Maybe you can raise money on Facebook after all...

by Farra Trompeter

Photo from Facebook

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:

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.

11 Comments RSS

Ron Zacchi |
Great article. I am signed up for the Facebook Donate Button, but ultimately I think it more effective to create the donate page that connects to your CRM. However, you need the budget for these projects so in the meantime I would be happy to use Fb's button even with the restrictions.
Farra Trompeter |
Thanks for the comment, Ron. Keep us posted on what happens if you get accepted and use Facebook for donations... And yes, you are right regarding the CRM connection--that's exactly what HSUS does as noted in the link above!
Claire Levy |
I've added a donate now button to DRWF's page using the Just Giving instructions to link to our JG account.
A bit fiddly to do but worth the effort!
Farra Trompeter |
Hi Claire,
Did you add that Donate Now button to your Facebook page? I looked for it at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Diabetes-Research-Wellness-Foundation/126738514018624 but didn't see it. Am I looking at the wrong page? ... Sounds like it is a smart approach.
Tom Teale-Sinclair |
Is this available to charaties outside the US? If not, are there any plans to make it so?
Farra Trompeter |
Tom--good question and one that may be best asked of Facebook directly. That said... it looks like the initial parters are all US-based and/or the US-chapters of international organizations. Also, the interest form does ask if your org is based in the US, so it seems the initial rollout may be to US charities first.
Shumi |
Helpful information.
Richard Freedlund |
The biggest drawback seems to be the inability to create and cultivate the relationship with the donor, and that is a big one for me. Fundraising is all about relationships, starting with the thank you note to the donor, and then the further contact to create a partnership. This is not conducive for a donor centered approach to fundraising.
Unfortunately, I believe this is also the case with text to give programs.
Farra Trompeter |
Hi Richard, I agree completely. The more organizations can try to engage with donors beyond the ask, the better. And you are right. As of now, this donate option on Facebook is quite limited and doesn't allow for cultivation.

In terms of text-to-give programs, there are some providers that can help you send out messages about your programs and not just asks. One example is how IRC uses its text program as highlighted in this blog post here: http://www.bigducknyc.com/big-duck-blog-using-text-messages-to-achieve-your-mission

Thanks again for commenting!
Adam Suter |
So how do you give a tax-deductible receipt when you don't have the donor's contact info?
Farra Trompeter |
Adam, as of now, Facebook will send a receipt to the donor BUT your organization will not have the info to do it yourself. That's one of the challenges with how this is currently set up.

https://www.facebook.com/help/1439525279599897

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