Nonprofits large and small are looking into social media’s newest shiny object - the free nonprofit fundraising on Facebook features. However, many questions remain:
- How do we set up and use these tools?
- Should we use them?
- What about donor information?
- How do we get payments?
- Is it really worth all the fuss?
Some organizations are seeing great results from Facebook fundraisers, but other nonprofits remain perplexed or frustrated by the process. And with overall usage of Facebook down, it remains to be seen if nonprofits can reach new donors in a sustainable way on the world’s biggest social network.
Based on questions and comments that I frequently receive from nonprofits, here, I give you “the good, the bad, and the ugly” regarding nonprofit fundraising on Facebook:
Facebook eliminated donor processing fees after Giving Tuesday in 2017. This only applies to donations made via Facebook Payments, not donations made on outside sites that are accessed from a link placed on Facebook.
Ease of use for the donor
There is no denying that from the individual user perspective, making a gift on Facebook, via Facebook Payments is incredibly easy. For example, I donated to three Giving Tuesday campaigns last year, and did so in just 2 clicks each:
Ability for the fundraiser to spread
If I donate to a friend’s Facebook fundraiser, I can then easily share it on my page, spreading the word to my friends and family with just one click.
I’ve noticed a serious push by Facebook to promote fundraisers created by my friends, as well as encouraging me to start fundraisers of my own.
Have to be a 501c3
Currently, to receive donations via Facebook Payments, nonprofits have to meet a serious of qualifications, listed here.
Little control over the fundraisers
As with anything on Facebook, it’s based on the priorities of the company, and not your priorities. As such, you can't control much beyond text and visuals.
It can take time to get approved
If you do meet all of the requirements, after you register it can take up to a month to get approved.
Payouts can take up to 45 days to receive in some cases. See more information on Payouts here.
Reports are confusing
Once you're registered with Facebook and receiving donations, you'll be sent two reports: the Daily Transaction Report and the Payout Report. These can be confusing for nonprofits to interpret.
No customer service
As with all the free social networks, there's no customer service hotline and it can be incredibly difficult to speak to a real person if you have a question or a concern.
And, the biggest con and strike against nonprofit Fundraising on Facebook...
You don't get information on the donors.
In the Daily Transaction Report, you'll get details like First Name, Last Name, Amount Donated, and Email Address ONLY if the donor decides to share it. You don't get any other contact information about your donor.
Conclusion: Explore Cautiously
To determine if nonprofit fundraising on Facebook will work for your nonprofit, always return to your goals.
What would you like to achieve by setting up fundraisers on Facebook? If you want some quick cash for a specific project, then Facebook fundraising may be the way to go. If you want to build your donor file, and build relationships with your donors, fundraising on Facebook is not the best avenue for long-term donor retention.
Nonprofit fundraising on Facebook may be valuable to your organization, however, I always say - don't build your house on rented land.