It looks like 18th November 2015 may well become a watershed moment in the development of digital fundraising with the announcement of Facebook’s new tool for nonprofits.
84% [of people] share because it is a way to support causes or issues they care about.
[UPDATE] As of September 2017 applications are finally open for UK and Ireland based charities to sign up to the Facebook fundraiser tool.
Currently it’s active for three of the social network’s charitable partners – Mercy Corps, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Worldwide Wildlife Fund; with the features planned to roll out to a further 34 charities in the coming months. Sadly, those of us in the UK will have to wait a little longer until we can have access. Expected to be some time in 2016, though Facebook haven’t confirmed exactly when it’ll will be.
Facebook are well aware of the important role they play in fundraising campaigns across the world. Without the social media giant it’s unlikely we’d have seen the success of fundraising platforms such as JustGiving. In 2013, JustGiving recorded £48 million in donations from Facebook sources and, in their own words: “Facebook is a big deal…” There’s no doubt Facebook will be an even bigger deal for them now, but not in the right way, as this new tool means you’ll never even have to leave Facebook to make a donation, essentially cutting sites like JustGiving out of the equation.
While not a good thing for other parties, this is certainly looks like a good thing for charities – who will now be able to build highly shareable campaigns directly in Facebook, with the all important donation button sitting right there on the page and posts. Let’s delve deeper into what exactly will be on offer and what that means for nonprofits:
The fundraiser tool allows you to set up a fundraising campaign – you design a page, add imagery, add content, set a target and off you go. Some people may be asking: “But what if I just want to run constant fundraising?” And we would say “don’t be silly”. You can encourage more donations by setting achievable goals rather than a never-ending funding target and this focuses your content on a specific story, which will be way more shareable.
The donation button has been around a for a while, but let’s face it, the thing sucked. It’s now been beefed up with the option of a one-page form completion for donations directly on Facebook. This will mean faster and easier donations for charities. The donate button can now also be featured not just on the page, but also on your posts and there’s an option to include it on shares as well, meaning maximum coverage.
There are also incremental set amounts, as seen on the trial pages, for quick donations. We’re interested to see if you can set these increments yourself for more flexibility.
The next big bonus to the new Facebook donations is global payments: the ability for people to donate from charities from any country in any currency without any restrictions or the need to go to the bureau de change. This is probably one of the biggest benefits of this tool based on our experience. There are plenty of platforms out there that allow you to do this, but it looks like Facebook are going to make this incredibly easy for everyone, and even throw in the added bonus of processing payments via Paypal, credit or debit card.
Progress and updates
An essential for any campaign is providing updates and details on your progress. On the campaign page there will be progress bar that will give your audience an instant donations update. We’ve had a look and, when sharing the page, the progress bar is also included, which is a great feature.
Users can also choose to ‘Join’ and opt-in to receive updates on the campaign in their news feed. This is an opportunity for charities to maintain momentum on their fundraising and provide their followers with even more shareable content.
People love to share content that supports a cause they love, we know this, Facebook knows this. Social media makes every follower a fundraiser. Sharing functionality has been tweaked for these campaigns to better serve the purpose of the content. Before, users would need to be directed off-site; now, your inspiring content can collect donations right there and then.
The Facebook fundraiser tool will not be free. This isn’t a surprise – it’d be very optimistic and perhaps a little naïve to expect that Facebook would give such a gift without expecting something in return. The current line from Facebook is that pricing will be on par or lower than current industry trends, so probably cheaper than JustGiving to really stick the knife in. How this will work with your reach on the network, whether your fundraiser will be targeted like the ads or if you need to pay more to get increased reach is currently unknown.
There are charities who would never consider fundraising through Facebook previously due to the cost; with this tool there really is no argument, unless a global audience of 150 million and a quick, easy donation process is in some way not in the best interest of your charity.
We tried really hard to not get too excited about this tool. It didn’t work. This will make a huge difference to a lot of charities. We’ll have to wait until it’s released before we can really get to grips with the reality of using it day-to-day, but, without a doubt, this marks a big change in digital fundraising.
Whether that change will be a good one remains to be seen, we doubt likes of JustGiving will be regaling the arrival of this new tool, and for good reason. It will certainly have it benefits for those who use the tool but Facebook have been accused of prioritising their own platforms and claiming it’s “in the interests of the user” while reaping many of the benefits. A useful tool it might be, we must be cautious about a limited, monopolised market and the effects it could have on the wider fundraising sector.
If you’d like to discuss what this might mean for your fundraising or any other aspect of your social media strategy then give us a call on: 0161 6607959