WHAT THE FUNDRAISING

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46: What You Don’t Know About Crypto Can Cost You & Your Organization with Veronica Hash

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“I’m very proud of all I’ve been able to bring to the table because I’ve been willing to take some risks.”

– Veronica Hash
Episode #46

Overview

In this episode of What the Fundraising Podcast…

If you’re sidestepping cryptocurrency because it seems too abstract or risky, you won’t want to miss this episode of What the Fundraising. It features Veronica Hash, program manager of Belonging, Diversity & Inclusion at Coinbase, a secure online platform for buying, selling, transferring, and storing digital currency. By demystifying terms like “blockchain” and “NFTs,” Veronica opens a window on the fundraising opportunity many non-profits are currently leaving on the table. 

And, in true What the Fundraising fashion we explore the why behind our fear of talking about crypto.

Women in fundraising harbor not only all kinds of cultural taboos about what it means to bring up money, but we also have to get past our own perfectionism (aka the need to have all the answers for our donors all the time). It’s okay, says Veronica, if we don’t know the world of cryptocurrency. In fact, it’s an opportunity to collect questions from partners, bring in experts, set up round-table conversations. Facing your fear, Veronica adds, is the best way to locate mentors, acquire education and find the tools to embrace digital currency. Non-profits that hide from or ignore crypto are very likely leaving money and partnerships on the table. 

Coinbase – among the largest crypto exchange platforms in the world – built a philanthropic mission into the heart of its business plan: To increase economic freedom in the world. Veronica explains the company’s internal giving program (which engages and keeps employees across all departments focused on core values) and also highlights how crypto investing has stretched her – and impacted her family – in positive ways. Cultivating abundance is powerful – and interesting to consider in light of this new, perhaps unfamiliar world of crypto. What does it all mean for you and your non-profit? Listen now because we’re here to help you figure it out!

If you’d like to incorporate cryptocurrency as an option for donors, it has just been integrated into the powerful e-commerce giving platform provided by our sponsor, Pledge. Give it a try!

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RELATED CONTENT

This week’s guest Veronica Hash @Coinbase roots for E-Soccer’s inclusive sports program.

About E-Soccer:

E-Soccer is an all-volunteer, inclusive soccer program established in 2000 to give kids with typical and special needs an opportunity to participate in sports and fun alongside each other. It’s dedicated to empowering children of all abilities, providing an inclusive environment that promotes leadership as well as social, character, and athletic development. Children are taught to learn from one another.

Website for e-Soccer

Get to know Coinbase: – Founded in June of 2012, Coinbase is a digital currency wallet and platform where merchants and consumers can transact with new digital currencies like bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. Our vision is to bring more innovation, efficiency, and equality of opportunity to the world by building an open financial system. Our first step on that journey is making digital currency accessible and approachable for everyone. Two principles guide our efforts. First, be the most trusted company in our domain. Second, create user-focused products that are easier and more intuitive to use. www.coinbase.com/about

If you’d like to incorporate cryptocurrency as an option for donors, it has just been integrated into the powerful e-commerce giving platform provided by our sponsor, Pledge. Give it a try!

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I teach nonprofit fundraisers to bring in more gifts from the RIGHT donors… so they can stop hounding people for money. Fundraising doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.

MALLORY ERICKSON

episode transcript

Mallory Erickson: Welcome everyone. I am so excited to be here today with my old friend, Veronica Hash. Veronica, thank you for joining me on the show. 

Veronica Hash: Oh, thank you so much for having me. I’m super excited to be here. This is awesome. 

Mallory Erickson: So I’m excited to have you just because of the human that you are. And I know sort of the work that is at your core, but I was really excited to hear about this new role that you have and so tell everyone a little bit about what it is that you do, what role you’re in and what brought you to that. 

Veronica Hash: Yeah. So I am the manager for Belonging at Coinbase, which is our DEI equity and inclusion program. And I’ve been managing it for about a year. It’s been fantastic. I’ve been at Coinbase for two years.

And for those of you who don’t know, Coinbase is actually a cryptocurrency platform. And it’s really, in my opinion, one of the most trusted, easiest to use platforms. And we really have a mission where we want to increase economic freedom in the world. So that underlines everything that we do, whether it’s products that we make or different geographies that we go into, we really want to make sure that crypto is available for as many people as possible.

