Facebook’s online giving feature enables any registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to put a donation button on their page. It’s a nice gesture by Facebook, and on the surface it seems like a great way for any organization to get donations.
I’ve already written at some length about the size and power of the Facebook audience. The most recent numbers released by Facebook put their daily users at 1.28 billion. With a B. Of course, your organization will only reach a tiny fraction of that audience. The point is, simply, everybody and their mother is on Facebook. With some strategy and effort you’ll reach a fair number of them.
But there’s a problem. Actually, there are several problems.
Payouts (or disbursements) are only made every two weeks, and only then if you’ve received at least $100 in donations. If total donations are less than $100, funds roll over until reaching the $100 minimum threshold.
Plus, donations take two weeks to process. This means that, for example, donations made between the 1st and 15th days of the month most likely won’t be paid out until the first of the next month.
While it’s free to sign up and there are no monthly fees, Facebook charges a 5% transaction fee. According to Facebook:
Two percent goes to the costs of nonprofit vetting, fraud protection and payment support. The remaining 3% covers payment processing.
Compare that to the 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee with Givelify, and do some simple math:
While a small percentage difference doesn’t look bad on the surface, it can really start to add up. Granted, if the bulk of your fundraising is comprised of microdonations generally considered to be $200 or less, this isn’t as much of an issue. But if you’re in any way targeting higher dollar amount donors, the net result can be significant.
Limited Reporting Capabilities
Facebook provides two types of donation reports: Daily Transactions and Payouts. Daily Transactions reports include the amount donated, the donor’s name, and their email address if they’ve opted to disclose it.
This limited set of information is great for seeing how effective your campaigns are, but doesn’t necessarily give you data you could use to retarget donors. In other words, one-time donations are good, but being able to reach out and turn one-timers into sustained givers is better.
Daily Transaction reports are also delayed by 48 hours from when a donation actually occurs. Again, directly from Facebook:
For example, a donation made on January 1, 2017 will appear in a report available for download after January 3, 2017.
So in this case “daily” is a bit of a misnomer. Your donation data, while available to you every day, is not reflected in real time.
Can Places of Worship Use It?
In order to add the Facebook Donate online giving button to your page, you must sign up your organization for Facebook Payments. One of the conditions of being accepted for Facebook Payments for donations is the organization must be a registered 501(c)(3) with the Internal Revenue Service.
Churches and other places of worship are granted this tax-exempt status whether or not they’re officially registered. Therefore it’s unclear whether places of worship can utilize this platform. Facebook does not directly address this question in their documentation.
Your Online Giving Can Be Better
Your organization don’t have to settle for slow payouts, higher fees, and limited reporting. You can have a donate button on Facebook that integrates with all your electronic giving options. You can get your donations next-business-day, and your reports in real time.