- With Web3, artists can build compounding online support around shared values with new tools.
- Discover how to get your project off the ground and foster community.
Giving back is one of the ties that bind the artist community together. For example, Beeple, whose work raised $6 million for the OpenEarth Foundation, and artist-led NFT communities like CowgirlDAO, which reportedly donated more than $70,000 this year to abortion access organizations, are examples of non-fungible token (NFT) developers.
Web3 is unlocking a new set of tools that enable artists to build compounding online support around shared values. “We raised $30,000 in minutes,” said CowgirlDAO founder Molly Dickson of her inaugural NFT drop Computer Cowgirls. That kind of immediacy, said Dickson, would not have been possible “if I was just shilling prints to my friends and family to raise money.”
Earlier this year, Dickson launched a second NFT collection in response to a leak from the Supreme Court suggesting Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion ruling, would likely be reversed. The collection raised about $44,000 for Fund Texas Choice, a nonprofit organization that covers out-of-state abortion travel expenses. The amount of revenue generated by secondary sales continues to grow.
Here are some tips from those who have successfully raised funds through their art for social causes.
How to get started
In order to launch a successful NFT campaign, it is important to come up with a concept first. Your collection may be inspired by current events, social justice issues, and personal connections.
“My focus is always on using art as a tool for storytelling – especially BIPOC stories – about women’s rights and girls’ education,” said Maliha Abidi, artist and founder of WomenRise NFTs. “That’s what I will continue to do no matter what space I enter.” The project donated approximately $120,000 to organizations supporting girls’ education, including the Malala Fund founded by Nobel laureate and education advocate Malala Yousafzai.
According to experts, it’s also crucial to consider practical questions, such as whether you would like your collection to be PFP-focused, one-of-a-kind or entirely original.
The project’s launch
The key to raising awareness of your artwork is to generate buzz within your community. Although marketing tactics are important, Dickson and Abidi were able to tap into their existing followers’ goodwill without hiring a public relations firm. Through Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms, they spread the word about the projects they have released on the popular NFT platform OpenSea.
Before inviting collaboration around a “road map,” a popular Web3 term for creating a long-term strategy, it is often a good idea to inspire your followers with a mission-driven narrative.
NFT charitable projects offer holders special perks called utility, which can include private Discord channels, live events, and virtual meetups. The knowledge that one is making a positive impact may give NFT holders a sense of satisfaction. As well as connecting supporters around a shared mission, community meetups, whether virtual or in person, can also help build community.
Collectors can also be motivated by owning coveted pieces of art, particularly if the collection incorporates rarity characteristics.
“Web3 gave me an outlet to raise money that I didn’t have,” said Dickson. “If we have a whole new way of fundraising that activates people who weren’t activated before, that’s kind of amazing.”
Considerations of law
In addition to fundraising, there are many legal considerations when launching an NFT project. The first step is to navigate carefully around payment structures. In order to facilitate crypto donations to charitable organizations, Dickson and CowgirlDAO set up Endaoment, a tax-exempt nonprofit. Through the Ethereum-based platform, donors can connect a crypto wallet and donate almost any crypto or digital asset, which is then exchanged into USDC via Uniswap and deposited into the smart contract of a chosen fund.
The donation of proceeds from NFT sales does not trigger any regulatory red flags at present. In any case, if your project uses NFT ownership as a membership, it’s important not to promise positive appreciation. NFTs that promise returns on others’ efforts may attract buyers who view them as investments, not charity.
In the end, buyers will donate to your project for a variety of reasons. Collectors may be attracted to the artwork itself as they would to a physical auction, while others may see it as an opportunity to donate along with the artwork.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.