The last days of summer 2015 came with some big news that nevertheless left many nonprofit experts unimpressed. While some sources enthusiastically announced Facebook’s new Donate Now button, other people said the button is “dumb” and that they hated it.
How will the controversy end? Here’s a recap of what you should know about the Donate Now button:
- The “Donate Now” button is not a completely new feature. A similar option was introduced in 2013 for a limited range of select nonprofit partners.
- Nonprofit organizations and their supporters do have a reason to be disappointed; unlike its predecessor, the new Facebook Donate Now button serves as a link towards the nonprofit’s website. By clicking on it, users are sent to the website’s donation page. First, you are prompted by a pop-up message that reads “Make a donation to show your support” and “Not endorsed or affiliated with Facebook”. Hit “Continue” and you are eventually redirected to the website’s donation page.
- After adding a Donate Now button to your profile, Facebook recommends you to promote your cause through paid advertising, which displeased people who were already unhappy about Facebook not providing an ad grant similar to Google’s.
One thing’s for sure: supporters cannot donate directly through Facebook. But let’s take a look at the button’s advantages too, shall we?
How the new Facebook Donate Now button can benefit your nonprofit organization
Redirecting people to your website – actually an advantage
Donors may be skeptical about putting their credit card information directly on Facebook and may in fact prefer to be redirected to your website. This is because people prefer branded donation forms instead of generic ones.
Not missing an opportunity to collect data
By having donors redirected to your website you can gather information about them, an opportunity you wouldn’t have if they donated via Facebook. And even if you had access to that data, you would need to centralize it, which requires additional time and effort. Why let Facebook collect data when you can do it? Not even the selected partners included in the December 2013 pilot had access to donor information, thus wasting a great opportunity of nurturing donor relations.
Any nonprofit can use it
You don’t have to be affiliated with Facebook to use a Donate Now button on your profile – any nonprofit can benefit from this new feature. And the huge potential of social media remains the same, whether people can donate directly on Facebook or not.
Providing a shortcut to your donation form
Having a limited Donate Now button on Facebook is better than not having one at all, because this new features makes it easier for supporters to reach your donation form with just one click, instead of accessing your website first and then click on “Donate”. There’s another question to be answered though: Is the content on your Facebook page compelling enough to determine people to click the Donate Now button?
Encouraging nonprofits to create related content
Adding the Donate Now button is a reason to create new content for your nonprofit (such as a new cover photo pointing an arrow towards the Donate Now button) and to attract new donations. This will remind many organizations to use their pages to showcase how contributions are being used.
While the new Donate Now button may not provide a major boost to your nonprofit fundraising, adding it to your page won’t do any harm either. It takes just a minute to set it up and start enjoying opportunities that the nonprofit world may be overlooking at this point.
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