Yesterday, after a planning call with colleagues for a session I’m moderating at IFC called “Viral Fundraising Campaigns One Year On,” I noticed a promoted post in my stream for the ALS Icebucket Challenge with a donate button. Wow, two juicy news events in one post!
Facebook has rolled out the “Donate Now” button for all ads and brand pages which makes it easier than for nonprofits to ask Facebook audiences to donate. But, is the feature a field of dreams for nonprofits? When Facebook rolled out the donate button feature in 2013 for a small group of partners, the results were mixed. Facebook has also used the donate button as part of a humanitarian response and ask for donations during disasters with impressive results.
According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy post, the donate button functionality is different in this broader launch. For partner organizations, the button allows users to donate directly through Facebook by providing payment processing inside of Facebook. With the wider launch, potential donors are taken to the charity’s own website after a Facebook disclaimer that says the charity is not endorsed by or affiliated with Facebook. It makes me wonder if that might work against fundraising conversion, with some people thinking it is a scam.
As nonprofits have been incorporating and experimenting with Facebook promoted posts and ads as part of their fundraising tool box over the past two years, I’ve heard and read complaints from some nonprofits about low conversion rates for donations. Some colleagues feel that Facebook has missed the mark on this most recent launch.
This Hubspot article (hat tip to Debra Askanase) offers up some tips to avoid a “if we build, they will donate” mentality. John Haydon has a training coming up on Sept. 3rd covering Facebook advertising to support fundraising. This webinar will help you develop a strategic approach to leveraging this new feature. You can sign up for it at the Nonprofit Marketing Guide here.
It will be interesting to hear from ALS colleagues about the results of their campaign the second in general and more specifically how the Donate button performed for conversions and whether it should become a standard part of the fundrasier’s tool box. With the giving season right around the corner, I’m sure lots of nonprofits will test it. Facebook will no doubt iterate. And we’ll get some new insights.
What has your experience been with using Facebook Ads for fundraising? Will you be testing the Donate Now button for an upcoming fundraising campaign? Do you think Facebook missed the mark or is the jury still out?