Facebook Launches New 100% Free Donate Button for Nonprofits

This week, Facebook launched a game-changing new feature for nonprofit organizations.

You know the “like” button on your page, right under your cover photo? Soon, you’ll be able to put a “donate” button right there below it!

Here are the features of the new donate button, in a nutshell:

Thanks to the Donate Now button, instead of forcing your donors to LEAVE Facebook to make their donations (either via Paypal, on your website, etc) you can now accept donations in a pop-up window right on Facebook.

ASPCA Facebook page

The ASPCA is one of the organizations chosen by Facebook to test the new donate button. This is a screenshot of their page (emphasis added); you can see the placement of the donate button. (click on this image to enlarge)


The Donate Now button also gives people an easy way for people to share their action with friends, and encourage friends to donate as well. This is HUGE, particularly when you have a campaign, because people will want to encourage their friends to support the cause.

Paypal processes the donation itself–so the transaction happens on their secure servers. You never see the credit card number or anything like that. As a page admin, you’ll receive a notification of the donation, and can send a thank-you letter, enter the person into your donor database, add them to your email list or whatever your process is when you receive a donation.

Donate popup closeup view

When you choose an amount and click “Donate,” you get a popup box like this to choose your payment option and complete the donation. I have a few payment methods on file with Facebook already, so it’s letting me choose which one I’d like to use. If you don’t have any, it will prompt you to enter your credit card or Paypal details. (click this image to enlarge)

Why is Facebook doing this?

It COULD be that they’re just genuinely nice. Big companies often practice amazing philanthropy, it’s true! So I think that’s definitely part of it. But if they make it easy to connect a donor with a nonprofit, they can also make it easy to connect that person to an advertiser.

If I make a donation to your organization through Facebook, I have to give my payment information to Facebook (IE, my credit card information). I don’t personally doubt their security (although a hack is always possible), but I do recognize the “slippery slope.” Now that Facebook has my credit card stored and saved, it’s so very easy for me to make OTHER purchases on Facebook!

Ideally, Facebook would like to process a LOT of transactions–let me buy shoes, gift certificates, cosmetics, etc.–and for those purchases, they WOULD collect a transaction fee (from the merchant). Considering that Paypal makes $3.4 BILLION a year just for processing our transactions¹, this could be an extremely lucrative endeavor for Facebook and its shareholders.

That being said, I think this is still a HUGE game changer for nonprofits, and you should definitely apply! If you have a donate tab on your Facebook page, that’s fine–you can still keep that. It’s just another way people can give to you. But this makes it SO easy for people to give, as long as they are willing to allow Facebook to save their credit card information.

Nonprofit interest form for Facebook donate button

This is a screenshot of the form you can fill out to get your nonprofit page on the waiting list for your own donate button. Click on this image to enlarge. To fill out the form, go to https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/585894954798346

Will it be successful? Only time will tell. If you fill out the form and apply to get your own donate button, let us know if you hear back! They haven’t said how soon they’ll be rolling it out to the “regular” nonprofits; hopefully soon. If you apply and hear any details, please post here and let us know!

What are your thoughts? do you think you’ll use the Facebook donate button?

1. Source: Statistics Brain, http://www.statisticbrain.com/paypal-statistics/, March 2012.

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