What the heck is an NFT? …and, what does it have to do with my Prospects, Alumni and Donors?

Crypto Wealthy are givers, and they want to give in Crypto.

Maybe you’re thinking about it? Maybe you’re discussing it? But here’s the bottom line: our guidance to our clients and friends: it’s here, not a fad and it’s time to act. But be careful though, many think of Crypto in terms of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency such as Ethereum, Solana, Polygon, etc., when in fact Crypto includes another asset class known as NFTs, or Non-fungible Tokens.

About NFTs

In the Crypto world, there are lots of discussions, media and social buzz, and wealth generation around NFTs (or Non-Fundable Tokens). What are they? How differ from Cryptocurrency? And most importantly, why do they matter for fundraisers?

Non-fungible describes a one-of-a-kind asset that is unique and can’t be readily exchanged for another good within the same asset class. In the analog word, an example of a non-fungible asset is your great-grandmother’s wedding ring, an original piece of artwork or that Mickey Mantle baseball card signed and authenticated with DNA.  In other words, assets that there are no others like them.

In the digital world, NFTs are digital assets such as animations, graphic designs, GIFs, audio files, memes and even tweets that are authenticated on a Blockchain. In the same way that unique Mickey Mantle’s card was authenticated with DNA, NFTs the Blockchain provides the authentication that they are genuine and original.

With the recent NCAA policy change, college athletes can now join the NFT market to auction, sell, and monetize their brand.  Florida State quarterback McKenzie Milton and, of course, The University of Iowa’s basketball star Luka Garza are two examples.

Some notable NFTs

  • Billionaire investor Mark Cuban sold a motivational-quote NFT for $1,700. It said, “No one ever changed the world by doing what everyone else was doing.”
  • Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, sold an NFT version of his first tweet for $2.9 million at an auction which says, “just setting up my twttr.”
  • The musician (and mother of Elon Musk’s youngest son) Grimes sold her NFT collection of digital artworks for $6 million in less than 20 seconds.
  • Well-known artist Mike Winklemann, also known as Beeple, sold a 21,069 x 21,069-pixel collage of his first 5,000 days of artwork for $69 million.

What’s the difference between Cryptocurrency and NFTs?

You may have already concluded the difference between cryptocurrency and NFTs, but at its essence Cryptocurrency is a “Fungible” asset.  Fungible simply describes a good or asset that can be easily swapped for another good within the same asset class. For example, I can exchange my $100 bill for five $20’s at my bank. Or I can exchange $100 USD for 87.23 Euro, $100 for 0.000023 BTC Bitcoin, etc.

So why does all this matter to us?

There are many reasons why we’ll be happy to have an in-depth conversation with you, but here are the key ones as we see it:

  1. The new wealthy (who we call ‘RisingStars’) are highly invested into Crypto (both Cryptocurrency and NFTs) and they are philanthropic.
  2. Take Crypto donations and make it as simple as donating on credit cards, DAFs or securities.
  3. Your RisingStars will Donate NFTs. Be ready to take them and don’t ask them to liquidate to USD first because there may be significant tax implications to do so. As you saw above, NFT assets can have sizable valuations – now or in the future. It is essential therefore you should have the ability to accept gifts in both Cryptocurrency and NFT’s plus have a strategy on how you are going to determine if you are going to hold the NFT asset or liquidate it.
  4. Know the Alumni and Constituents that own significant Crypto holdings. We can help with this.
  5. NFTs are a significant Fundraising opportunity. It is happening with Athletes based on NIL rules. Why not partner with Athletics? How about an NFT campaign to your Alumni base? Maybe you have a beloved Coach that is retiring, a Heisman trophy winner, an NBA prospect, a professor who developed a breakthrough vaccine in your medical research school. If you give at X-level, you get the one-of-a-kind special edition NFT, tickets at the 50-yard line and dinner with the Coach and his wife?


To learn more about RisingStars, and how you can identify, inspire, and engage your Crypto class of donors, please call us at 571.498.7075 or email us at [email protected].

Share This