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Just For Nonprofits: Facebook’s New Fundraising Feature
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Just For Nonprofits: Facebook’s New Fundraising Feature - Executive Leadership Articles

Just For Nonprofits: Facebook’s New Fundraising Feature

Executive Leadership Articles

Just For Nonprofits: Facebook’s New Fundraising Feature

In early June, Facebook rolled out a new feature for nonprofit organizations, enabling people to set up fundraisers for nonprofit organizations. Organizations still have their “donate” buttons on their verified Facebook pages, but now regular concerned citizens can create a fundraiser page on an organization’s behalf, the same way they create an event or group, perhaps as a personal project or as tribute to a loved one. The user creates the fundraiser, adds descriptive text, and then invites his or her network to join in. The fundraiser shows up in the creator’s regular stream, so Facebook users will see only those fundraisers created or shared by their friends.

The rollout begins with 100 vetted, U.S.-based 501(c)(3) organizations, with an application form for other agencies who wish to join. A quick, arbitrary look at official Facebook pages shows that some fundraisers have made use of this new function already. The American Cancer Society has two active fundraisers lasting a few months; the World Wildlife Fund has one. The organizations’ pages have links to the fundraisers in their sidebars, where you can see (and presumably contribute to) individual fundraisers by the social media platform’s users. Other agencies have either not yet been included, or have not yet had someone create a fundraiser on their behalf.

One nice advantage (for the user and for Facebook) is seamless functionality. Users who click the “donate” button aren’t directed to an off-site donation page. Rather, a pop-up window asks for the amount of the donation, credit card or PayPal info, and an optional statement to be posted on the fundraiser page. Donors also set privacy levels on donations the same way they do for other FB posts. If donors have stored credit card information (through earlier purchases or donations), the donation is even quicker.

Facebook takes 2% of the donation for costs related to “vetting, security, fraud protection, operation, and payment support” plus 3% to cover payment processing. The 95% that goes to the organization is comparable (favorable, even) to other online fundraising platforms.

This feature does come with a few possible drawbacks. Since fundraisers can be set up by almost anyone, organizations may want to keep an eye on their “fundraising” tab for message control. Although they cannot prevent someone from launching a fundraiser, they can report a fundraiser for takedown. Also, fundraiser creators are identified by their Facebook accounts, but donors may opt out of having their email addresses shared with the receiving agency, so the feature may not do much for adding to the donor base. And because Facebook does not integrate its in-house payment function with third-party payment processors, donations received this way may add extra steps to an organization’s reporting.

Still, Facebook offers donation reporting, plus its usual “boost” functionality, including “donate” buttons on videos and ads, so some directed use of this new feature could be just what an organization needs in these social-media landscapes. Facebook, for all its pluses and minuses, drives a lot of conversation about social causes—take last year’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, for example—so something like this could be a huge asset to the agency who comes up with a novel way to put it in motion.

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Just For Nonprofits: Facebook’s New Fundraising Feature - Executive Leadership Articles

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