Facebook unveils new donation buttons for nonprofits

Facebook is looking to streamline the donation process for nonprofits on its platform. However, the move is more of a call to action to support not-for-profits than it is a convenient one-stop donation form or nonprofit payment processing center.

The social media giant announced it would add a "Donate Now" button on ad links and nonprofits' Facebook pages to make it easier for the public to give to charities and causes of their choice, according to a company post released this month.

New button, more visibility
The new call to action button allows Facebook users to click on donate and be taken to the organization's website, where they can complete the transaction using the nonprofit's own online donation form. However, before redirecting them to a nonprofit's website, a disclaimer box pops up to inform users the organization is not affiliated or endorsed by Facebook, according to TechCrunch.

Since the button doesn't allow donors to give right from the Facebook page, the link acts like more of an advertisement for the nonprofit, giving it greater visibility but putting the responsibility for processing donations on the charity's own website.

"Every day, people use Facebook to raise awareness and support for causes they care about and to motivate others to do the same," a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. "We're inspired by how much good comes from these connections, so we've added 'Donate Now' calls to action on pages and link ads to make those connections easier than ever."

Social media donation impact
According to a MDG Advertising study from 2012 published in Nonprofit Quarterly, 98 percent of nonprofits have a Facebook page for their organization, with individual donations through the social media platform accounting for 33 percent.

The study found online donations and fundraising doubled from 2007 to 2012, with more young donors giving to nonprofits and charities with an average gift of $59 over all social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter. Facebook rolled out an option for giving to not-for-profits in 2012 by adding a donation form under its Facebook Gifts section.

Facebook shares and likes also has a large impact. The study found that one like equals approximately $160 to a nonprofit in a calendar year and 68 percent of people polled reported they spent time reading about a nonprofit that a friend wrote about on the site.

Meanwhile, 58 percent said they asked the friend if they had more information on the organization and 39 percent said they would donate to the not-for-profit. 

Previous donate buttons
This isn't Facebook's first foray into supporting the not-for-profit sector. The social media platform previously assisted a select group of nonprofits, including the Red Cross and UNICEF, by placing a "Donate Now" button on their pages and news feeds in 2013. The partnership allowed donors to give directly from Facebook's website but it also gave the social media company the ability to store donors' contact and financial information, according to TechCrunch.

The earlier project included Facebook taking donor credit card information and footing the bill for the credit card processing fees, enabling all donations to go to the charities it partnered with. Facebook also didn't charge a fee or collect a percentage of the profits from the charities for the work, TechCrunch reported.

Meanwhile, the social media company also operates a special "Non-profits on Facebook" page to highlight the not-for-profit sector and act as a resource for charities and other organizations while posting about their work.

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