What Facebook’s “donate now” button could mean for fundraising

Facebook's
Date Published
01/06/2014

Online fundraising gained a significant amount of traction in the past year and new developments by social media kingpin Facebook are pushing even further in this direction. It’s giving a limited number of charitable groups the opportunity to integrate a “donate now” button on their Facebook page, which can then be shared on the networking platform, The Chronicle of Philanthropy indicated.

Everyone is connected
Many in the nonprofit community have realized the opportunities that social media presents for fundraising initiatives. For one, there is already a sizable audience on social networking sites. Recent research published by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 73 percent of adults surfing the Web are on a social media site, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or LinkedIn. Individuals vary in the level of engagement with these sites, but the Pew study made it clear that Facebook users are the most inclined to check in daily at 63 percent. Meanwhile, 40 percent connect to the social networking site multiple times per day.

Emphasizing peer-to-peer
This brings great potential for organizations looking to take advantage of the online habits of donors, and already there is a wide variety of software for nonprofits that builds off this predilection toward social sharing. Organizations that can incorporate peer-to-peer strategies into their fundraising campaigns will create a more compelling and sustainable outreach effort than those depending on a one-way line of communication between the nonprofit group and donors. Online donation modules that give contributors the opportunity to create their own online giving website capable of linking to social networking sites will open up communication channels that individual organizations often have a difficult time locating. At the same time, nonprofit groups benefit by being able to gather new contact information from donors who participate in the peer-to-peer online fundraising effort.

Facebook privacy controls
This is one of the shortfalls many in the nonprofit community see in Facebook’s latest fundraising resource, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy. While the social media site is offering the button for use on organizational Facebook pages, it isn’t allowing nonprofit groups to collect information about those contributing to specific programs. This inhibits nonprofits as they move to establish long-term relationships with donors, the nonprofit news source said.

At the same time, the button is currently only available to 19 nonprofit groups, meaning the vast majority of charities and philanthropic enterprises aren’t able to take advantage of the tool. Libby Leffler, strategic-partner manager at Facebook, told The Chronicle that the social media giant anticipates opening up the opportunity to all nonprofits, but couldn’t disclose when it would happen. While including a donation call to action button on an organization’s Facebook page can provide many advantages to enterprises looking to attract contributions through a wider variety of channels, the move may also push nonprofits to work much harder to create lasting relationships.

Instead of collecting data directly from donation forms, the tools provided by Facebook would likely require nonprofit groups to invest more manpower in monitoring their social media communications. In the meantime, existing fundraising management software provides nonprofits with greater opportunities to interact and connect with donors.

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