And then for me, I ended up here basically, it’s just, the universe always opens those doors. And I know, both of us have that spiritual background. And I think for me after I had left my dream job, which was working at Pandora music in Oakland, California, I was pregnant with the second kid and I realized I didn’t want to go back to being an Executive Assistant. It was a 24/7 type of life, and I didn’t think I’d be able to balance that. And a recruiter reached out to me about Coinbase and I already had a great experience with crypto and Bitcoin. I’ll tell you more about that in a little bit. And it was awesome because I felt like it was perfectly aligned with everything I wanted to do. I was going to have a lot more autonomy and freedom. I was going to be able to work from home sometimes, this was even pre pandemic and I was working for a company I knew I believed in the mission, but I also believed in the product itself and it was just all a great combination. 

Mallory Erickson: I love that. Okay, so imagining that some people are coming to this conversation have heard the word cryptocurrency but maybe know only a limited amount beyond that. Can you just give us the 101 of what is crypto.

Veronica Hash: Yes. It can be really overwhelming for folks that are new to think, Okay, it’s too complicated, I don’t want to get involved. It’s basically, it’s digital money. So instead of you going to your ATM pulling out your bank card and getting cash, you can use cryptocurrency just the same way.

So it’s built on this underlying technology called the Blockchain, which is really a unique way for a technology to cut out the middleman. So for instance, if you’re just using a regular banking system, you have to pay all these fees, and have to go through all these different intermediaries. But with Blockchain, it just goes from one user to another user directly.

And because of that streamline nature and the open source nature of it, people really feel they have more ownership over their money and they have more opportunity especially in countries that are struggling right now. 

Mallory Erickson: Okay, I have about a million questions about the economics that I’m just going to hold my horses on. Because what I really want to dive into with you is, what does this mean for Coinbase for a company on the scene, to be pushing the envelope in terms of what money looks like, what value looks like? How do we even decide that something is valuable and then how that relates to this position that you’re in around creating belonging. Because I love that word. I love that word that is in your title. Can you tell me what does that mean to you, like when you think about belonging, what does that mean to you? 

Veronica Hash: Yeah, so Coinbase is obviously a for-profit company. We are building products that ultimately we want to increase economic freedom in the world, but also, we’re a business. We have to think about the bottom line and we have to really make sure that the technology that we build and the people that we bring in, actually help us advance towards those causes. So for me, belonging is the portion of what I can control. The world is crazy, right, there’s all kinds of stuff going on all the time outside of these walls, let’s just say. So what I’m tasked with and what belonging means to me is when someone comes in the doors of Coinbase, whether they’re a contractor, a vendor, a full-time employee, someone that were interns that we’re bringing in fresh out of college.

They should have an experience where they feel like they belong here and that they can do their best work here. And so whether that’s supporting them through employee resource groups, or whether that’s pairing them up with new buddies once they start we really want to make sure that they’re that connection. And especially in the remote world, like belonging takes on even more of a front and center importance because we’re not in the office, we’re not seeing each other every day. So how do we make sure that continues on? And that’s really what I do on a day to day. 

Mallory Erickson: How much of your work is rooted in the why behind Coinbase, like in terms of creating belonging, do you focus on the identity of people committed to economic freedom? Is that at the core of bringing people together? 

Veronica Hash: You know what our mission is, really the core of bringing people together. Actually, we are, our CEO has definitely made it clear publicly that we are a mission focused company and there’s a lot of great causes that we can be involved with. And we’ve decided that this is the one that we are going to focus on. So it is kind of the core of everything that we do. I think where the little differentiation lies is that once you are here and you’re working here you don’t always feel like you’re necessarily attached to the mission.  You got to do reports, you might be doing coding, so it’s like, how do you keep that mission, kinda mindset. And I think that’s where our program comes in. And also our Coinbase Giving program comes in because it reminds people, okay, there’s a real human side behind everything that we’re doing. And it’s good to have that reminder, I feel like when you’re so busy and your heads down just trying to get the work done.

Mallory Erickson: Yeah. I think it’s really interesting, like mission focused for profit businesses and the role that they can play in doing good. I feel like when I was graduating college, it was if you want to do good things in the world, you go into non-profit. And otherwise all these other sectors, you’re going to probably be partially destroying the world.

