Facebook Launches Donate Now Button for Nonprofits: Field of Dreams? | Beth’s Blog

Facebook Launches Donate Now Button for Nonprofits: Field of Dreams?


donate now

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?

26 Responses

  1. I’m always a skeptic with these types of things, but I was shocked that when we first started using the “sign up” call to action button, we got hundreds of new action takers each month. So I guess the lesson is if its there take advantage, just don’t expect it (or anything else) to be a silver bullet.

  2. John Haydon says:

    I agree with Carie. There are no silver bullets.

    Also, I think the CTA has to be realistic for Facebook. Asking people to “Sign Up” for an email newsletter will get more conversions than “Donate Now”.

  3. Beth says:

    Exactly, John and Carrie. Looks like the CTA “Give us money” is less effective than “Give us permission to communicate with you.” So, you have to place Facebook on the right rung of your ladder of engagement or donor pyramid.

    I also think the disclaimer might influence conversions negatively – but we’ll have to wait to see if Facebook tests/iterates on that – and, of course, will be exciting to her from ALS and their results.

  4. Beth says:

    Carrie: Do you convert those action takers through other channels once you capture their emails/contact information?

  5. Yes – Facebook acquired names go into a special “bucket” where they get their own welcome series.

  6. John Haydon says:

    Facebook users are like lazy race horses. We love going around the track, but will go take a nap if the hurdles are too high.

  7. John Haydon says:

    Carrie: You so smaaht!

  8. Beth Kanter says:

    do they convert? What is the cost per donor acquired ?

  9. Lisa Rose says:

    Can you direct me to directions on how to install the donate button on my facebook non-profit page?

  10. […] Facebook Launches Donate Now Button for Nonprofits: Field of Dreams? (Beth’s Blog) […]

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  12. Very late leaving a comment here – I keep reading that Facebook is so effective for animal rights organizations, but not so much for other organizations that don’t have cute puppy pictures to post. Do you think that part of Carie’s great response is not just that it was the appropriate ask, but also that she works for the Humane Society? Are there examples of other organizations–not related to animals–that are similarly having very good results? Thank you!

  13. Actually, what we deal with most is animal cruelty, so it’s not about cute puppies. Our success is attributed to our incredibly effective Facebook content strategy.

  14. Beth says:

    Carie, also coupled with your content strategy is your organization’s agility in monitoring and engaging with audiences too! Just saying

  15. Beth says:

    Rebecca: Organizations that do well on social media and digitally have:

    Deep knowledge of their audiences interests, motivations, and habits
    Clear objectives and measurable Key performance indicators and only focus on tactics that help move the needled on them

    Good systems for listening to audiences and monitoring the conversation and engaging

    Deep engagement

    Robust content strategy that combines created and curated content, timely news, and is exactly what the audience needs. It is based on measurement of performance of that content too.

    With that said, there are many do a fantastic job without having a mission of animal protection — take a look at Edutopia for example. I have a list of others here: https://www.facebook.com/lists/10152121657607700

  16. […] Facebook Launches Donate Now Button for Nonprofits: Field of Dreams? […]

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