BGC employs NFTs to ‘modernize’ fundraising

Art created by kids is being auctioned off, a way to blend buzzy technology with the organization's traditional methods.
Screen Shot 2021-10-22 at 12.20.11 PM

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have been a hot topic in recent months, and BGC Canada is looking to seize on some of that popularity with a new fundraising campaign.

The campaign – “Non-Fungible Donation” – harnesses some of the artwork created by BGC kids and couples it with the emergent technology to raise funds for the organization’s youth programs. In total, nine pieces of art have been scanned and turned into NFTs, and will be up for auction until Nov. 18 on the Opensea platform.

Something like a digital certificate of authenticity, NFTs use technology similar to blockchain to create a unique, unduplicatable token to hold the original version of a digital file. They can be used for video and audio files, but have been particularly popular for image files. Well-known artists have been able to sell NFTs of original works for millions, but even pedestrian-seeming digital art has gone for high prices as speculators have looked to scoop them up.

“NFTs have been a topic of conversation and interest that just seems to continue to trend upward, and I think it’s a fantastic way for people to share and produce art. For us, there was a really strong connection between that world and BGC,” says Matt Fraracci, CD at Sid Lee, which developed the campaign with BGC Canada.

BGC Canada rebranded earlier this year in a bid to move away from more gendered names and modernize itself. While the 120-year-old organization continues to do good work, it is “trying to leapfrog forward in the hearts and minds of Canadians,” says Rachael MacKenzie-Neill, and this “modern, amazing initiative” is one way it can do that.

“In terms of the ability to do something innovative, new and forward-thinking, this is incredibly appealing,” she adds. “I think any charitable organization would leap at the opportunity.”

The campaign represents a bit of a departure for BGC, which traditionally focuses on partnerships with corporate Canada to help raise funds and “go deeper” with its programming, MacKenzie-Neill notes. While it is still moving forward with its traditional fundraising efforts, the organization was also drawn in by the innovative idea to blend the hype of NFTs with the heart of BGC, she says.

“It takes a new currency, a new way of exchanging and monetizing value, and marries it with something that is so true to our DNA: the artwork that you see in every hall of every club,” says MacKenzie-Neill. “That’s the core of who we are. It’s our kids. That’s who we’re celebrating here.”

The campaign employs earned and targeted media in the social and digital spaces, primarily focused on the audience that is already actively engaged with and potentially even playing in the NFT space.

“We’re actively pursuing people in the NFT community. We’ve been tweeting a lot of people in the friendliest way possible who are vocal about the value of NFTs,” says Fraracci. “NFTs have a very devoted core of people who like to talk about them, but I think everybody has heard about them … this campaign really makes that world accessible to people and allows them to see the human side of it.”