Facebook’s Donate Now Button: A Small Win for Nonprofits

Since the roll-out of Facebook’s new ‘Donate Now’ button, there have been a lot of voices chiming in about what this really means for nonprofits. Not surprisingly, there’s been a mix of praise and scrutiny.

No, Facebook’s new Donate Now button won’t send your online fundraising soaring any time soon. But, if you look close enough, there was a small win.

It isn’t that people will now visit your Facebook page for the first time and be so inspired by, say, your cover photo that they’ll want to donate at that moment. And while they may ‘Like’ you at that point, they’re much more likely to engage with you in their newsfeed than return to your page.

It also isn’t that your existing constituents will now visit your Facebook page and decide it’s time to finally give, after ignoring all of your email appeals.

If someone is going to give from Facebook, it’s most likely going to be because a friend asked them and directed them to a peer-to-peer fundraising page. Facebook is a powerful driver of this type of fundraising – but it has nothing to do with a Donate Now button.

Where it could help, though—and this part has been largely overlooked since the announcement—is that nonprofits can now add another prominent call to action within their Facebook ads.

Previously, nonprofits were limited to generic Facebook ad button options like “Sign Up” and “Learn More.”

In addition to (hopefully) including a “donate” prompt in the ad image, the Donate Now button offers another visual prompt to give.

It’s like including multiple calls to action within an email appeal—you hope more means better (click-through rates). So this is a small win for nonprofits.

Though, it should be noted that nonprofits are very much in the infancy stages of using Facebook ads.

I’m not just talking about boosting posts here. I’m referring to creating dedicated Facebook ads as part of fundraising campaigns to reach your top audiences with tailored messaging. Facebook ads’ custom audiences offer a new way for nonprofits to reach top segments—donor segments, volunteers, email subscribers. Its laser-like targeting gives nonprofits another way to get campaigns in front of constituents.

Sure Facebook ads won’t find all of them, but they may match half of them.

Enough nonprofits are seeing the opportunity with Facebook ads that they’re becoming part of their campaigns. Success stories are starting to surface. Just a few months ago, our team helped a school generate 49 donations from their Facebook ads.

However, many nonprofits are just starting to dip their toe in the water with Facebook ads. And until we see some data, the jury is obviously still out on how effective they are.

So what should we make of Facebook’s Donate Now button? I think it’s a small win…for nonprofit Facebook ads.

Still trying to make sense of Facebook ads? We can help. Contact me at [email protected].