How nonprofits can benefit from new Facebook fundraising feature

There's good news for nonprofits looking for ways to use donors as advocates as well as a source of incoming funds. The Verge detailed how Facebook has just added a feature to allow individuals to create fundraising pages for the nonprofit of their choice. This means organizations can ask donors to create their own donation pages to appeal to their friends and families.

While this may be a great way to spread a nonprofit's message and expand an audience, it is not without some obstacles. Here is what nonprofits should know about this new opportunity and how to maximize its potential:

Provide information
Now that Facebook users can create standalone pages to collect funds on behalf of charities, nonprofits need to know if their organizations are capable of participating. Facebook provides this feature for over 100 different causes. If a nonprofit is on the list, it needs to share this information with its audience. Other nonprofits should watch the news and appeal to Facebook for inclusion in the program.

Participating nonprofits should provide content that instructs donors how to create a page, what projects need funding and exactly where money will go. The more information an organization makes available, the more details an advocate can share with friends and family. Speaking on behalf of a cause turns each individual into a representative, and organizations need to be consistent.

Suggest branding
Providing advocates with content doesn't stop with information about fundraising. Organizations also have to share images, videos and other branding that will ensure each donor action stems from a nonprofit's central message and beliefs.

Gail Perry's Fired Up Fundraising suggested all nonprofit branding should be donor centric. This is an excellent opportunity to see if organization images, icons, color schemes and videos appeal to individuals. The materials available for social media advocates should be something they would want to share. If donors don't make use of a cause's content on their own pages, it's a sign that its time to make adjustments to branding. Organizations should make sure they have graphics that fit into spaces provided by Facebook pages and other popular platforms.

Answer questions
Once an individual creates a donation page, it's important that a nonprofit views them as an ongoing ally. Organizations don't want advocates to set it and forget it. By constantly providing news, original media and other supportive materials for donors, nonprofits can encourage individuals to update online donation forms just as diligently as volunteers monitoring central donation forms.

As donors host donation pages, they may encounter questions they will share with organizations. For example, nonprofits should be ready to answer questions about donation processing so advocates can assure their contacts that money will make it to the intended destination.

Integrate actions
The Consumerist reported over 600 nonprofits have their own dedicated donation pages on Facebook. Organizations can use payment processing technology to collect Facebook donations and integrate financial data with internal software. This allows nonprofits to retain complete visibility of online donation activities in a single system.

Facebook provided nonprofits with the ability to create dedicated donation pages in the fall of 2015 and has utilized donation buttons since 2013. Starting July 2016, this new feature will give individuals a chance to make use of the same technology in support of their favorite causes. Organizations should monitor the performance of both platforms to see how they work together and where certain strategies work better for advocates. Even if a nonprofit is not on the list of available Facebook charities, learning from the actions of donor activities and nonprofit marketing that works in tandem can show organizations what to do with their own social media campaigns and other online projects. 

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