Americans broke out their pocketbooks to give over $410 billion to charity in 2017, a 5.2% increase from the previous year. However, a series of scandals have rocked the way that the public perceives the typical charity, and trust in charitable organizations recently cratered to 57%, the lowest the figure has dipped since 2005. It’s no coincidence that headline-grabbing scandals in the world of philanthropy coincided with the decline in faith toward these organizations. The recent Oxfam scandal exposed rampant sexual abuse by supposed do-gooders, shedding a perhaps unfairly harsh light on philanthropy as a whole and causing some to question whether Oxfam’s $44 million in state funding should be revoked. It seems that for every National Military Family Association, which spends 82% of donations on its causes, there is a National Veteran Services Fund, which conversely allotted less than a third of the money it took into its purported causes.
Essentially, the term charity has been used and abused, and much of the public is no longer willing to take charities’ word as bond. Blockchain technology could help resurrect the images of charities willing to adopt its services. By minimizing administrative costs through automation, providing more accountability through traceable giving milestones, and allowing donors to see more clearly where their funds are going, blockchain may help restore some of the lost credibility to charities that prove worthy of the public’s trust.