My Facebook and Twitter feeds were abuzz yesterday with news that Facebook is adding a “Donate Now” feature to nonprofits' Pages and News Feed posts (thanks John Haydon!). There are 19 nonprofit partners who are part of initial release, and any 501(c)(3) organization can apply by submitting a simple interest form through Facebook now.
This move by Facebook builds on its Gifts program from last year, which never really seemed to take off beyond the initial nonprofit partners, and its more recent push to encourage Facebook users to support the Red Cross’ Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts. When studies like the Nonprofit Social Networking Benchmark Report find that the majority of nonprofits have raised less than $10,000 through social media, this news seems like it could make a big difference.
What’s great about this news is that 100% of the funds donated will go to the nonprofit and giving will show up where many of your supporters are spending their time. But (and there’s always a but!) the news isn’t all good. Here are some concerns:
- User data (donor’s name, address, etc.) will not be shared with the nonprofit. Facebook is still a platform that values its individual users first. Unless you catch a supporter commenting or sharing the news of their gift, Sohini Baliga points out that your organization will not be able to thank and cultivate the donor.
- Speaking of data, when you donate, CNET reports “your information will go into Facebook’s database of members with credit cards attached to their accounts.”
- Giving can only be done via Facebook’s website. Mashable reported that, “There is no set timetable for its available on mobile, but a Facebook spokesperson called mobile integration a ‘priority’."
My fellow nonprofiteers seem to range from skeptical to intrigued by the “Donate Now” addition to Facebook. Others wish Facebook would provide an advertising grants program, similar to Google (you can sign a petition to support that here). If you are on the fence, you can also explore creating a donation page within Facebook that connects to your CRM or database and even offers a link to your website, following this great example by The Humane Society of the United States.
What do you think? Will you jump in, express interest, and experiment OR will you hold off and see how it evolves or if the limitations change? Share your thoughts in the comments.