In terms of donations received, the United Way Worldwide is the largest privately held nonprofit organization, raising over $5 billion per year. With over 1,800 offices in 45 countries, and with 2.8 million volunteers, United Way is also a titanically large and truly global organization. As of today, it also accepts bitcoin through a new partnership with Coinbase.
The funds raised through the bitcoin-payment system will be earmarked for United Way’s Innovation Fund, dedicated to “transforming United Way and the social sector through technology, relationships, and efficiency.” Bitcoin-based payments hold signficant promise for nonprofit and charity organizations, removing processing and currency interchange fees from global donations. As the United Way’s bitcoin FAQ explains, “using bitcoin ensures that 100 percent of the funds donated go to United Way Worldwide’s Innovation Fund.”
The bitcoin system also allows the United Way a new “micro-donation” channel, allowing the organization to accept donations of $1. Using the current system, micro-donations are often discouraged because the price of processing the payments is often larger than the donation amount.
The partnership brings yet another round of good news for Coinbase, who only last week announced a partnership with payment processing giant PayPal. In July, Coinbase announced it had dropped all processing fees fees for nonprofit organizations after winning over another noteworthy global charity, the Wikimedia Foundation.