Facebook for Non Profits Pros & Cons
Facebook is no longer charging NPOs to use their platform which makes it an attractive option for charities that want to keep as much of their donations as possible. Small, local, and international NPOs are seeing great benefits from using FB charity tools. Facebook based its new donation platform on other prominent sites like Kickstarter, in order to provide a user-friendly interface and experience. NPOs that use Facebook fundraising tools can expect an increase in engagement (donations), followers and organic shares. Overall, Facebook is a solid choice for most NPOs because of their lack of fees and ease of use.
FACEBOOK FUNDRAISING FEES
In November 2017, FB announced that they are no longer charging fees to non-profits who want to fundraise on their platform. However, this is not the case of individual fundraising for personal causes like medical bills, education, etc. The change was catalyzed by a request from the Syrian American Medical Society, an international non-profit. The SAMS had raised $1.5 million on Facebook. They requested that FB waive the $85,000 service fee so they can help more Syrians, to which Zuckerberg obliged.
Kickstarted and GoFundMe still charge fees. Kickstarter is geared towards commercial businesses and GoFundMe focuses on personal fundraising (ex. medical expenses, education, etc). Therefore, Facebook took the lead and created a platform to help NPOs with their goals. They did this by incorporating features from Kickstarter and Crowdrise.
facebook fundraising Benefits
Besides being free for NPOs, the Facebook donate button allows "conversions in three clicks or less." Since users trust Facebook, many of them have their credit card information already saved on the platform which is one less obstacle on their path to donating. "As prospects scroll through their news feed and come across your compelling story, a clear donate button offers little risk of losing them along the way through redirects, too many clicks or distractions."
Facebook has 1.6 billion users. After donating on Facebook, users can share their post which will also include the donate button. This nurtures organic growth and engagement while increasing the chances of the campaign going viral. This is a benefit that Facebook has that no other platform can offer.
"Non-profits raised $45 million through Facebook during Giving Tuesday partly through donation matching initiatives like that of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation." Zuckerberg also recently announced that Facebook "will introduce an annual $50 million fund to make direct contributions and match donations during crises like natural disasters, and to some other, selected fundraising campaigns."
Facebook does a lot of the difficult tasks for NPOs including asking in a timely and specific manner, using eye-catching visuals, and providing easy-to-use tools for donating and sharing the campaign. Facebook's new Fundraisers API will let nonprofits integrate their fundraisers on their websites. This way, donors will be prompted to donate when they visit the NPOs website and when they check their Facebook account. "This can allow them to reach their goals faster"
FACEBOOK FUNDRAISING DRAWBACKS
Although the donate button improves ease of us and transaction speed, its downside is that users will not get rerouted to the NPOs website. When donors visit the NPOs website, their demographics (ex. sex, age, location) are captured and can be used to build rapport and relationships with donors. For example, without this data, NPOs won't be able to reach out to donors via e-mail because that data won't be collected.
Another downside of the FB fundraising platform is that it has a minimum withdrawal of $100 and if you don't use Facebook Payments, donations will arrive in 60-75 days.
Since Facebook fundraising is so new, Facebook users might not even be aware of its existence. Baby Boomers are known to be wary of social media, so if that is your target demographic, Facebook might not be the best choice. On the other hand, Millennial enjoy making donations via social media, so knowing your target audience is going to be key when picking a fundraising platform.
Donors might also be confused if the NPO starts using Facebook after using another donation service for years. After all, we are creatures of comfort and appreciate familiarity.
Facebook fundraising tools can successfully be used by small local organizations as well as large international operations and everything in between! For example, the Syrian American Medical Society is a small, international non-profit. Using Facebook tools, their campaign went viral and reached $900,000 in 48 hours. They currently have over 300,000 followers.
The RSPCA Queensland is a small, local NPO that effectively used Facebook charity tools to increasing support from its donors. For example, the RSPCA Queensland reached 1.2 million people. This allowed them to increase bulldog-type adoptions by 44% during the campaign and 24% after the campaign had ended! The RSPCA Queensland currently has 175,000 followers, and we can assume that number was much smaller before the FB fundraising campaign.
The Berklee College of Music is an example of a large, but local, NPO that succeeded using FB's charity tools. In this case, BCM saw a "40%
increase in click-through rate for the undergraduate campaign, a 10%
increase in paid registrations for summer programs, and 12x higher conversion rate for the graduate program." They currently have around 400,000 followers on FB. We can assume that this number was lower before the FB campaign.
Facebook is no longer charges NPOs fees for using their fundraising platform. Facebook fundraising tools are appropriate for local and international NPOs. Overall, the ease of donation coupled with no fees makes FB an attractive option for NPOs. However, these are all things that each NPO has to evaluate on a case-by-case basis as there is no one-size-fits-all solution for online fundraising.