And that has really changed, that has really changed in so many ways. And so it’s fascinating to me when I think about a company who is really rooted in a powerful mission that is about more than the bottom line. And they have to balance that with the bottom line needs of being a for-profit company and then how they decide to set up programs like Coinbase giving and partnerships with other non-profits, like when they decide what’s going to be a part of their core ethos, versus done in partnership, or in their giving through other departments. 

Veronica Hash: Yeah, I agree. I remember because I have this history of non-profits and that’s how you and I met. And I always felt that if I left the non-profit world, I would be selling my soul going to corporate. And I remember a mentor that I had, she said, you can do a lot of good in corporate. Because they have resources, they have money and that’s always what non-profits are trying to figure out, how do we keep funding? How do we get the money? How do we get the grants? How do we ask for it? And then that’s what your platform is all about. 

So when I made the jump to corporate I realized that I had an opportunity and I could also do it in a way that wasn’t as intense, because when you’re in non-profit all the time and it gets heavy, it can get heavy. And that heaviness was weighing on me so much to the point where I didn’t want to do this type of work at all anymore, because I felt like I couldn’t balance the kind of emotional weight that you know, that social justice can carry with it. Once I backed away from the work and I was okay, I’m just going to keep my head down and make some good money and start a family, raising kids and all that. And then when the opportunity came back up through Coinbase to start looking at belonging and inclusion and diversity. I realized, oh, okay, I can do it through this other vehicle and I can still be as effective, maybe if not more, because I’m in the room and I’m in the environments with those folks that have all of those resources.

Mallory Erickson: I love that. Okay. So tell me a little bit about Coinbase.

Veronica Hash: Coinbase Giving is an amazing program. I work very closely with the program managers and the director of Coinbase giving. And when I have to say these are some amazing humans, they are absolutely amazing. So the program itself was started last year. Was it last year, 2021, late 2020, right around there. 

Mallory Erickson: Who knows what anymore!

Veronica Hash: I know. Oh my gosh. It is so true, it is so true and it’s Monday. Anyways, the program spun up as an opportunity for Coinbase to really focus on non-profits and other entities that were really doing amazing things with crypto to advance the mission of increasing economic freedom.

We didn’t want to tie up the business with that. So when they started Coinbase Giving, it was really great because it gave me as an employee, an opportunity to be like, wow, look at what my company is doing. This is great. And now that I work so closely with them and I see the type of programs that they’re funding the most recently they funded, Donations Crypto, donations for Haitian refugees. So basically, when you’re in a country that really has  had hard times with the economic system, you can use crypto to bypass that, send them the money directly, and they’re not having to deal with, I don’t know, issues with the banks or corruption, or just so many plethora of other things, even just sometimes getting to a bank can be difficult for people.

So long story short, I think that Coinbase Giving is probably the next wave. If your corporate company doesn’t have something like that, I’m sure that it’ll be coming soon because it’s an opportunity I think, to really put your money where your mouth is and really do good. And I think that they’re doing an outstanding job and they’re continuously looking for more people and more non-profits to donate.

Mallory Erickson: And so when they think about, so the non-profits that they are looking to partner with, it’s really, it sounds like it’s sort of part of the same overarching mission. And so it’s figuring out, okay, where are there still gaps in how we as an entity because we are for-profit business, where are the gaps in terms of how economic freedom is being realized and those gaps we’re going to fill with philanthropic crypto.

Veronica Hash: You are doing good, doing good!

Mallory Erickson: Yeah. So I love that. To me, that also just feels that alignment just feels so clear, it’s not okay, yeah, we’re doing this thing over here. And then our founder cares about these other three round random things. And so our giving is over here. And my guess is that it really does create, even when you think about the internal community at Coinbase, some really powerful storytelling and connections for folks who are doing that daily grind work, where maybe they are feeling disconnected from the mission, but they get to be reminded of that sort of through this integrated program. 

Veronica Hash: Yeah. Alignment is so key at any organization, I don’t care if you have 10 employees or if you have 10,000 employees and when you are aligned and focused, really focused on what you want to do you’re willing to take the time that it takes to get there. These things don’t happen overnight, instantly. It is amazing. I think this is the most focused company I’ve ever worked for. And that helps me. It helps me on a day-to-day basis to know what I’m doing, where I’m going, what I’m supposed to be doing. Helping me look at my annual planning even for the year.

And then this is something that I think everybody is working on or learning how to do is to prioritize, because when you have so many good things that you can do, but you’re just one person or one team or one business you have to put that focus in place, or you really will find yourself burning out. 

