For this month’s Connect theme, a number of speakers are previewing the great breakout sessions they are preparing for the 2015 Nonprofit Technology Conference in Austin, TX March 4-6. Following is a preview of one of over 100 breakout sessions.
One recent sunny afternoon in Austin, I gathered with a small crowd at NTEN’s local 501 Tech Club to lunch and learn about digital currencies and payments innovations.
We were there to talk about Bitcoin—what it is (digital cash), what it isn’t (Internet not required), why you would want to take advantage of it (0% transaction fee, anyone?), and what you need to know before implementing (multi-signature wallets!).
The informal discussion was led by presenters David J Neff, Digital Strategy Manager at PwC; and Jacob Parks, Legal Researcher at the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. You can watch the whole thing on Capital Factory’s YouTube or read my blog post for a summary.
Most importantly, I learned that tech-savvy charities need to address changes happening in the payments landscape now.
The timing is perfect for you to learn from trail-blazing organizations already breaking ground in new frontiers, while still being early enough to claim advantages for your own cause. For example, digital currencies, such as Bitcoin, offer an excellent fundraising currency for micropayments and microlending because they provide a platform where you can give $0.25 without credit card fees eating it up. Organizations that have a good strategy in place will be poised to gain exposure to new sources of support with little accounting risk.
Digital currencies aren’t the only things shaking up the payments landscape. Changes in physical security, such as chip-and-PIN (smartcard) technology, are already being used widely in Canada and Europe and will be expanding in the United States. ApplePay and others are radically increasing the adoption of tap-to-pay near-field communications (NFC) platforms, especially in event-based scenarios. Will your nonprofit be ready?
All this innovation has not gone unnoticed at the major NPTech software companies, either. PayPal has added digital currencies and wallets to its lineup of merchants, and more is on the way. And Microsoft is accepting Bitcoin! Software providers who want to keep their customers are looking for creative ways to integrate more payment options into their solutions. As they do, more charities will have more ways to connect with donors within existing toolsets.
At the 15NTC, we are going to take this discussion to the next level with an expanded panel of experts to talk about how payments innovations are changing the way organizations engage with their constituents (“Accepting Payments: Credit cards, mobile payments, and cryptocurrencies“). David J. Neff will join NTEN veteran, Jason Shim from Pathways to Education Canada, as well as pros from Blackbaud and PayPal in a panel you won’t want to miss! Consider this a primer on how digital currencies and payments innovations can help your organization.
See you in Austin!