Case Study: Change and charitable donations on chain

by Solana Foundation

Case Study: Change and charitable donations on chain

This is one of a series of case studies produced for the Solana Foundation that showcases individual, independent projects in the Solana ecosystem. Being featured in a case study does not constitute an endorsement from the Solana Foundation.

As the 2020 pandemic hit, millions of people were stuck inside, political energy swept the country, and shopping moved increasingly digital. For Sonia Nigam and Amar Shah, it was a catalyst to do something they had wanted to do together for a long time: start a company.

That’s when the Northwestern grads began working on a new idea: Empower consumer giving.

Today, their company Change provides brands with a set of web3-based software tools for social impact. Change’s APIs and no-code applications enable:

  • Nonprofits to add a “donate with crypto” form to their website
  • NFT collections to accept donations on primary or secondary sales
  • Consumers to donate both crypto and fiat at checkout

Change has enabled over $1,000,000 in charitable donations to date and allows individuals to donate to more than 200,000 nonprofit and charitable organizations. The organizations they’ve worked with range from snack delivery service SnackMagic to sustainable jewelry line Lokai, empowering individuals to donate to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and Girls Who Code.

Unlike platforms like GoFundMe, blockchain enables donation transparency to be built into the smart contract set-up. Community members will be able to look up the nonprofit’s wallet and see its entire history of donations and also see what happens to the donation after they make it. Because the blockchain posts transactions, it is easy for individuals to check, on their own, how the money flows.

Hear the founders of Change discuss their journey to enabling crypto donations.

“Folks want to know, what happened to my $10 I gave to this organization?,” says Sonia. Change allows brands to provide that information and tell those stories of impact – letting a brand inform a customer, for example, that their money went to a particular activity at a particular organization. Compared to other donation services, it’s easier for individuals to follow the money as it travels along a chain, potentially through multiple organizations.

“Solana in particular has been a really, really powerful ecosystem,” Sonia says. “We’ve seen a lot of incredible creators build communities, built on mission, and execute on that using Change.”

The Solana ecosystem also gave them several competitive advantages, as more brands looked for donation services that accepted cryptocurrencies — and more nonprofits were attracted to Solana over other cryptocurrencies because of its lower carbon footprint. Solana’s cost-effectiveness – transactions cost a fraction of a penny – also means that more of the donations end up in the hands of the non-profit. 

Reflecting on where Change has been, and where it’s headed, Sonia is excited for a future where nonprofits raise money quickly and cheaply, using blockchain’s unique advantages.

“Imagine a world where every single touchpoint in your commerce journey just gave a cent or two to an important cause,” she describes. “It all of a sudden revolutionizes how consistently we’re driving revenue to important nonprofit players — and it allows them to focus less on setting up the next fundraising gala and more on executing the mission they set out to do.”

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