Facebook is a powerful tool for nonprofits: 1.5 million nonprofits currently use Facebook Pages – and with the donate button feature, it’s clear the platform is responding to current patterns in social giving. While any US-based 501(c)(3) can add a Donate call-to-action link to their page header, Facebook’s fundraising tools expand that action to your page’s posts, ads and even live video while simplifying the user process down to a few clicks. But before you push that button (or rather, before you activate it on your page’s posts), here are a few pros and cons to consider.
Using fundraising tools is free.
That’s right – there’s no cost to feature the donate button on your page’s content. So why not take advantage of a growing way to fundraise? You’ll definitely want to learn more about eligibility and the application process, and make sure you’ve selected either ‘Nonprofit Organization’ or ‘Charity Organization’ as your Facebook Page category before you get started so you’re eligible to use the donate button. (Important note: Pages with categories other than Nonprofit or Charity Organization aren’t able to use a “donate now” call to action.)
Increase conversions in three clicks or less.
The donate button simplifies giving by letting your prospective donor remain on Facebook for the entire process. Plus, many users save their credit card information within their account, sparing them the additional task of reaching for their wallet. As prospects scroll through their news feed and come across your compelling story, a clear donate button offers little risk of losing them along the way through redirects, too many clicks or distractions. Want to learn the identities of these donors? When using the donate button on your page header or in a paid ad, Facebook allows you to redirect users to a donation page of your choosing so you can gather all that great data to influence your next campaign.
Grab attention and attract new donors with shared posts.
The most frequent, specific action millennials take on websites is to connect via social media, says Achieve’s Millennial Impact Top 100. Tied for second? Donating. Combining these two – social media and donations – can be an effective move for your organization. When someone shares that they’ve donated on Facebook, their shared post also includes the donate button – letting them spread awareness of your nonprofit’s story and share their affinity for your work with a personal touch.
Lose ability to track donor details.
Details drive repeat donations. When a donor gives by clicking the donate button on your post or live video and completes the transaction in Facebook, as opposed to following a Donate call-to-action in your page header or paid ad, their proprietary information is the property of Facebook – and unfortunately not your nonprofit. What you gain in speed and simplicity using the donate button, you lose in data that could ultimately be the key to creating a long-term relationship.
Wait to receive funds.
While you can sign up to receive direct deposits through Facebook Payments, you will have to raise $100 before the funds are released to your organization. This may be fine for larger gifts, but it could be bothersome for $10-20 donations that come in sparingly. If you don’t receive funds through direct deposit with Facebook Payments, they’ll come via Facebook’s partner platform – Network For Good’s Donor Advised Fund – 60-75 days after the donation is made.
Navigate unfamiliar territory with donors.
It’s likely your Facebook users are familiar with the social network … but are they familiar with the giving process through Facebook? A 2016 Forbes article outlined data that showed baby boomers (born between 1945-1964) were most likely to be wary of social media because of privacy concerns and least confident that they were protected from a range of security threats. Keep in mind that repeat donors to your organization may be confused if they start seeing fundraising efforts that feel foreign – and Facebook’s pop-up message reminding users the donation they are about to make is in no way “authorized” by Facebook may be a potential roadblock to donors. On the other hand, recent reports from Nonprofit Tech for Good show that millennials are most inspired to give through social media, so consider your target market when trying a new approach and always test results along the way.
The biggest takeaway from Facebook’s fundraising tools is that mobile and social giving continues to change, and Facebook is here for it. Adding the donate button to your page’s posts or live video can be a great tool in your fundraising strategy, especially for time-sensitive giving such as 24-hour giving days, disaster relief and end-of-year goals. If you read through Facebook’s application requirements for these tools with a furrowed brow, or are worried about web traffic to your fundraising page, stick with the Donate call-to-action on your page header or paid ad. It may take four clicks instead of two, but if they’re dedicated to your cause, it’ll get them where they need to go (and get your nonprofit the data it needs).