By: Gina Mason
Fundraising is no easy task for nonprofits and with over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the U.S., the competition is tough to develop a loyal and consistent donor base. Many nonprofits choose the more traditional route of fundraising by hosting some type of an event (i.e. gala, golf tournament, dinner, etc.) and soliciting constituents or big brands to raise funds. However, there has been a shift in fundraising tactics as organizations are tapping into the social habits of people online through sites such as Kickstarter and GoFundMe to reach a more digital-savvy audience. Enter Facebook.
Love it or hate it, pretty much everyone is on Facebook. From your 80-year-old grandmother to your 13-year-old neighbor down the block to celebrities like Will Smith, it is a platform that reaches almost everyone, everywhere. With over 1.55 billion active users and people spending over 20 minutes per day on the social site, Facebook’s Social Good Team figured out a way to capitalize on this prime fundraising opportunity. They recently announced they will be incorporating Fundraiser pages as a way for nonprofits to take advantage of this market.
According to a Mashable article, ““Fundraisers” are dedicated pages where nonprofits can raise money for specific campaigns, whether it’s for the refugee crisis, to help eradicate malaria or to build a clean water well. The Donate button, previously reserved for ads on the site, will now appear on nonprofits’ Pages and posts, allowing users to contribute directly from their News Feeds.
The new fundraiser pages — similar in format to event pages — allow nonprofits to describe a particular campaign and collect donations directly from users, and will also showcase a progress bar toward its goal. Any fundraiser shared by a user in a post will display the new Donate button as well, allowing users to contribute through the post itself.
Donate buttons on the nonprofits’ main Pages will remain static, right below their cover photos, providing a constant place to collect contributions even as they update their Pages’ content. It also allows users to choose whether to provide their emails — an important aspect for a nonprofit hoping to increase its donor base.”
So far, the Donate button is only active on three pages (Mercy Corps, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society &World Wildlife Fund) and this will be extended to 37 additional charities by the end of 2015. There are plans to implement a small fee to cover operating costs for the pages that would like to get this feature and as of right now, this feature will only be available for U.S.-based organizations.
How will users know if the charitable organizations are legit? According to the article, “Facebook will vet all the participating nonprofits — they must be certified, have verified bank accounts and Facebook Pages, and comply with Facebook’s Community Operations Standards.” However, each individual organization is responsible for demonstrating transparency and showing users where the money is going.
I think this is a fantastic idea as many nonprofit organizations are utilizing Facebook to reach a larger audience. Also, we live in a digital age where people have short attention spans and want things to be as simple as possible. So giving people the opportunity to give back through one click of a button I think will 1) keep the charity organization on top of mind and 2) make people more likely to donate more often as it is so easy to do so. It will be very interesting to see how this evolves and if the Donate button is able to make an impact on the fundraising initiatives of the nonprofit organizations that use it.
What do you think of the idea? Would you be more likely to support your favorite nonprofit organization if you could do it while scrolling your newsfeed?
To learn more about the Facebook’s charitable giving program, visit: https://donations.fb.com/
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