These days, everybody is on Facebook. With 1.5 billion active users, Facebook is the world’s most popular social network, outperforming all other networks in every age group. Nearly 75 percent of U.S. Internet users log in to Facebook regularly, and they spend an average of 42 minutes per day on the site.
And with all of those people in one place, Facebook is the perfect place for nonprofits to interact with their donors! Plus, Facebook recently rolled out a potentially game-changing update that will take that relationship one step further.
Introducing the Facebook Donate button
All nonprofits can now add a “Donate Now” button to their Facebook page. A similar feature was originally introduced in 2013 for select partners like the American Cancer Society and The Red Cross, but the feature will now be available to any organization categorized as a nonprofit on Facebook.
But it does come with limitations. Unlike previous versions, users will not be able donate directly through Facebook. The donate button will serve as a link, and will simply send users to your website’s donation page (or whichever page you choose during setup).
One of the biggest complaints we’ve seen is the fact that the feature is simply a link, and users cannot donate directly through Facebook.
But we actually think this is the feature’s biggest advantage.
Why it’s great for nonprofits
Sending donors to the donation page on your own website, rather than donating through Facebook, allows you to collect all that invaluable data about donors — including who is donating how much at what time from where. Plus, any fields specific to your organization and prompts for recurring donations.
In fundraising, data is power. Knowing as much as you can about your donors will allow you to start building a relationship with them, show your appreciation and encourage them to give again! Ignoring that data (or allowing Facebook to collect it) isn’t just inconvenient for you, it might actually hurt your fundraising efforts. Personalization is key in fundraising, and the more data the merrier.
And in order to build the kind of personalized, authentic relationships with donors that foster frequent giving, all of your data needs to be centralized in one place. Information becomes much less effective if you have to switch between databases (or worse, Excel sheets) to get the full picture. Shadow databases (any information not kept in your primary database) will hurt your overall donor management and prevent you from building a comprehensive and relationship-focused donor strategy.
Imagine if Facebook was taking all of that donor data, instead of allowing nonprofits to collect it for themselves. Not good. You need to know who is giving what, where and why. And from a legal standpoint, that information is needed to send necessary IRS receipt information to donors for tax deductions.
Plus, we know that donors tend to give 7 times more on branded donation forms than generic, so it’s likely you’d see larger donations on your own site than through a Facebook donate option.
How you can make the most of it
Ultimately, good fundraising has nothing to do with whether a “Donate Now” button is on Facebook itself or on your website. Social media is about creating engaging stories and compelling calls to action. The fact that this tool exists at all, and will be potentially be sending new donor data in your org’s database is great news for nonprofits.
We’re excited about the Donate button’s potential and are looking forward to seeing how nonprofits implement it. Here are some tips to maximize your donations:
- Create dedicated landing pages for Facebook donations. Setup your donate button so it links to a web page created specifically for social media donors. This should include opportunities for donors to spread the message via their own social networks. This will make donors feel valued, and hopefully keep more people coming back.
- Let users know the button exists. Since the Facebook donate button is located on your organization’s page, users won’t be able to see it just scrolling through their newsfeed. Although Facebook makes it easy to promote your org’s new donate button, those paid ads can get expensive. Instead, be sure to mention the donate button in your posts (when it’s relevant) so your followers know it’s an option.
- But don’t get carried away. Social media is still about telling engaging, shareable stories and communicating organically with your donors. Make sure your followers know the donate button is there, but don’t run all of your posts into donation appeals. Instead, focus on creating high-quality content that lets users know all of the great things your organization is doing. Good content will drive followers to your page and website, where they might turn into donors!
Have you tried out the Facebook donate button? Let us know what you think in the comments!