NFT collections and the emergence of decentralized economic models are providing powerful tools for NFT creators to build communities in support of causes that matter. In October alone, the Solana NFT ecosystem witnessed over $1.2 million in charitable donations made by 10 recently-launched, cause-based NFT collections, a number that will continue to grow as more and more socially-impactful projects launch.
Like anything new and transformative however, naysayers, opportunists, and skeptics abound. Yet for all the questions being raised, there are numerous, strong indications that NFTs -- and NFT collections in particular -- may very well be the new frontier for charitable contributions and positive social impact in our world.
It’s a Win, Win, Win Model!
“When NFT projects have a charitable component, everyone wins”, says Benjamin aka “Monster Mike”, founder of MonsterBook NFT and co-host of the Twitter space, The Kindness Collective.
“Founders can fund their collections, buyers receive an appreciating asset, and charities receive a percentage of mint revenue and ongoing donations from secondary market sales. For the first time ever, retail investors can reap an ROI from a charitable donation.”
But it’s not just about monetary contributions. For project creators and collectors, there is often a personal connection to the cause. For Ben, his upcoming NFT collection is a way to bring awareness to undiagnosed female autism. The funds from the NFT mint will be used to publish a physical children’s book with a real life message that parallels his sister’s journey with autism.
For Ben, NFTs are a dream come true. He’s able to support his art, meet new and interesting people, and better understand his sister’s diagnosis all while raising money for Autism Speaks.
A Shared Purpose
Community is at the heart of what’s happening in the NFT space. Collections are now able to unite people around a shared purpose, incentivize them with social tokens, and provide a sense of belonging that extends far beyond the virtual world.
Buyers of these NFTs receive an asset that may appreciate, though equally important, they become involved in something bigger than themselves. Each project is an opportunity for individuals to do something good in the world while simultaneously expanding their social circle.
After surviving breast cancer at 29, Desiree aka “Dzikt” used art to cope with her devastating experience. After witnessing the power of strong communities in projects like Belugies and Women Rise, she was inspired to launch her own NFT project, Girlfrens, with the aim of building a community that could benefit other young people affected by cancer. As she says, “It’s been inspiring watching the Girlfrens community form. And, witnessing the recognition that their NFTs can be harnessed to do good in the world.”
Additionally, many projects see a strong community as the ultimate utility. According to Jake and Alex, co-founders of Proof of Consciousness, “[we believe] a like minded community… will make the world a more fun and loving place to exist in”. Their whole goal with the project is to ensure the human species is “more actualized and connected”. As such, they’re donating to M.A.P.S. (the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) as a way to support what they believe is the future of therapeutic healing.
The Long Tail
For the first time ever, we have a way for people across the globe to actively participate in charitable causes through digital asset ownership. Charitable giving has, for many years, been a way for the wealthy elite to take advantage of tax deductions and build a lasting legacy. Yet now, with the radical paradigm shift ushered in by the rise of NFTs, anyone and everyone is able to donate to charity and reap the financial and social benefits. Those who may have felt like they had no access to the world of charitable contributions now have a fun and potentially profitable reason to give.
Onboarding Challenges & the Future
Charity is an industry that depends entirely on its community. Some organizations have strong business models and others are funded solely by the individuals who support their mission. In 2020, Americans donated $471.44 billion, with 69% of that total coming from individuals.
Although these individuals share common interests and values, very few are connected to the greater whole. Now though, through NFTs, communities are being built around charitable causes and connecting formerly isolated donors.
Despite the popularity of NFTs, many charitable organizations are still sidelined. Some have started to explore this new frontier, yet most struggle with the logistics of crypto and NFTs. On the other side of the equation, many new projects have the desire to donate to charity, though stumble over the same question: “how?”
Lotus Gang, a highly-successful Solana mint, wanted to donate a portion of their proceeds to charity. Yet, after numerous calls they were met with a plain “no thank you”. These were charities turning down donations all because they didn’t want to fool with crypto. Luckily, the team behind Lotus Gang found a solution.
By working directly with UNITED SIKHS, a global #humanitarian charity, Lotus Gang was able to donate $52,000 USD. They walked UNITED SIKHS through the entire process, including assisting them in setting up a wallet and addressing concerns around crypto and the NFT space as a whole.
For creators and project teams, onboarding a charity can be a frustrating process. In the end, however, it is always worth it. After their tumultuous-yet-ultimately-successful experience, Lotus Gang now wishes to be an example for others.
Similarly, companies like The Giving Block and GetChange.io are fighting to make crypto-donations as smooth as possible. By providing services for collections and non-profits alike, these companies are on the forefront of a burgeoning sector in the NFT crypto space that will revolutionize the charitable process as we know it.
We appear to be on the cusp of a new frontier for giving. The ability to launch NFT collections that yield perennial donations through secondary sales makes it easier than ever to do your part for society. Projects run by decentralized communities with a vested interest in social impact will undoubtedly open up heretofore unthought of opportunities for good.
Curious exploration of newfound technologies by creators and non-profits may very well be the catalyst we need for an ultimately fundamental transformation in how humans spread social good.
Thank you Antony & Solforgood!
Antony is the founder of Solforgood.com, a Solana-based platform focused on measuring the positive impact that NFTs are making in the world. Check out their upcoming auction of 1/1 NFT called the “Shaman White Lion” with proceeds benefiting the White Lion Foundation Trust here.