Mallory Erickson: Yeah. Okay. I want to go back to something you said at the beginning, around part of your reason for going to Coinbase was because of your own personal experience with crypto being really positive. Can you tell me more about that? 

Veronica Hash: I would love to. So my crypto story is so exciting. This was, what 2013, it was a while ago. My husband used to be in the stock exchange and, I was, gosh, what was I doing, I think I was still teaching dance. So I was teaching dance to kids and trying to make it in the Bay area, with my little dance career. He was a server so we didn’t have very much money at all. And we decided, he had been reading up about Bitcoin and he said, let’s just take a gamble and let’s just buy some Bitcoin. And I think it was maybe $3,000 worth something like that, which was a lot for us back then. And we’re like, okay and we just decided, okay, we’re just going to forget about it, just leave it in Coinbase and see what happens. And so in 2017, 2018, there was a big, what they call bull run. And what that means is that the price skyrockets and it becomes really lucrative to have Bitcoin. And so we cashed out, we were like, wow, let’s do it. So we ended up making a good amount of money and being able to buy our first house in the Bay area, which is like a huge deal. It’s very expensive.

And then we had saved a couple of them, we’d saved a couple of Bitcoins and then we bought when it drops down, that’s the bear market when it drops down. And that’s when the panic sets in and people are like, oh my gosh, it’s crashed down the cliff, but we just bought it really low again at the bottom and then we just rode it back up and then it happened again and we sold again and we got a bigger return. And now we are in our third house, and it’s really amazing to me because I was never an investor. I barely had a savings account. I was a starving artist for sure. And so years later to be at the place where I am because of a small investment in cryptocurrency. It’s just mind-blowing. So that’s why when Coinbase became an opportunity for me to work here, I absolutely knew that this was the right place for me. 

Mallory Erickson: That’s amazing. So for people who say oh, I missed it. Like I missed the opportunity with crypto. What would you say to that?

Veronica Hash: No, you didn’t. But here’s the deal, there’s a lot of different cryptocurrencies besides Bitcoin, it is expensive, okay, I think it’s like $41,000 today for one Bitcoin. So yeah, most people don’t have that laying around.

You don’t have to buy a whole Bitcoin, you can buy part of it. But there’s also other cryptocurrencies that are much more affordable. Especially if you just download the Coinbase app and you take a look and see what other kinds of cryptocurrencies are within your budget. And, they’re going to move.

There’s some that are meme coins or whatever like dojo, and it’s not really gonna make you that much money, but there’s other ones that will have the potential to really be lucrative in the next couple of years. So it’s not too late. Definitely not too late. 

Mallory Erickson: Okay, so I appreciate that. And I want to connect this back to what I think you said before, which is that Coinbase is like those companies, anyone they’re going to find on the Coinbase app has been vetted by Coinbase. So there’s a certain amount of security, because I think that’s one of the uncertain things. I’m on the more conservative side financially, right? So we definitely should have, my husband was asked to mine Bitcoins back in the day and turned it down and I’m just like, oh my God. We’re not gonna live in the past, but that was even way before me. So I’ve just decided in my mind that if he had done that it would have set him on a different life trajectory and he would have never met me and I better than the Bitcoin. 

Veronica Hash: I agree, you are so much better than Bitcoin.

Mallory Erickson: This is how I rationalize this.

Veronica Hash: I like it, think of it that way!  

Mallory Erickson: But I love the idea for people to understand that, yes there’s lots of cryptocurrency, but having that partnership or account with a company like Coinbase, that really helps secure the portfolio of options that you’re looking at.

And then just like anything, like with stock, yeah, there are penny stocks and then there are stocks that have the potential to bring in a lot more money. And they’re super expensive stocks like Google and Amazon that might be out of your range, but it doesn’t mean everything is out of your range.

Veronica Hash: And that’s totally it. I think you just really nailed it. That’s funny to hear about your husband and I love the way that you thought about it because, truthfully, we all may feel like there’s opportunities that we’ve missed in life or things that we pass by. I really believe that things have a way of coming back to you if they’re meant to be. Even if someone is listening to this podcast right now and they’re like, oh my gosh, I should have done this, I should have done that. Do it now, just do it now, start now. And that’s really with anything in your life, right? It doesn’t matter if it’s cryptocurrency or if you want to travel more, or you want to start a family or just start putting yourself on the path to where you want to be and you’ll get there.

