Nowadays, everybody has a Facebook profile. With over 1.8 billion active users worldwide, Facebook provides an enormous marketplace for nonprofits and businesses alike. In 2016 alone, the number of daily active users Facebook saw was already sitting at 1.23 billion. With this many users, your nonprofit’s presence on Facebook already helps to grow your cause and promote your mission. Now, Facebook has made it easier than ever to fundraise through their platform.
By now, you may have already heard about Facebook’s new fundraising tools available to nonprofit organizations. First launched all the way back in 2013, Facebook has upgraded their tools even more and made them available to all nonprofits (NPOs).
Still, not everything is perfect. While Facebook’s new fundraising tools definitely have potential, they do come with some drawbacks as well. How can you decide what’s best for your nonprofit? Today we examine Facebook’s fundraising tools and look into some of the pros and cons for how they can benefit your organization.
Pro: Facebook users can donate directly on your page.
The biggest positive with Facebook’s latest fundraising tools offers users the option to donate directly on your nonprofit organization’s page. When you create a Facebook page for the organization, you must be a registered US-based 501(c)(3). Next, you have to sign up with Facebook’s fundraising tools. This allows Facebook to check your status as a verified NPO through GuideStar USA. Facebook then gives you the option to raise money through your page by adding their “Donate” button as a call to action on the upper right-hand side.
This feature proves extremely useful because it gives your organization a way to engage with potential donors with minimal effort. Any Facebook user can find your page, read about your cause, learn about your organization and then decide to donate, all without having to connect with an employee, attend an event or even search for your website.
Con: The donate link direction varies.
One area which has been causing some frustration lately has been Facebook’s latest update to the donate button. There are two main ways to have your donation button linked with your Facebook post: (1) A form can pop up, and donors can give right through your page with their information; (2) you can link back to an external site, e.g., your website’s internal donation page or a targeted landing page.
This choice really depends on what your nonprofit needs, and while both have positive qualities, they can create challenges. While the Facebook internal page donation makes it difficult to track and analyze donation rates, the external link to your website or landing page can also decrease donation rates, merely by taking donors off-site.
Pro: You can create fundraising campaigns.
One awesome new tool Facebook implemented creates fundraising campaigns, both by you or by your constituents. This proves useful in getting Facebook users involved and setting achievable goals through your fundraising efforts. Rather than constantly asking for donations which are unknown to constituents as to where they go, you instead can ask for contributions to your fundraising efforts for a specific purpose.
Additionally, individual Facebook users have the option of creating a fundraising campaign through their personal accounts. On the left-hand side of the page, Fundraising Tools offers a “Fundraisers” option, where constituents can click and choose to raise money for the organization directly through their personal account. Facebook’s newest feature offers users the option to “donate” their birthday to a nonprofit organization of their choice, where they can link their campaign with your organization and raise funds.
Con: Following up with donors can be difficult.
Unfortunately, Facebook’s fundraising tools do have a bit of a ways to go when it comes to following up with donors. When individuals make a donation directly through your Facebook page, (rather than being redirected to an external link), the page does not ask for any of their personal information, including name or email address.
This can make it pretty difficult to follow up with donors in the future, show them your appreciation or even build a sustainable relationship.
Pro: Sharing garners more donations.
One huge influence Facebook has involves social sharing. When constituents give on your Facebook page, they can share with their friends and followers. Or, by creating a fundraising campaign, they can promote your organization on their own feeds, which can also be continuously shared.
This sharing feature allows your nonprofit to gain more attention, likes and—yes—donations. While donating via your website always serves as a great option, donating on Facebook makes it an easy 3-step process for constituents: (1) click on page; (2) donate; (3) share. Sharing draws attention and will continue to raise your donations in the future.
Con: Facebook fundraising tools have a price.
Of course, all of these great tools do come at a price. First, your NPO needs to apply with Facebook to use the fundraising tools. Facebook will verify your organization as a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) organization registered with the IRS. Second, you must also have a bank account registered with a licensed financial services institution.
Then, pricing will come into place. According to Facebook: “When using Facebook’s advertising platform to fundraise for a nonprofit, 95% of your proceeds go directly to your charity and 5% will go towards operations and processing. 2% covers the costs of nonprofit vetting, fraud protection and payment support. 3% covers payment processing.”
Facebook’s fundraising tools—especially their latest update—are definitely something worth looking into for your nonprofit organization. While they show some positives, there can be some negative sides to consider as well. Check out different options and other examples to see if these tools prove a valuable choice for your organization, and you will continue to grow your cause and fundraise your goals.