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Facebook, PayPal put bigger focus on mobile donations

Nonprofits’ mobile giving programs could get a boost as both Facebook and PayPal roll out new programs that make it easier for on-the-go millennials to donate to a charity.

Facebook’s program enables individual users to set up fundraisers and share with friends, who can donate without leaving the social platform. At the same time, PayPal has added a donate button to its application for the first time.


“This is a major milestone for nonprofits who formerly could not tie their viral campaigns to immediate, one-click donations,” said Chris Merkle, founder of Razur Agency. “So many nonprofits have viral videos and imagery that garner millions of impressions, but unless a user were to go to another Web site, register and enter their credit card information – there is no true benefit outside of brand awareness for that nonprofit.

“Facebook will make this experience much easier and nonprofits should see a increase in donations originating from the social network,” he said.

Evolving constituencies
Charities are looking for ways to engage millennial consumers, who are active on mobile and may not be as receptive to nonprofit sector’s traditional fundraising methods, such as direct mail.

The Facebook program is rolling out to a small number of users in the United States, who will be able to choose from 100 nonprofits that they can create fundraising campaigns for, according to a report on Fortune. Nonprofits could benefit as users may by more likely to give to causes their friends support and have a positive response when the pitch comes from someone they know rather than from the nonprofit.

Facebook has made previous attempts to be a charitable giving destination, including launching fundraiser pages for nonprofits last fall.

In the latest push, users can now set up their own campaigns for nonprofits the same way they would set up a group or an event. Fundraiser pages can be personalized with photos, text and goal while enabling users to invite friends to donate. Donations can be made directly via donate button for those who registered with Facebook.

To ensure that users do not get overwhelmed with donation requests, they will only see donation requests from friends.

On-the-go donations
The new capabilities are being made available to 1 percent of U.S. Facebook users while users across 39 countries will be able to donate.

Facebook will take a 5 percent cut of all donations that come through fundraising pages.

PayPal has updated it mobile app to include the ability to start a charitable donation to any of thousands of certified charities from within the app experience. All donations are delivered through the PayPal Giving Fund, with 100 percent of users’ contributions reaching the charity.

“Challenges will still exist for nonprofits when trying to capture the attention of someone on mobile,” Mr. Merkle said. “While retailers hope to reach the impulse buyer, nonprofits much work in the same way to attract impulse donations.

“Nonprofits will have to create such a simplistic donation experience that they can have someone click to donate securely while watching one of their videos or sharing their videos,” he said. “Such simplicity is a challenge for many nonprofits as technology is not the core of their business.”