What is Web3?

Web3 is a new version of the internet that uses blockchain (IE a secure but transparent record keeping system) to decentralize the management of the internet, thus reducing the control of prominent companies such as Google or Meta. It is defined as open-source software that doesn’t require the support of a trusted intermediary and it has no governing body. This new version of the world wide web aims to make the internet more autonomous, going beyond net neutrality, and bringing power to the people instead of internet providers and big corporations.

The concept of Web3 has been around since 2014, when Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood coined it. It has continued to gain traction with the growth of bitcoin’s blockchain technologies, expanding NFT markets, venture capital investments, and ongoing calls to reign in the power of big tech.

Web3 draws its name as the third iteration of the internet. The first iteration of the internet consisted of read-only, static web pages. Web 2.0 added the ability to interact with and produce content, making activities such as social media, online banking, and shopping possible. With the third iteration of the internet already on its way (hello cryptocurrencies and augmented reality), Web3 will continue to usher in new technologies, forever changing the way people interact.

Why Should Nonprofits Care About Web3?

Web3 is already changing the way people think about giving out personal identifiable information (PII) online, how they invest and store their money, and what kinds of transparency they expect from companies and brands they interact with online, including nonprofits. Nonprofits should care about Web3 and get ahead of the trend to set themselves up for success. Far too many times in history we see nonprofits struggling to keep up with the latest technologies due to limited resources and limited funds – but not with Web3!  Nonprofits should look at Web3 as a way to elevate their fundraising and interactions with donors since there is no cost for Web3. 

Benefits of Web3 for Nonprofits:

  • Security for donor PII and funds
  • Transparency to keep donors updated on how funds are used
  • No middleman to take a percentage of donations
  • Elevate fundraising tactics to reach a wider audience (AR, Metaverse, etc.)

What is the Metaverse?

The Metaverse is a virtual reality “world” where users can interact with each other and digital objects in a three-dimensional, simulated space using any internet-connected VR device. It is an immersive, interactive, and social platform where people can create avatars to represent themselves, buy and sell virtual property, and interact with other users in real-time. 

Nonprofits and the Metaverse

The Metaverse offers nonprofits a variety of ways to engage with potential donors and bring awareness to your mission. Here are a few things to think about when strategizing: 

Engage Younger Supporters

Millennials and Gen Z don’t just want to be passive consumers; they want to feel a connection and take part in something authentic and spontaneous. With virtual reality, nonprofits can socialize (with avatars) as if they were meeting face-to-face and engage with younger supporters. By creating virtual worlds where their supporters can assist with projects they care about, nonprofits can inspire Gen Z to become advocates for their mission.

Create Empathy with Augmented Reality

Nonprofit organizations often tackle complex problems with hard-to-communicate ideas and sometimes, static, 2D images and videos aren’t enough to explain the problem. By creating a 3D virtual reality, organizations can immerse supporters in a more engaging, interactive, and personal experience, thus enhancing their empathy for a cause. A Walk-Through Dementia is a unique app designed to put participants in the shoes of someone living with dementia. Nonprofits can utilize AR tools to allow volunteers and supporters to perform engaging and immersive actions that were, in the past, only done in person.

While Web3 and the Metaverse may seem overwhelming at first, the reality is that your nonprofit may be using parts of these technologies already. Accepting cryptocurrencies or using sophisticated security measures for your donor database means the organization is on its way to using Web3. Creating a 3D avatar or a Snapchat lens that raises awareness for the nonprofit’s cause stem from technology that AR and the Metaverse were built on. These new technologies are here to help your nonprofit thrive, so make sure you’re paying attention to them and don’t get left behind!

About the Author

Carolyn Driscoll is the founder of UncommonGood, an all-inclusive platform for nonprofits to manage their operations, marketing, and fundraising efforts. She offers expert tips to nonprofit organizations planning to move their in-person auctions online. UncommonGood was founded on the idea that nonprofit organizations should have access to the same high-quality tools and resources as for-profit companies, without having to spend half their budget on them.

Carolyn is also a venture capitalist with over 15 years of experience managing investments. She has successfully raised funds for pre-seed and later-stage rounds for early-stage ventures and start-ups and has a proven track record of success. When she’s not working, she spends time volunteering with The Alzheimer’s Family Support Center and enjoys traveling, spending time with her dogs, gardening, and not wearing shoes.

UncommonGood offers simplified fundraising, marketing, and project management software for nonprofits of all sizes.