Mallory Erickson: Yeah, I love that. There’s something I want to explore that I don’t have totally fleshed out in my own head, but there’s this piece around the way that I feel like crypto embodies the sense of abundance that we don’t see in other forms of currency perhaps in the same way. And it has the potential to also have those scarcity feelings around, I missed it. There isn’t enough. Bitcoin is so expensive right now. But I think what’s so interesting about the rise of crypto is this rise in assets, like this rise in wealth, and I think sometimes what can hold back the non-profit sector so much is this belief that there’s such a fixed amount of opportunity.

There’s so much of the non-profit kind of mindset that is stuck based on how foundations fund, and so it’s yeah, okay, the foundation funds a set amount of money every year and that’s it. So we orient so many of our other fundraising practices around that set of beliefs, but like what we see with individual giving, it’s just not the same at all. We see generosity rise, we see the potential market for non-profit fundraising increase. And crypto to me, represents as we’ve seen this boom in terms of personal wealth. To me that also really indicates the potential for a boom in the funding, in the amount of funding available to the non-profit sector. If folks can start to see past the fixed number mindset. And I’m just curious what you think about that. 

Veronica Hash: I think that it also ties really nicely to what you were saying about the fear, right? So the fear of, is this a safe place for me to go and fundraise, is it a safe place to try and get money from, there’s a safety in what you’ve already done before. The foundation, you just go to them, you may have been even working with the same person for years. They’re going to give you that amount and you can just not have to live in the fear and the anxiety of the unknown.

So that ties in really well with a company like ours, which does really try to say, okay, we’re going to vet, we’re going to work with regulators in different countries so that we are really trying to abide by those laws and those rules and not just be the wild west out there. So there’s something to be said about working, not just going in blindly, okay, yay, there’s free money out there. Yeah, there’s money out there, but you still want to be wise with who you partner with because at the end of the day. If you partner with someone that’s unscrupulous in the cryptocurrency world, then eventually whatever it is your people that you’re serving or whoever you’re trying to help through your non-profit are going to be affected.

So you definitely want to be wise and you want to do your research going in. But I think that there is abundance here, and I think on one hand, you have the wisdom to really make sure you’re working with the right people. But on the other hand, you have to have a little bit of willingness to take a risk and willing to just try.

And that’s at the root of fundraising anyways, right? Because you have to take a risk and try, or you run the risk of running out of resources and it is a shift in mindset. And I think that if folks are more willing to at least just do the research, at least just start looking into it. I think there’ll be pleasantly surprised to see that there’s a lot of good that a lot of people that are doing good with cryptocurrency and they would be happy to partner with them. 

Mallory Erickson: Yeah. I love that. And we’re seeing, in the tech space, growing partnerships around making it easy for non-profits to accept crypto, although crypto is inherently, the point is it’s easy to transfer money. Even easier to understand it, which I think is always helpful.

Veronica Hash: Yeah. So my interesting question would be, because I know that you said that you do have a good amount of women and those identifying as women as your guests on the show. Do you think there’s anything inherently that may be more challenging for women in particular with crypto, because if the majority of the fundraising in these non-profit organizations is being done by women, then we want to make sure that we’re talking about and addressing that issue so that they’re increasing their comfort level to even go into the room and ask for those cryptocurrency donations.

Mallory Erickson: Such a good question. I think this isn’t unique to crypto, but I think in general, the perfectionism tendencies that we see in women leaders in the space and the desire to feel like an expert in any area that they bring up in conversation is a trend that we definitely see. I do a lot of work with fundraisers around releasing perfectionism and figuring out how to show up in fundraising conversations aligned in your highest values and looking for alignment from your donors, recognizing that perfectionism is an illusion. But we see this all the time with stock donations. I hear fundraisers all the time saying, That they don’t want to bring up stock donations because they don’t understand exactly how they work or the impact it’s going to have on taxes and all these things. And so I actually think the biggest barrier is just releasing the narrative that you do need to know everything about it. And instead, just being able to say things like, Hey, we’re making an effort over here to accept assets in a variety of different ways. And I’m curious about your interest in investing, cash versus crypto versus stock. And do you need some additional resources or support from me and materials that I’d love to go collect to facilitate that for you.

