Social media and the web have shined a new light on charitable giving, from the Virgin Money Giving pages to the Giving Tuesday initiative, which started in the United States and expanded worldwide
Social media and the web have shined a new light on charitable giving, from the Virgin Money Giving pages to the Giving Tuesday initiative, which started in the United States and expanded worldwide.
Now, Facebook is joining the world of charitable giving, introducing a donate button to charities. The move is designed to allow users who like a charity’s Facebook page to donate directly on the page, with all of the money going directly to the organisation, according to a report from the technology news web site The Next Web.
It’s unclear when this ability will be made available to charities and donors in the UK. Only charities in the United States are participating at the moment, a Facebook spokesperson tells Kettle, and the social networking web site will be looking at ways of expanding.
‘It won’t do that much’
So will the donate button be successful initially? Kirsty Marrins, a London based social media strategist who emphasises in the charitable sector, says it may not make much of a difference considering Facebook’s recent algorithm changes. “For the really big charities, it will, because they have hundreds of thousands of followers,” Marrins said. “But for the average charity it won’t do that much. It’s getting increasingly more difficult for your posts to be seen by people.”
Marrins says because of the difficulty in getting the posts out there, a charity has to spend money on advertising on Facebook to drive traffic to their page, though charities have had pages since Facebook existed. “Having a donate button, you need to get people to your pages in the first place,” Marrins said. “You have to spend money to get yourself out there. That charity has to be found – they have to spend money on advertising. They’ll need to advertise.”
A grant programme
However, Marrins says, once the donate button is enabled in the UK, it could make a difference, particularly from a charitable events standpoint. “From that point, when there is a specific day or week that the charity has a huge fundraising drive, they’ll get quite a few donations through the Facebook button on that day,” Marrins said. “They’ll have to market it though. A charity can’t remind people to donate everyday via the Facebook button. Charities will have to be clever about it. Think strategically and integrate to current campaigns.”
On the whole though, it will be a while before it can be seen if the button would be successful. “It won’t revolutionise the fundraising world,” Marrins said. “If there is an established campaign, they will receive benefits, but it’ll be a few years to see if there were increased donations, and if it was down to the button.”
Marrins says there should be a grant programme on Facebook for charities, and thinks a similar plan can work on Twitter, by giving grants for promoted tweets to charities in the UK. “Charities would get their message across,” Marrins said. “It’s not always about raising money, it can be raising awareness. Promoted tweets grant would be amazing and much more beneficial than a Facebook donate button.”
While the timing is unclear, if Facebook’s initial tests are successful, it may likely make a difference in the interaction of users and charities. However, there may be more risk involved with the algorithm changes.
What do you think? Would you use the donate button once it is enabled in the UK? Will this be successful in the long term? Have your say in the comments section below.
Photo: b_d_solis / Flickr