Last week, Facebook launched its new “Donate Now” button. 

Some say that it is a “small win” for nonprofits, because this new feature serves as a “call to action” that nonprofits can use on their Facebook pages.  It is a means of driving traffic toward their sites and increasing donations.

There are some pitfalls, though.  Upon clicking the “Donate Now” button, users receive a notification that they are being taken to an external website to make the donation, and that Facebook does not endorse the organization.  This could be a turn-off for some users.  In addition, studies have found that Facebook isn’t really that good for fundraising.

Charities tend to find that Facebook is an excellent tool for building support, but not for actually raising money.  According to a study from Blackbaud, a mere 2% of US nonprofits raised $10,000 to $25,000 through Facebook in a 12-month period, and only 1% percent raised $25,000 to $100,000.

Facebook had previously experimented with the donate button.  Last December, 19 charities were given the opportunity to test out the feature as a means of increasing end-of-year donations.  No specific data has been released, but it doesn’t seem that this feature had much impact in terms of fundraising for the participating organizations.

Moreover, Facebook’s new algorithm has significantly reduced the audience reach  of nonprofits’ content on the site, unless they are purchasing paid ads.

However, Facebook does help build support for nonprofits through peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, such as friends asking friends for sponsorship when preparing to run a marathon.  It seems that social pressure plays a role – the act of asking friends in a way that other friends can see.  This does raise awareness for causes and drive traffic to charities’ fundraising pages.

One charity’s vice president for communications stated that Facebook is great for “making charitable giving more accessible, particularly to those who may be first-time givers or younger donors who are looking for a way to interact with a charity.”

Do you think that the “Donate Now” button will benefit your organization?

Connect360 helps nonprofit organizations spread their important messages via public service announcements and the web.  To learn more about Connect360’s services, please contact us.