Facebook opened its “Donate Now” button up to all nonprofit organizations this week. The social media fundraising tool has helped raise millions of dollars for causes worldwide over the last two years.
Almost two years after Facebook rolled out its “Donate Now” button to a handful of reputable nonprofit organizations, the social media giant announced it will make the tool available for all nonprofits to use on their Facebook pages.
In a post on the company’s Facebook for Business page, it said the tool will make it easier for nonprofits to connect with the consumers who care most about their causes.
“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.”
The “Donate Now” button debuted after Facebook had a successful fundraising effort, in collaboration with the International Federation of Red Cross, in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. At launch, 19 nonprofits—including American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society—began displaying the button at the top of their Facebook pages.
More recently, the tool’s impact was put on display after the devastating earthquakes in Nepal. Facebook said that it would match donations made for recovery efforts through the tool, up to $2 million. About a week after that announcement more than 750,000 Facebook users donated over $15 million through the platform.
“There’s a lot more that needs to be done to help Nepal rebuild, but our community is already making a big difference,” Zuckerberg said in a statement at the time. “Thank you for coming together to give people a lifeline when they need it most.”
One of the biggest knocks against the “Donate Now” tool at its launch was that it kept users within Facebook’s platform, thus making it impossible for organization’s to know from where and from whom the donations were being made.
“Nonprofits have to be accountable to the public and their donors,” association communications expert Maggie McGary wrote in a blog post at the time of the tool’s initial launch. “They can’t afford to operate behind a curtain of secrecy. … So having Facebook be the middleman between donors and a nonprofit doesn’t seem like a great idea to me.”
CNET’s Jennifer Van Grove agreed, writing that while the “Donate Now” button is a touching sentiment and could help nonprofits, “it’s not an entirely altruistic move on Facebook’s part. Should you choose to donate, you’ll help Facebook build out its database of members with credit cards attached to their accounts.”
That’s still the case for organizations specifically partnered with Facebook—like the 19 launch groups. But Facebook seems to have made an adjustment as the tool rolls out to more groups.
For those organizations not specifically endorsed by or affiliated with Facebook, the button links users to the nonprofit’s own website where donations can be made and tracked. For example, when you click on the “Donate Now” button on the ALS Association’s Facebook page, it takes you directly to the group’s donation page.
With the “Donate Now” tool now open to all nonprofit organizations, will your association consider adding it to its Facebook page? Tell us why or why not in the comments.