.”
A superior donation currency
Ultimately, when financing Robin Hood of Keene’s activism, Cleaveland said “Bitcoin was used due to its ease of accepting it.” Davis preferred its use for more philosophical reasons.
“My hope is that other relatively early adopters of Bitcoin (like myself) continue to reinvest the capital gains we've realized from Bitcoin to continue to fulfill the original vision of Bitcoin as a means to toppling the current economic and governmental structures. By powering subversive action with a currency designed to subvert the government, we act as a catalyst for the change Bitcoin has the power to bring.
So, my perspective is simple. If you've become more wealthy as a result of investing in Bitcoin, you likely did so because someone from the counterculture turned you on to it. If you hope to become even better off thanks to these sorts of things, you ought to invest in them. In that way, funding activism with Bitcoin is as symbolic as it is practical.”