By: Meggan Arp, Marketing Coordinator
In recent years, we have witnessed how Facebook, with its more than 1 billion daily users, can serve as a vehicle for social good and charitable giving.
By placing solicitations in newsfeeds, the company helped raise money for emergency relief and response in the wake of disasters, e.g., when Facebook users donated more than $15 million to International Medical Corps for its response to the Nepal earthquake. The company also helped to raise money for the Ebola outbreak in 2014 and for the Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013.
In September 2015, Facebook formally announced the creation of its Social Good team under whose purview it is launching several initiatives that are vehicles for charitable fundraising. A “donate now” button was made available in August for all groups’ Facebook pages and paid advertisements. In that version, Facebook users are directed to organizations’ own websites to make donations.
In the effort to create a donation experience with as few clicks as possible, Facebook is piloting a new iteration of its charity donate button. With the new donate button, if users have previously saved credit-card information in the Facebook payment system, they can click on the donate button and make their donation.
Naomi Gleit, head of the Facebook Social Good team, describes the new donate button as “retail giving” that is intended to “encourage a whole new wave of donors and donations.”
The new donate button is being tested with 37 nonprofit groups gratis and is scheduled to be available to all registered American 501 (c)(3) groups sometime in 2016 for a fee.
Although feedback about the donate button is overwhelmingly positive, one ubiquitous concern among nonprofits regards donor data, with respect to both accessibility and control. If transactions occur within Facebook (as opposed to the previous iteration of the donate button that directed users to the organizations’ websites), then nonprofits will lack the complete information necessary to create sustained donor relationships.
As a result of this concern, Ms. Gleit has said that the company is testing versions of the fundraising feature that will allow users to opt in or share, by default, their email addresses with charities.
It will be very interesting to see how these fundraising tools evolve, but popularizing fundraising through Social Media certainly shows how Facebook indeed can have a positive social impact.