Management and Leadership in Nonprofits


Blockchain: Critical to the Social Impact of Nonprofits and Governments

Feb 11, 2019

From cryptocurrency to stock transaction settlements, you’ve heard how blockchain is being invested in and used by the financial institutions industry. But when you consider how the average person’s day-to-day life will change because of blockchain, the role of blockchain in tracking and measuring the social impact of nonprofits and governments, could be even bigger than its business applications.

Nonprofits and governments are already making the investments. These are the rewards:

Enhancing Both Transparency and Privacy

Blockchain is a distributed, immutable database protected by cryptography. This means that by blockchain’s very nature, it’s completely possible for donors to both make donations anonymously and gain visibility into where their donation is going and how it’s being used by the nonprofit.

As you likely have experienced, there are plenty of people who are cautious when donating, unsure if their money is truly making the difference they imagined, so this visibility has the potential to grow a nonprofit’s donor pool as well as retain donors. And more donations mean nonprofits can make a bigger social impact with their mission.

Tracking Investments

Visibility isn’t just for donors. Using blockchain, nonprofits will be able to track entire generations of data to understand the impact they’re making. An even greater benefit is being able to use that data to determine where they can invest in the future to maximize their impact.

For example, nonprofits working with children in a specific community can use blockchain to gather and analyze data from different entities, such as schools and public health agencies, to determine how children are being impacted by specific policies, and thus what areas the nonprofits can put their funds to use in to realize the greatest impact.

Optimizing Resources

On the government side, there are even more blockchain benefits. As the world’s population continues to grow, resource utilization is becoming a bigger and bigger topic. How can the world use its natural resources more efficiently? Governments around the globe are currently looking at how they can optimize the use of different utilities such as electricity and water by using blockchain to track the usage of these utilities by the public. Increasing the longevity of these resources and keeping pace with population growth are huge potential benefits that have made investing in blockchain a priority for many governments.

Creating a Universal Identity

But perhaps the greatest social impact blockchain could have is in creating a universal identity.

Here in the U.S., we typically have a Social Security number, government issued documents such as driver’s license and passport providing us with IDs that help us access different basic services such as insurance, healthcare and financial products. But without an ID, you can’t set up utilities, get a loan or access government benefits. How do you prove you are who you say you are? That’s the headache for institutions and governments across the world, as 1.1 billion people are currently living without an official identity.[1]

Blockchain is the solution for a universal identity. It can record information about a person, from their cell phone number to their address to biometrics. And so, over time, it collects data to create an informal ID, and the more data it gathers, the stronger the ID gets, until it’s no longer informal but rather official. Giving over a billion people an official ID is going to have an incredibly large impact on the world, changing lives for the better.

And nonprofits benefit. If you’re doing work in a country where not many people have identification, it’s more difficult to track the impact of your work. Blockchain can change that, making nonprofits more effective and further making a difference to people across the globe.

Making the Investment in Blockchain

Let us not think of blockchain as something that’s only happening in the future. There’s a tremendous amount of work being done now to realize its potential benefits. Wipfli is working with clients to conceptualize how blockchain can solve a variety of challenges. We develop proofs of concept to back up blockchain’s capabilities, strengthening any investment an organization chooses to make in blockchain. To learn more about how your organization can benefit from blockchain, contact us.

[1]“ID2020,” ID2020 Alliance,, accessed January 2019.


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Wipfli Editorial Team

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