Potential Problems of Facebook’s Fundraising Tool

With 2.13 billion active users, Facebook seeks to provide all your needs on its social media platform, including how you fundraise. At first glance, the tool appears to encourage people to raise funds in engaging and sympathetic ways, helping the nonprofit tell its story to the world. When you use the free tool, you realize it’s not as versatile as your other, paying methods. But using outside links like your webpage, requires a little creativity as in the case of this example of posting a Youtube video.

According to this site:

“If you haven’t figured out by now, Facebook and Google (Google owns YouTube) are not best friends. So, when you create an amazing video, upload it to YouTube, and are ready to share it with the network you’ve painstakingly built on Facebook… be prepared for a lackluster response. No, it’s not because Facebook limits who sees your newsfeed now (although they do, kind of), it’s because of the way Facebook displays YouTube videos. Update: It’s not just YouTube videos, it’s pretty much any content hosted outside of Facebook and shared (tumblr, your website, other video platforms, news sites, etc).”

Facebook encourages postings that originate from Facebook. A person can opt to raise money for a cause on their status update. It’s easy and quick. Grass roots efforts online are more powerful than paid ads. According to a February 2018 article from nptechforgood.com,

For non-profits like churches and missionary organizations, the fundraising tool has a long way to go before they can match what these organizations are already using.

  • Current fundraising methods have memo lines for missionaries and budgets or special needs. The fundraising tool on Facebook is strictly one donation.
  • Current fundraising methods give non-profits access to their funds within a few days. Facebook’s new fundraising tool says it can take 60-75 days.
  • To share your website or giving URL to Facebook, you must create a post that doesn’t appear like it is taking Facebook’s people away from its platform, including uploading a stock photo or real photo, putting the link in the status with your story (or in the comments after the fact). The new fundraising tool allows anyone on a non-profit’s behalf to post a compelling story, click on their nonprofit name, and donate, inviting the posters’ followers to donate.

For a church or missionary organization, the potential problems are these:

  • People donate, and call or email the church office to make sure their donation gets to the right account or budget line item, creating a potential traffic jam of activity of dealing with that problem at a most inconvenient time when church staff need to focus on other things.
  • People, especially those unfamiliar with how to use Facebook, may see one person raise money online for a missionary organization and copy them, not realizing their funds are not getting to a specific missionary. Instead, it gets credited after a while to the organization in total.

If this tool could tweak its platform to have memo lines designating funds to specific people or budget items, a church or missionary organization might greatly benefit from others telling its story through their followers’ personal social media account.

The prospect of having partners help fundraise online for the missionaries and agencies they support is exciting! But it isn’t always as simple as it might seem. A good course of action might be to contact your worker directly and express your desire to help them raise funds. As a worker myself trying to gather support, I can tell you that a message, email, or phone call like that, whether or not it ultimately raises funds, would definitely raise my spirits.