Veronica Hash: Oh my gosh. Releasing perfectionism. Yes. I like to call myself a recovering perfectionist. Oh my gosh, it is so true. You do not want to feel like you don’t know what you’re talking about. To be able to say, I actually don’t but I can find out. So that’s really good that you’re working at the root of the issues, because then we can really start making change by leaps and bounds and see folks just jumping ahead.

I think that’s important, not only in fundraising, but just really in any field. It’s that mentorship, right, it’s that coaching. It’s helping you to get past your own sort of blind spots and baggage that we just carry around with us. For sure. Absolutely. Yeah, totally. 

Mallory Erickson: And I feel like so many of those things go unexamined by us, like we go into the room and we’re like I should know everything about crypto before I bring it up with a donor. But when you really start to think about it, you’re like, why, why should you know everything about crypto? If you ask your friend to go to dinner, do you need to have before you make that, ask a list of restaurants and their distance from them and exactly what’s on the menu and l the hours that they’re open and give them some whole big spreadsheet of the options and no, you don’t, you can say Hey, are you interested in going to dinner? And then let’s figure out that other piece later. 

But there are certain things, particularly where money is concerned because money brings up so much deep vulnerability, which is what landed me in this work really was that I was coaching, I was doing executive coaching for women while I was personally fundraising. And when I took that step back and realized what are some of the most vulnerable daily experiences that I’m having, they were in fundraising conversations. And I just felt like where is there the space to talk about that, to say, Hey, talking about money, asking for things as a woman. The woman piece plays into that a lot. Like peace keeping, cooperation, all the things we’re biologically programmed. And then we’ve been told for generations and generations, women, that it’s inappropriate to talk about money. And then we find ourselves in a position where we’re supposed to be talking about money. We’re super uncomfortable.

And we think that’s our fault. We’re like, oh, I’m just a bad fundraiser because I feel comfortable fundraising. I feel uncomfortable fundraising because women have, since the beginning of time, been told not to talk about money because there’s all this stigma around giving in the non-profit sector. I’ve been saving my phone recordings when I see fundraising come up in movies or TV shows, always in a negative light. Like I call it like fundraising in the wild, but there’s always this little stigma, this little negative connotation around fundraising. 

And that’s why we feel the way that we feel. And so you don’t need to go into a conversation totally knowing everything about crypto. You need to go into a conversation recognizing that bringing up crypto is not doing anything wrong. It’s giving your donor an opportunity to explore other ways of giving and investing in their values. 

Veronica Hash: That is brilliant. Oh my gosh. That is so good. I love that. That is the truth. 

Mallory Erickson: Yeah, It’s been a wild ride. 

Veronica Hash: So the fundraising, the vulnerability yeah, that’s just the truth. I think that vulnerability has played a really big role in my personal growth and because there’s something very endearing when you’re willing to talk about or reveal what other people are already thinking and feeling anyways. And it creates a connection, which is what is part of fundraising, making that connection. 

And I was speaking with a young entrepreneur and I was talking with her about fundraising and I actually gave her your podcasts and your links and stuff that you sent me. And she said it was really helpful because she was going to go into the room with Microsoft, and that’s a big deal, right? That’s a lot of money on the table and she was nervous, understandably. And I told her you’d have to remember at the end of the day, do you believe in what you’re doing? Do you really believe that this is something important in the world and you want to make it happen? Then that is what you lead with, don’t worry about not having all the other things, this is your passion and this is what you believe in. 

And letting that vulnerability out, rather than just feeling like you have to have the spreadsheets, you have to have the data. Yeah, you need to have that stuff too. But it’s that connection that resonates with people and gets them to open up their wallets and to donate. So I’m a big fan of vulnerability in all areas. 

Mallory Erickson: Yeah and even knowing that you’re a human too. And it’s interesting, like this spreadsheet piece, I remember interviewing this venture funder once and he said, men walk into the room and they’re like, I’m worth $20 million, so my company is worth $20 million, for like seed funding. And then women walk into the room and they’re like, on slide 20, line 6, you’ll see exactly here. And the guy was like listen, this is seed funding, we’re all taking risks here. What I need to know is how aligned you are with your mission. Are you living and breathing it and how much you believe in it and the confidence you carry around that. 

