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Facebook Causes ineffective for charitable donation?

According to a recent controversial report in The Washington Post, the Facebook ‘Causes’ application has emerged as an ineffective fundraising tool for not-for-profits and charities seeking online donations, since its creation in 2007, when compared with other online philanthropic methods.

The Post cited data from the Facebook Developers’ website indicating that extremely few of the nearly 200,000 US and Canadian not-for-profit organisations that have used the Causes application to seek donations have raised any significant amount of money.

However, the deficiency of this application as a fundraising tool goes even further and becomes more specific for NFPs outside of North America.

Campaign Manager of Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR) Priscilla Brice-Weller says that the organisation has a Facebook page, but has not found it a good place to raise money.

“There isn’t an easy way for Australian nonprofits to raise money on Facebook because people can only donate on Facebook ‘Causes’ pages to US or Canadian non-profit organisations.

“[Facebook] is better used as a way to find new supporters that might donate down the track once they get to know your organisation.”

Commenting on the Washington Post article, Connecting Up Australia CEO Doug Jacquier says “superficial articles like this are less than helpful to the sector because they unnecessarily undermine confidence in online fundraising.”

Social networking sites such as Facebook are just one of many methods of online fundraising, which currently represents only a minority of fundraising revenue but is growing rapidly. Such sites, he says, should be used as part of a well thought out and well managed campaign.

Jacquier says that, fundamentally, fundraising is “about creating a relationship with donors, preferably a long term one. How much they give on any one occasion is not as important as introducing new potential donors to your cause and encouraging them to keep giving because of the quality of your communication, the worthiness of your cause, and their experience as a donor.”

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