Should Your Nonprofit Be Using Facebook Fundraising?
Let’s settle this once and for all: The Facebook fundraising feature isn’t a bad thing. If you’re an individual.
By individual, I mean a personal cause campaign. Think raising funds for a sick friend, a grieving family or even a birthday campaign to support your local soup kitchen.
But it’s not for everybody. And most of all, it’s not for nonprofits.
Here are three reasons why your nonprofit should not be using Facebook for your fundraising campaigns:
1. No Multi-Platform Integration
Facebook has definitely given GoFundMe a run for its money. Literally. Because this is Facebook we’re talking about, your campaign will be deeply integrated into the Facebook platform. This makes it easy for your donors (who are on Facebook) to donate without ever leaving the platform. Making it all pretty quick and simple for your donor.
So what’s bad about that? Well, unlike GoFundMe, Facebook only offers single platform integration. So if your donors aren’t on Facebook there’s really no other way for them to give to, or even hear about, your campaign. As a nonprofit, this makes streamlined sharing on multiple platforms way harder.
2. No Features
What do I mean by no features? I mean that Facebook will not give you any customized tech or tools to sell your campaign story in an interactive, comprehensive manner. This includes customized donation pages, peer-to-peer features and time-limited campaigns―all of which have been proven to generate increased donation frequency and amounts across a wide spectrum of donor demographics.
Facebook doesn’t offer any of these. And I’ve got to admit as I’m writing this, this is just too easy to explain. Why would anyone want to use Facebook fundraising? (And don’t you dare say Giving Tuesday, because I’m getting to you in a minute).
3. No Data
I think by now we all know just how much Facebook loves data. But the irony is if you do a Facebook campaign, you get none of that data. Just one big fat zero. Facebook just gobbles it up the way it does everything else. Hello! You’re a 2019 fundraiser, not some 13th century friar knocking on the doors of village folk! Data is just as important as Sunday afternoon golf with your next major contributor.
Look, I’m no Facebook hater. Sure they’ve done some clearly immoral things, but overall they’ve still proven to add phenomenal value to our lives and institutional growth. Which is why I don’t get too emotional about what they’ve done. They’ll repent if they’re smart. And they are.
But if you’re a nonprofit running a campaign, and you don’t get that data after and lose names and emails, that’s a complete nonstarter. If you’re going to ask people for money, you’ve got to keep up those relationships. But without data, all those potential recurring-donors are going to disappear into the cyber abyss. And if they don’t feel like you appreciate their gift, they aren’t going to give to your organization ever again.
Ok, you hear what I’m saying. But what about Giving Tuesday?
Ah, Giving Tuesday, we were all so excited about you.
Ok so imagine this, you’ve been working all year planning robust campaigns, then suddenly Facebook sends out this message about a $7 million grant. And naturally, you do what any normal human being would do under the circumstances.
You completely lose it. Forgetting everything you knew about fundraising all to get on the Giving Tuesday hashtag—which, if you did about thirty seconds of research, you’d learn that those matching funds were used up within the first two minutes of the campaign. So a majority of these participating organizations didn’t even benefit in a significant manner.
Giving Tuesday is a nice concept. Beautiful really. “A Global Giving Movement.” Like really what better story is there than that?
But it’s not worth it to ruin your brand over. The only way it works is if you plan at the outset that your major end-of-the-year campaign will coincide with Giving Tuesday. The difference in this approach is you don’t rely on Giving Tuesday itself to make those big matching donations come in. Instead you’re creating a healthy, solution-focused campaign that solicits outside motivational factors and leverage.
Because you’re smart enough to know you’re not going to raise all that money just by writing #GivingTuesday.
What Facebook does excel at is what they started with in the first place: connecting people. For nonprofits, this means the personal, individual campaign. Because there’s no investment on your part. Nothing to lose. It’s your mom, or your best friend, who wants to raise a little money for your organization on their special day. Because when it comes down to it, Facebook just doesn’t get nonprofits. They don’t get it in the ways they charge for advertising—or in the ways they’re limited in tech and seriously omit data.
Facebook, I like you. Just not in that way.
Moshe Hecht, winner of the 2017 NonProfit PRO Technology Professional of the Year, is a philanthropy futurist, public speaker and chief innovation officer of Charidy, a crowdfunding platform and consulting company that has helped 3,000 organizations raise over $700 million.
Moshe's passion lies at the intersection of technology and charitable giving. When Moshe is not at the office, he is writing music and enjoying downtime with his wife and three redheaded children.