4 Arguments for Why Nonprofits Should Stay on Facebook

February 13, 2023
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Do you fear that Facebook is too powerful? Did the recent rebrand to Meta worry your team? Does the thought of not knowing what Facebook does with the data it collects worry you?

If you’ve had any of the above worries about social fundraising on Facebook, you’re not alone. In fact, there are full articles discussing whether or not nonprofits should continue engaging with supporters on Facebook (this one is a great example). While some organizations critique social giving more generally, believing that giving on social media is somehow less genuine than other methods, the use of donor data is by far the most pressing concern.

At GoodUnited, we’ve closely studied the ins and outs of social fundraising on Facebook to help our nonprofit clients better connect with supporters on the platform. Through that work, we’ve seen numerous reasons why Facebook fundraising is a reliable, game-changing resource for nonprofit organizations.

In this guide, we’re going to cover four arguments for why your nonprofit should stay on Facebook through the following points:

Let’s get started.

Why are nonprofits hesitant when it comes to Facebook fundraising?

Before we explore why you should stay on Facebook, let’s discuss why nonprofits are skeptical of the platform to begin with. 

There are four main concerns that nonprofits have when it comes to fundraising on Facebook:

  1. It’s hard to know what Facebook does with donor data. We know that Facebook does collect donor data, but there’s confusion around what Facebook does with that data after collecting it. The leading theory is that the platform sells the data to advertisers, who then use it to serve targeted advertisements to specific audiences. 
  2. Facebook provides nonprofits with limited access to donor data. While Facebook collects a wide range of data about users, it provides very little of that donor information to nonprofits. You can access the name of each donor, technical information about the transaction itself (such as how it was made), and if the donor chooses to share it, an email address. Beyond that, Facebook can’t share any other donor data with your nonprofit due to its privacy policy. Many nonprofits criticize this as it can make it challenging to connect with and steward supporters on the platform.
  3. There’s a general distrust of social networks, especially Facebook. Some nonprofits grew wary of working with Facebook when its parent company rebranded to Meta, worried that the change would lead to a major disruption to social fundraising on the platform itself.
  4. There’s a belief that social fundraising isn’t an impactful way to connect with supporters. Because it takes place fully digitally, some nonprofits believe that it’s impossible to create strong connections with social supporters. Additionally, because social fundraising involves a large number of small gifts (rather than a handful of major gifts), some organizations don’t see the capacity of the strategy to raise significant funds.

It’s good to have skepticism when it comes to social fundraising— and any fundraising method— as you don’t want to invest significant resources into a strategy that may not be in your best interest. However, at GoodUnited, we’ve not only found that these concerns are generally less worrisome than they first appear, but that social networks are actually the stage for the future of fundraising.

4 Arguments for Staying on Facebook

In our Meta FAQ, we discuss how despite any concerns, nonprofits and their supporters are overwhelmingly choosing to stay on Facebook and continue using the platform. In fact, the platform boasts nearly 2 billion active users on a daily basis and more than $5 billion in donations has been raised using the platform’s fundraising tools.

Let’s explore the four main arguments that are keeping nonprofits and their supporters on Facebook.

Argument 1: Collecting donor data isn’t as alarming as it sounds.

We’re not arguing that Facebook doesn’t collect and sell donor data to advertisers. We’re arguing that it’s not as scandalous as some might think.

Think of it this way: have you ever performed a Google search? Similar to Facebook, Google collects and sells data about its users. And, you’ve probably seen the direct impact by seeing targeted ads that align with your search history. The point is that if you’re using the internet regularly, in any capacity, your data is being collected and sold. For modern tech users, data collection is a simple fact of life.

This graphic shows how much data is generated on the internet each day.
Source: https://www.goodunited.io/

Beyond that, Facebook users can read about what data the app collects and who it shares it with, as well as access, rectify, and erase that data if they so choose. Each of your supporters who are Facebook users are already accessing the platform— and accepting any risk— of their own volition. They’ll be on the platform whether or not your organization interacts with them on it, so it makes sense to make the most of the channel that already exists.

