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Summary:

Facebook’s latest feature helps non-profits and charities accept donations through the social network.

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Social media and activism have a tenuous relationship at best. While it’s no secret that people love sharing news about injustice, it’s hard to do so without feeling like a “slacktivist.” In an effort to bridge that gap, Facebook has rolled out a “Donate” button to help sharing turn into action for non-profits around the world.

According to a blog post announcing the feature, “Donate” was the direct result of Facebook’s donation system on behalf of the Red Cross during the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

“After seeing the generosity of people around the world toward this effort, we’ve been inspired to help everyone donate, at any time, to the organizations they care about most,” the blog post said.

Users need only go to the non-profit or charity’s page, and the donation post will be available at the top of the Timeline. Right now, users can only donate to a handful of organizations, including Oxfam, Donors Choose, and the ASPCA, but Facebook is offering other non-profits and charities the opportunity to apply for use of the Donate Button.

It’s a wonder that Facebook is just getting around to offering users a way to meaningfully contribute to their favorite causes, because it makes great use of the payments system that the company has been tinkering with on and off for years now. Of course, it’s not a guarantee that the donations will come flowing in — the other half of social media activism is the “viral” content that brings causes to attention — but the option may be another viable channel for non-profits and charities looking to capitalize on their devoted fans online.

  1. Lets Talk Payments Monday, December 16, 2013

    Good observation. Facebook is doing so much with payments payments
    payment news

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  2. This option comes at the same time that Facebook’s algorithm has been tweaked in such a way that it is almost impossible for small, local nonprofits to be seen in the feeds of their supporters, even those who have already “liked” the page. Facebook has made these changes in order to force organizations to pay for “sponsored” and “boosted” posts.

    What many nonprofits really want is increased opportunity for genuine engagement, not a donate button. To that end, there is a change.org petition calling for a FacebookAdGrants program similar to Google AdGrants: http://www.change.org/facebookadgrants

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    1. Annie Lynsen (Larsen) Sunday, December 22, 2013

      ^ THIS. Facebook has taken a tentative step, but the problem with the new “Donate” button, in addition to what’s said above, is that they don’t share the donor information with nonprofits, which really stunts their efforts to continue getting donations from people.

      Here’s what nonprofits need from Facebook, much more than a “Donate” button – ad grants! http://smallact.com/blog/sign-the-petition-this-is-what-nonprofits-need-more-than-a-facebook-donate-button

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  3. I think this is nice. But it’s really only great for Facebook. They get more users to enter a credit card.

    What would be more helpful is if Facebook could tweak the algorithm so nonprofit page’s updates were seen by 100% of fans of their page without having to “sponsor” them!

    Just saying.

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  4. Stephanie Rudat ☮ Sunday, December 22, 2013

    I would love for Facebook to consider how Google has provided GoogleAd Grants which, in turn, certainly helps their business but the objective at least appears to be for public benefit. Let’s help organizations help others by allowing them to leverage the space Facebook provides without cost and with genuine support to help by way of Facebook Ads. Thank you.

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  5. arkrausehardie Sunday, December 22, 2013

    I would also love for Facebook to find ways to support non-profits rather than have them disappeared behind the all mighty dollar. And that is about engagement, and visability.

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  6. It would be nice if Facebook shared the donors’ information with the nonprofit. That said, you couldn’t pay me to have my cc information on Facebook. When I have advertised on FB, I’ve used a prepaid card.

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  7. ☼ John Haydon Monday, December 23, 2013

    Great summary about Donate (nice work!). I’d just add that the nonprofit tech community has been discussion a FacebookAdGrants (search Twitter). So, while a donate button is great, what would be more useful in the long run is more support around marketing on Facebook. The petition Laura shared has all the info. Take care – and enjoy the holidays!

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  8. A Donate button is certainly well-meaning and a step in the right direction, but Facebook doesn’t share the donor information with the nonprofit who receives the funds. This is a huge misstep, because this does not allow the nonprofit to personally acknowledge the donation and it eliminates all possibility of cultivating a long term relationship with the donor.

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