It’s interesting because there are so many cultural systemic issues that prevent people, it’s killed me a little bit to hear you fund based on confidence. Because there are certain people who are going to present much more confidently, particularly by your standards of confidence, and that’s going to continue to allocate money towards certain people and not towards others, which is a whole other issue. But I think for my sort of zone of impact, it’s really focusing on, okay, how do we help elevate the voices and the experiences of people so that they can walk into the room and not talk about, slide 20, line 6, but be able to live in alignment with everything else. 

I’m curious about the role you think crypto can have, when we think about economic freedom and perhaps, redistribution of wealth. How do you see crypto being able to perhaps, correct for power imbalances that the banking system and all that bureaucracy continues to operate through, systems of oppression, frankly. 

Veronica Hash: Yeah. I think there’s a lot of good case studies and examples when you look at different countries. So if you’re looking at a country, maybe a South American country that is dealing with inflation at levels that are making it impossible to live, right? Or you have a government that has decided that they’re going to take your money. They’re going to freeze your money. And it’s because you’re a part of some sort of political class that maybe they don’t really agree with. So you’re dealing with losing control and it’s not your fault. It’s not your fault that you live in a country where that’s going on. It’s not your fault that the leadership and power has decided that they want to be tyrants. 

Sometimes you just have to deal with what cards you’re given. So cryptocurrency cuts out all of those people who might be getting their hands in the pockets and wheeling and dealing behind the scenes and makes you the owner, the broker of your own wealth. And that’s where that’s the game changing kind of aspect of cryptocurrency. And some countries are getting wise to that, there’s countries that are saying, Hey, we are going to actually make it really easy for people to use crypto. We’re going to make it a legal tender in the entire country.

And it’s what you’re seeing in some of these places where they’ve had so many difficulties with a traditional system, people saying, okay, that doesn’t work. Let’s try something different and they’re getting good results. 

Mallory Erickson: Wow. I really liked what you said before too. And I think it relates to this piece around risk. I do think too many non-profits and I think this is related to fears around rejection and, back to that perfectionist piece, but continue to do the same types of fundraising activities year after year. But I bet they could even find a donor who would help fund a crypto initiative, whether that’s a fundraising initiative. Because the donors are excited about what’s happening in this space too. And there are certain donors who really love investing in innovation and like riskier opportunities because of the exponential potential, that’s possible. 

Veronica Hash: Yeah. When you said exponential potential, it’s absolutely true. I think if you have an opportunity to pull your donors and find out those who are interested in crypto and the crypto space. And even just having a round table or something. And before you even get into the ask, just find out what they are interested in, just get the conversation going, and then you can go back to the table and come up with some great plans for the actual fundraising portion of it.

But knowing your donors, that’s great. That’s key because if you have people that are excited about crypto and you’re not able to push past your own fears of taking a risk or being rejected to get that, they’re going to give it to someone else. 

Mallory Erickson: Yeah. I love that. And I  think the other thing, I’m imagining the fundraiser being like, oh, but how could I do a round table when I’m not an expert in crypto? But the thing I would encourage people to do is to collect questions and do exactly as Veronica is suggesting. And then if your donors are interested in learning more about crypto, like if they’re not there yet, you can bring in an expert to talk about that. And that’s just another resource you’re providing and you don’t have to be the expert in that, which I think is so important.

So before we have to wrap up, I’m just curious, I want to hear a little bit about how this move into this role and even your work in crypto, how does that impact you as a working mom and even your own perhaps, experience with or relationship to money and cryptocurrency. And how do you think about talking to your girls about wealth in that way? I’m just curious about all the ways it impacted you to be in this new world.

Veronica Hash: Yeah. It’s changed my life. It’s literally changed my life. I think about money differently. I think about investing differently. I used to be a person that was very afraid of taking a risk when it came to money because I didn’t have a lot of money.

So I really wanted to keep it close to the vest. And now I’ve become someone who has a higher tolerance for risk, smart risks, but still a higher tolerance for risk. Because I’ve seen the reward, and I know it’s there and I don’t watch the stock market. I don’t want to take the rollercoaster ride of emotions. So I just put the money in there, and I just go on about my day to day life. 

And when it comes to the way it’s impacted my family, first of all, just being able to provide a quality of life for my children. I would’ve never been able to do it before. I may be able to put the girls in private school, able to make the choice to say, do we want to do the public school down the street or do we want to go and pay for something that we feel like it’s going to be more aligned to our values and provide the education that we want. 