Argument 2: It’s a fee-free fundraising method for nonprofits.

Most fundraising methods involve some sort of administrative or processing fees. For example, most online fundraising pages deduct 2 - 3%, crowdfunding pages often deduct 4 - 5%, and peer-to-peer platforms often deduct 3 - 6% from every transaction. So, let’s say you’re conducting traditional P2P fundraising— a $100 donation could instead be $94 toward your cause.

In contrast, Facebook announced in 2017 that it was covering the cost of all processing fees for nonprofits. This means that for all charity fundraisers (not personal fundraisers), the organization retains 100% of every donation made.

This graphic illustrates how Facebook doesn't have any fees.

Let’s consider an example. Let’s say your nonprofit chooses to host a Challenge on Facebook (more on that in the next section) and participants raise $100,000 through the fundraiser. Your nonprofit keeps every dollar raised— rather than losing the $2,000 - $6,000 that other platforms would deduct.

Argument 3: Facebook is the stage for the third shift in fundraising.

Consider the history of nonprofit fundraising. The first way to give was through direct mail and handwritten checks. Then, giving shifted to the internet and online fundraising pages on nonprofit websites, with organizations following up via email. We’re now observing a third shift in giving, in which we’re moving toward in-channel engagement and social fundraising tactics.

This graphic illustrates the third shift in fundraising.

Between Twitter-driven crowdfunding campaigns, Facebook fundraisers, and TikTok creator-led philanthropy, donors are looking to give to nonprofits through the channels that they’re already spending significant time on — social networks. Even further, the entire transaction from the initial gift through the nonprofit’s follow-up afterward takes place in-channel on the network itself, thanks to conversational messaging tools like Messenger.

This shift makes sense for a number of reasons. For one, in-channel engagement provides a more frictionless experience for supporters who no longer need to toggle between apps on their phones to engage with nonprofits and one another. Furthermore, social media has become the main avenue for interpersonal connection, especially during the pandemic.

Major nonprofit organizations are leading the way with embracing the new age of fundraising. In just 2020 and 2021, Susan G. Komen, The American Cancer Society, Best Friends Animal Society, and No Kid Hungry all hosted social fundraisers to connect with social supporters. Even further, a recent survey found that the 44 nonprofits surveyed raised $154.9 million from digital-first peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns on social in 2021, a 30% increase from the $119.2 million raised in 2020.

Argument 4: Nonprofits can partner with social fundraising services providers to level up their strategies.

The third shift in giving is built upon the idea of in-channel engagement— holding one-on-one conversations with social supporters directly in-channel on the platforms. As your nonprofit’s social audience grows, it can grow impossible for your team to manually chat with and maintain those relationships with each and every supporter.

That’s where social fundraising service providers and platforms come into play, as they’re creating functionality to support the third shift in giving.

For example, GoodUnited’s social fundraising services and platform empowers your nonprofit to host Challenges on Facebook, which are time-bound peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns that take place on the social network. You can access full P2P functionality directly on Facebook— including team signups and participant referrals.

From there, our team will create custom automated messaging sequences that you can use to steward Challenge participants during and after the campaigns are completed. And, we’ll conduct ongoing optimizations to your campaigns and create a strategy for repeat Challenges, which allows you to create a recurring stream of revenue using social fundraising.

This graphic illustrates GoodUnited's social fundraising services.

This allows you to scale up your social fundraising strategy in a sustainable manner, to both raise more funds and raise your relationships with the next generation of social supporters.

It’s time to accept that social giving on Facebook is the future of fundraising. For your nonprofit, you likely have a number of supporters on the platform who are eager to engage with you. Are you ready to meet them there?

To level up your nonprofit’s social fundraising strategy, connect with our team at GoodUnited today. In the meantime, explore the following additional social fundraising resources:

Contact us to elevate your social fundraising strategy.