Since most of you are here on this site because you share an interest in learning about environmental issues, news and ways you can do your part to help, I'll bet that you follow a few environmental organizations on Facebook too. So many great organizations have used the site to help spread the word about the work they're doing, whether marine research, endangered animals or forest conservation.
We all know that these organizations not only need our awareness and engagement, but they need money to keep doing what they're doing. Facebook has just made it a lot easier for those groups to ask for money and for us to give.
The social media company just announced that non-profit organizations and charities can now run fundraising campaigns directly through the site.Registered U.S. non-profits can create fundraising pages that tell the story of the campaign, collect donations, and track progress toward the goal. On the fundraising page, there are buttons for preselected amounts or you can enter your own and then just hit the donate button, all while staying within the site. Pretty simple.
The part that could have the biggest impact though is that when a user donates to a cause, a post will appear in the user's friend's news feeds showing that their friend just donated and with a donate button for them to use too. Seeing the giving actions of your friends and acquaintances could motivate others to give too, especially when it doesn't require more than a couple extra clicks.
This isn't Facebook's first attempt into charitable giving. The network often appeals to users to donate during times of crisis or after natural disasters, but this is the first time it's giving individual charities the ability to make those same appeals to collect donations within Facebook.
About 150 million users are connected to at least one non-profit on the site and users often share causes they're passionate about or asking friends to give for their birthdays. This is just the natural next step with a more direct way to give.
"Imagine you are seeing what your friends are donating to. That’s just so much more effective than getting a notice on the home page asking you to donate," said Naomi Gleit, Facebook vice president of product management and leader of its Social Good team, to FastCoExist. "This is really the next step in how we can have a great impact at scale."
These new tools are in beta and will be available to 37 organizations to start, including the World Wildlife Fund, Mercy Corps and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which have already launched campaigns. When the program expands, other non-profits can apply to get access. The tools will be free to use for now, though in the future, Facebook may charge a small amount for credit card processing fees, but not for profit.
The timing for this launch is ideal since December is the biggest month in the U.S. for charitable giving. By the end of the year, we'll be able to see if the first organizations using the new Facebook tools had greater success.