Or just even being able to enjoy life more, being able to travel and all these doors open up when you have money. It’s true. It doesn’t make you perfect and it doesn’t give you all the happiness. It’s just another resource to achieve what you want in life. And for me, what I want in life is, I want to be happy. I want to be a great mom. I want to love my husband until we’re old and gray. I want to take care of my parents and this crypto and Bitcoin and all of that has allowed me to open my home for my parents to move in with me and help give back to them after everything that we’ve been through over the years.

It’s a big deal and the girls they’re right in it, they talk with their dad all the time. The big thing that we’re into right now are NFTs. So we’re collecting digital art and the girls are like, oh, daddy look at this NFT and they’re living in the digital world. So in another 10 years, I don’t know how far ahead of us they’re going to be, this is going to be the norm for them. And so I definitely think that as a mom, I feel very proud of the choices that we’ve made as a family and all that I’ve been able to bring to the table because I’ve been willing to take some risks. 

Mallory Erickson: Wow. There are so many things I love about what you said, but one of the things I want to double-click on just for a second is, I think sometimes, especially in the non-profit space, money and wealth, get demonized a little bit, like you don’t want to say things about how much money you have or what it allows you to do.

And I just think all of those pieces need to change, if we’re going to change the way we move money into this sector, if we’re going to change the way we show up as fundraisers. That was for me one of the most mind blowing experiences I had, that part of what set me on the journey to here was looking at the relationship between how I was personally handling money and how I was uncomfortable fundraising.

And I was watching my own fears around spending money. And I was like, oh no wonder I’m so uncomfortable inviting people to give me their money because I am so afraid to spend my own money. And it’s like money is such an integrated, like energy, in us and in how we live.

And so I think being able to say, yeah, like money doesn’t fix everything. It won’t fix everything. Spoiler alert. It won’t fix everything for your non-profit either. If you are running yourself ragged and not having boundaries and not prioritizing as an organization, all the money in the world. We have a narrative that the money is going to solve that problem. It’s not true. And so it’s just like what you said, like money isn’t the solution to everything, but it opens up access. It opens up opportunities and it opens up our personal and organizational ability to achieve our goals.

Veronica Hash: Absolutely. I could not agree more. There’s something to be said about being afraid of prosperity. And I’ve even gone through this with this house that we built because our company went public last year, which was amazing. And so many of us got a big payout and it was like what do you, what’s important to us, our home and in investing in it and making it this beautiful, comfortable, designed artistic, all of the things that we are.

And it was really hard to just okay, what are people going to think? Are they going to think we’re doing too much? And we’re all extra and everything. And maybe they will, but we’re happy. And whether we have 3,500 square feet or whether we have 500 square feet, we’re still the same people.

We’re still gonna open our doors and welcome people in and love them and give them a great time. But now we just get to do it in a little nicer way. I’m not mad about that. It’s a mind shift. Even today, to just be able to be like, yeah, we’ve been blessed. Like this is the abundance that I asked for and prayed for and cried over for many years and now it’s here and now I’m going to be like, oh no, this is too much. Oh no, I’m enjoying it. And I think when you’re in that space, it allows other people to get in that space. And then all of a sudden you’re surrounded by people that are sharing that same, kind of prosperity, positive, positivity attitude. And then you’re able to inspire others to keep doing it.

Mallory Erickson: Okay, I want that to be the last words but tell everyone where they can find you. And then if you are interested in connecting with folks and then I always invite people to talk about or lift up one nonprofit that they love, that we give a little spotlight and shout out to. 

Veronica Hash: That’s awesome. So I can be found on LinkedIn. That’s probably the best way to find me, Veronica Hash. That’s part of Coinbase, so you can look me up there, definitely connect and I’m happy to chat. If I was going to lift up one non-profit I would lift, this soccer program e-sports program that I’ve been a part of for many years, it’s called East Soccer, and it’s actually started out in the Bay area, but it’s all over the world now. And it’s a really great program where kids get to play together in an inclusive environment, kids that have special needs, kids that don’t and they get to play soccer together and they get to learn great life skills, build lifelong relationships. And that’s something that I’m really passionate about, eastsoccer.org, check it out.

Mallory Erickson: Awesome. Okay, we’ll have all the links below and thank you so much for joining me for this conversation today.

Veronica Hash: This was so much fun. Thank you for having me. I appreciate it. 

Mallory Erickson: It was so fun.

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