Facebook is extending its fundraising tools to selected charities in the UK and Ireland, plus three other European countries. The tools that have helped to raise millions of dollars for US nonprofits while supporters use Facebook are at last within the grasp of UK charities.
Select US charities were first given the facility to solicit and receive donations via Facebook donate buttons in December 2013. These were expanded in 2015 to include an enhanced donate button plus a ‘fundraiser’ function for a specific campaign. These were still for the 37 initial nonprofit partners, although subsequently these tools were rolled out to other US nonprofits.
The significance of the tools is that they enable individuals to donate within Facebook, rather than having to be directed to a different dedicated donation site like JustGiving, BT MyDonate or Virgin Money Giving. Just one click away can reduce the number of people who subsequently give.
The new tools available to some UK charities this month include the ‘donate now’ button, which can be added to a charity’s Facebook page and to individual posts.
Facebook will charge a 5% fee on donations handled for UK charities. Facebook states “Of this fee, 3.5% covers the costs of nonprofit vetting, fraud protection, operational costs and payment support. The remaining 1.5% covers payment processing.”
That said, a message on Facebook’s help section for fundraising states that all fees are waived on donations to European charities until 29 October 2017.
Fundraisers, or fundraising campaigns by individuals
UK charities can also enable their supporters to set up campaigns on their individual Facebook accounts on behalf of the charity. Individuals can then promote this campaign to their friends and contacts and invite them to support it by donating.
Each time someone donates they are prompted to share and invite their friends. These shares themselves contain a donate button, making it easy for any recipient to donate straight from their news feed.
Individuals will also receive a message from Facebook two weeks before their birthday, inviting them to consider setting up a birthday fundraising campaign on Facebook for their favourite charity. This idea was trialled in May this year and then its availability was announced for US nonprofits last month.
This should not be confused with the personal fundraiser service launched in the US in March 2017 which lets people raise funds for a personal cause, such as their education, medical bills or vet’s bills.
Charities in the UK and their supporters will be able to add the donate button to their Facebook Live broadcast messages.
Ariana Grande’s One Love Manchester concert, broadcast live in June 2017, raised $450,000 via Facebook. Donations can be made during the Live broadcast or when it is complete and has been posted on the page.
Successful Facebook fundraising
Facebook has recently used its tools in the US to support giving to nonprofits dealing with the impact of Hurricane Harvey. The campaign raised $10m, including a $1m donation from Facebook.
Similarly it is raising funds for Save the Children’s work helping people affected by the floods in South Asia. The company has also donated $1m to that campaign.
Together the Facebook community has raised over $10 million to help people affected by Hurricane Harvey. This includes…
The Facebook Live fundraising tools were used to considerable success by UK agency Open Creates which helped deliver the ACLU Facebook Live fundraising event in March this year in the USA. (The event was nominated for an Emmy).
Paul de Gregorio, one of the small team from Open who worked on the campaign, told UK Fundraising: “Having used them we think these new tools from Facebook could be transformational for UK fundraisers. As anyone who has heard us speak will know, we are obsessed with making the act of giving as frictionless as possible. If we can move someone to want to give with our creative and storytelling skills the actual act of giving needs to be fast and easy. These tools facilitate that and will enable charities to fuse digital engagement and fundraising at a level we’ve not seen before. It’s all very exciting.”
A Dan Papworth-Smyth noted in Telethon 2.0, Red Nose Day USA subsequently ran a telethon incorporating Facebook Live and its donation functions:
We’re going LIVE. Catch backstage shenanigans, exclusives, and general ridiculousness – all to raise money for kids in need. And remember! All donations on Facebook will be matched by the @Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation up to $1 million 🔴
Posted by Red Nose Day USA on Thursday, 25 May 2017
Many US nonprofits are now using their video experience to run Facebook Live appeals. The Humane Society of America for example has posted several live videos of its response in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, appearing with ‘Donate’ buttons.
LIVE: We’re on a boat rescuing animals in Beaumont, Texas!
Posted by The Humane Society of the United States on Saturday, 2 September 2017
Figures for recent posts’ fundraising income include $14,841 (418 donations), $1,723 (54 donations), and $7,654 (224 donations).
When do charities gain access?
Selected eligible UK charities will gain access to the tools from the end of September, together with charities in Ireland, Germany, Spain and France.
These will be followed in October by charities in Belgium, Denmark, Austria, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal, Finland and Luxembourg.
How to apply?
Any UK and Ireland charity can register for access to the tools on Facebook. To be eligible UK charities must be registered charities and will need to submit further financial details for verification by Facebook. It is not known how many charities will be accepted to test the new tools, but on past experience it is more likely to be a few dozen rather than hundreds.
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