Facebook announced some big news last week. Nonprofits now have the option to include a“Donate Now” button as a call to action on Pages and ads, offering visitors a direct path from Facebook to the donation forms on their websites.

It only took a couple of days for the nonprofit blogosphere to offer their thoughts. Reactions ranged from “let’s wait and see” to “Facebook missed the mark” and “this is dumb and I hate it”.

I have to admit that I was surprised by the all the negativity aimed at what I see as a win for nonprofits.

I recently co-founded a nonprofit, Birthdays For All, to provide birthday presents to foster children in the local Charleston, SC area. We rely heavily on Facebook’s targeting capabilities to help build awareness for our cause. The new ‘Donate Now’ button is something I’ve been waiting and hoping for, and I’m enthusiastic about it’s release.

Here are 3 reasons why utilizing the ‘Donate Now’ button should be a no-brainer for nonprofits:

1. It puts the focus on fundraising

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I’ve worked with many nonprofits who have a strong Facebook presence but don’t focus their content on driving online fundraising. Before this update, the options for the main call to action button were things like “Shop Now”, “Book Now”, “Download”. For Birthdays For All, I opted for “Sign Up”, which took people to an email sign-up form on our website to help us grow our email housefile.

All nonprofits who fundraise online and use Facebook to publish content have reason to celebrate the “Donate Now” option. It won’t revolutionize any fundraising fundamentals or conversion rates, but the value of a Donate Now button on any website is that it clearly states the action you want your audience to take.

2. It doesn’t cost you anything

Some articles I read expressed disappointment that the new button is “really nothing more than a click-through” to your donation page that lives on your website, and asked Facebook to offer a more seamless experience. The fact that Facebook is not mandating the transaction to occur on their servers is a good thing. Nonprofits can decide the best payment gateway that works for them and have control over the giving experience via their own website.

3. It takes less than a minute to set-up

Facebook Donate Now button
It took me less than a minute to setup the button once I heard about it. With just a few clicks I had a changed our main call to action from “Sign Up” to “Donate Now”. Did donations start flooding in? Not yet. But now we have an opportunity to focus our content on driving visitors towards this new call to action. For my organization, the time it took to setup the button was a minute well spent.

Anyone expecting the new ‘Donate Now’ button to be a silver bullet to their fundraising demons will inevitably be disappointed.

We must continue to tell compelling stories and create high quality content to form meaningful connections with our audience before we start seeing any results. We already understand how the game works, but the path to the goal just got much clearer for everyone.

If it takes you longer than a minute to setup the Donate Now button on your organization’s Facebook page, contact me at ben.wong@blackbaud.com


BEN WONG (@bunmun) is the Creative Services Manager at Blackbaud and Co-Founder of Birthdays For All (birthdaysforall.org), a nonprofit that provides birthday presents to foster children in the Charleston County area.

He started his career as an interactive designer where he designed and developed website solutions for hundreds of nonprofit organizations. He also worked as a director of UX at a boutique digital marketing agency, where he gained experience in the for-profit world. He has presented at NTC, DIG South, BBCON, Refresh Charleston and Good Business Summit, and written articles for npEngage and the npExperts. As a Charleston resident, he is also part of the Charleston Open Source initiative (charlestonopensource.com) to attract tech talent to the region.

Ben comes from the UK where he had a short career in the British music industry before completing his degree in Computer Science with Business Management at Queen Mary University of London.

Keep up with with Ben presence on social media at bunmun.com.

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