2013-12-20

Co.Exist

Facebook's New "Donate Now" Button Makes Impulsive Giving Easier Than Ever

Inspired by a successful partnership with the Red Cross after Typhoon Haiyan, Facebook is now making it possible for vetted charities to solicit donations on the social network.

Computers and cell phones have made it far too easy to spend large sums of money without actually thinking about it. When you don't even have to take out your wallet to hail car-sharing services, purchase dinner, and buy books, the money just seems to slip away.

This tendency to impulse-buy has also been a boon to charities and nonprofits, which often allow supporters to send donations via text message. Now that Facebook has rolled out a new "Donate Now" button for nonprofit Facebook pages, charitable contributions will become even easier.

The button was inspired by the outpouring of charity in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan last month, during which Facebook partnered with the International Federation of Red Cross so people could donate directly to relief efforts in the Philippines.

"After seeing the generosity of people around the world toward this effort, we’ve been inspired to help everyone donate, at any time, to the organizations they care about most. We're constantly testing and evolving our products," wrote Libby Leffler, strategic partner manager at Facebook, in an email.

For now, the Donate button is available on the Facebook pages for a handful of nonprofits, including the Nature Conservancy, the American Cancer Society, and Malaria No More. Just select an amount to donate, click Donate Now, enter in payment information, and wait for the donation to go through.

Leffler says that any nonprofit is welcome to request the button through Facebook's Donate interest form. Presumably there will be some kind of vetting process to ensure that well-intentioned donors don't give to fraudulent organizations, but Leffler declined to provide detail on what that process might look like.

While Facebook doesn't have any specific fundraising goals for the nonprofits that will use the button, the social network will be monitoring usage. "As with all of our products, we will look carefully at how people are using the feature and how they are engaging with and discovering nonprofits to ensure that the organizations and individuals on Facebook are having the best experience possible," Leffler said.

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