There is a huge opportunity to monetise content via NFTs. It’s time charities took this new funding stream seriously.

The year 2021 was a watershed one for NFTs. From pop artist Grimes selling her NFTs for millions of dollars to Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s signed Tweet NFT, it’s clear that what started off as the wild west of art and media investment will stick around for years to come. With that in mind, it’s time for charities to consider NFTs (‘non-fungible tokens’ – non-interchangeable units of data stored on a blockchain) as part of their fundraising efforts.

Content that spreads like wildfire

Viral campaigns play a significant role in raising awareness and funds for charitable causes. And we can’t discuss the role of viral content in fundraising without mentioning the wildly successful ‘Ice Bucket Challenge.’ Three young men, who suffered from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), started the challenge by filming and posting content of themselves pouring a bucket of ice-cold water on their heads to raise awareness of the neurodegenerative disease.

Within weeks, celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates took part in the challenge, driving over 10 billion views to #IceBucketChallenge content. This resulted in a staggering $115 million in donations toward conducting research and spreading awareness of the disease. This is only one example of the knock-on effect sparked by small content creators that ultimately led to one of the most influential charity campaigns.

The role of NFTs

With content being viewed by the masses in a matter of hours, or even minutes, NFTs can have a great impact on how charities raise funds for their causes. NFTs applied to charitable viral content means that charities could supercharge their fundraising efforts and earn royalties each time these videos or images are viewed, a potentially more lucrative way to use NFTs to maximize fundraising efforts.

The ability to buy, sell, and auction NFTs will empower charities to raise funds from the virality that comes with raising awareness. Working in conjunction with artists, businesses, entertainment outlets and more, countless types of content could be generated and monetised, resulting in far greater inflows of funding. The possibilities are huge and have only begun to be explored.

Through interoperable smart contracts, NFT fundraising can be done globally and in a cost-effective way. This would allow charities to spend very little upfront to capitalise on viral videos that gain traction worldwide.

In the past, most charities would have been limited to raising funds within local communities, unable to monetise the media that goes on to gain international fame. However, if viral content could be tokenised and sold internationally, non-profit organisations could potentially raise more funds for their cause.

Crossing borders

Take Movember for instance. Individuals and small businesses band together in November to raise awareness and funds for men’s health by growing out their facial hair and then shaving it at the end of the month. This is often documented on social media, with content by celebrities going viral quickly.

If such content could be auctioned internationally, men’s health charities could raise more funds than they would have had they stuck to traditional fundraising strategies. Additionally, an international audience could prompt communities to open their own Movember chapter where there was none before.

The traceability afforded by NFTs also enables fundraising campaigns to continue raising funds after the initial fundraising effort phases out. Through royalties, future views of the videos can generate charitable income after content has been sold, giving charities a novel way to monetise the virality of their campaigns. Additionally, charities will receive a share of the proceeds as content continues to be resold and bought.

Digitising charities

As crypto technology continues to develop, charities can continue to discover new ways to capitalise on viral trends and content. Since those who participate in a trend on social media do not necessarily donate, charities have long struggled with bridging the gap between raising awareness and fundraising efforts.

Monetising awareness using NFTs gives charities a new avenue which they can pursue to raise funds and continue to do so long after a viral trend has died down.

Billy Sebell is Head of Ecosystem Development for XinFin Fintech and is Executive Director of the XDC Foundation. He has over 25 years  of manufacturing and consumer products experience with a strong emphasis in dealing with the challenges that businesses face in capital markets and international trade.

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