Wise Giving Wednesday: And the Oscar Goes to….Cryptocurrency Donations for Ukraine

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calendar icon Mar 30, 2022

 During the 94th Academy Awards® that aired Sunday, March 27th, one of the commercial advertisements during the breaks featured a cryptocurrency service company that provided viewers a web address or QR code link to make a cryptocurrency donation to the International Red Cross for their relief efforts in Ukraine. While this is not the only occasion in Oscar telecast history that charitable generosity was encouraged, it is likely the first time cryptocurrency was introduced as a means to make that donation. To assist those seeking to make cryptocurrency donations to Ukraine, we would like to offer the following advice.

Slow Down. The old adage that haste makes waste can also be applied to charity crypto donations. While the emotion of the moment may encourage you to make an immediate gift, remember that legitimate charities will welcome your donations anytime. Remember to do you due diligence in make an informed giving decision. In some ways this is even more important with crypto donations since it is highly unlikely that you can get your money back if you realize later you made a mistake. If you are uncertain, consider making a credit card gift instead where you have a better chance of reversing an error in judgment.

Always Check Out the Charity. Don’t assume anyone conducting a cryptocurrency donation drive has vetted featured charities. Visit the charity’s website to find out more about what type of relief activities are being provided to the 6.5 million internally displaced people in Ukraine or to the close to 4 million Ukrainian refugees that have fled to neighboring countries. Also visit Give.org to view evaluative reports that specify if the charity meets the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.

Verify the Wallet Address. While social media such as Facebook or Twitter may display ads or communications that provide a convenient wallet address to use to send your cryptocurrency donation, it is safest to go to the charity’s website directly or a trusted crypto-donation platform to make sure the address is genuine. There have already been instances of scams that attempt to redirect the crypto donations by providing a false wallet address in social media that redirects donations to a charlatan’s pockets.

Don’t Share Your Blockchain Passphrase. The passphrase is a 12-word phrase that serves to access your cryptocurrency wallet. If someone is offering assistance to help you make a cryptocurrency donation and asks for your blockchain passphrase or private key, beware. Once they have that access, they can quickly empty your cryptocurrency wallet into their own accounts.  

NFT Purchases that Benefit Charity. Some may use cryptocurrency to purchase of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) such as artwork or video clips that are advertised as benefiting a charity. If so, see if the promotion clearly indicates what amount of the purchase will benefit the specified charity. And, check out the charity before you make the purchase. Alternatively, some cryptocurrency donation requests may offer donors a gift, such as an NFT, for those who make cryptocurrency donations. If that is the case, look beyond the offered NFT benefit and find out if the charity is one that you truly want to support.

For additional assistance in making informed giving decisions, visit the resources available at give.org.

Video of the Week

BBB Wise Giving Alliance President & CEO and Host of the Heart of Giving Podcast, Art Taylor, is featured in a video that shares some valuable giving tips to help you make wise giving decisions to help with the ongoing relief efforts in Ukraine. We also feature interviews with 5 of our accredited charities Mercy Corps, Americares, GlobalGiving, MAP International, and USA for UNHCR who were interviewed to discuss their relief efforts in Ukraine.

Heart of Giving Podcast

In this week's Heart of Giving Podcast, BBB WGA President & CEO Art Taylor interviews Sarah Welch, Vice President, ideas42. She talks about what got her interested in behavioral science to understand and improve the design of programs and policies and discuss how ideas42's work is geared towards creating social impact using behavioral science. 

Recent Reports

We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:

Finally, remember to let us know by going to give.org/charity-inquiry if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.

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