The Facebook Fundraising Revolution

This week Facebook announced that over $1 billion has been donated through their fundraising platform…an impressive figure considering it’s only been gradually rolled out to 20 countries over the last 3 years. The figure will continue to grow exponentially as they’ve just added the likes of Australian and Canadian non-profits…with more to come.

With more plans ahead – such as a bigger emphasis on matched giving – this is the first big fundraising revolution we’ve had since…what? Maybe the internet?

A lot of fundraising products and large-necked men at conferences have promised ‘the next big thing’…but these always fall flat.

So why is Facebook Fundraising different?

Firstly, they have an audience. When tech bros set up a new charitable giving website or fundraising system or shopping add-on or whatever, they usually have a product and no audience. You’re still relying on a charity to find and ask interested supporters. If you don’t have that audience or you have an ask you’d much rather put in front of them (like a good ‘ol fashioned donation) then the fancy bit of fundraising tech gets lost.

Not only do they have an audience, but they have your credit card details.

Secondly, they ask. Fundraising only works when you actually ask. And Facebook has gone ahead and asked your followers…their users…if they want to set up a fundraiser for you, if they want to donate their birthday, if they want to complete that donation they abandoned, and if they want to support their friends. They’re doing the asking that you might not have gotten round to.

It’s only going to get better…the U.S. will see a huge chunk of Paypal money going towards matched giving this #GivingTuesday. It’ll encourage more people to give and encourage them to give more. No doubt in the future we’ll see more companies latch on to this matched giving through Facebook, and might even see it integrate nicely with company’s Facebook advertising.

It’s all wonderful, isn’t is? Sha la la la.

Well…not entirely.

Yes there’s still a few teething problems in terms of how data is being collected, how non-profits can access that data and really just how the whole thing works. But these will get better of course.

We might also be concerned that it’s Facebook…remember that whole Cambridge Analytica thing? And remember how Facebook pretty much collectively lowered the happiness levels of our whole society through a never ending thirst for dopamine while we present an edited version of our miserable lives?

It’s their data…isn’t it? And while some non-profits (check out my podcast below, for example) have been good at thanking donors and moving them off Facebook in to their own arms, we still leave ourselves vulnerable when they ‘own’ the supporters and the data that goes with them.

And finally…is this going to clog up Facebook even more? I mean…the quality of posts is rapidly declining already…are more and more fundraisers and asks without thanking going to speed up the death of Facebook? Let’s see.


It’s definitely a positive right now.

If your non-profit isn’t using Facebook Fundraisers then get on it now. Capitalise on a successful platform while you can and build the relationships you can while it lasts.

If you need help then please let me know, and do listen to my podcast below to hear how Jill and I have made it work so well.


In the latest podcast, Simon talks to Jill O’Herlihy about Facebook Fundraising and how Mental Health Ireland have made it work for them. Hear about Facebook’s big announcement this week, the good and bad things about Facebook Fundraising, and what the future holds for FB and Instagram and matched giving.

Listen and subscribe on spotify here.

#008 Stephen George’s Purpose

Simon is joined by the infamous Stephen George, chatting through his career learnings…including Good Leaders, finding your purpose, the NSPCC’s Full Stop campaign, launching legacies, The Spastic Society rebrand, and those IFC Gala outfits.

What’s the ROI of #DonorLove?

I’m just back from an amazing IFC in Holland where I co-delivered a #DonorLove masterclass. We worked through the Agent of Good Donor Love Principles and showed how it oozes in to all things fundraising: DM and telephone and on-line and face-to-face and corporate and more. Attendees started constructing their new Donor Journeys.

And someone asked, “How do you measure the ROI of Donor Love?”

How do you put a value on the thank you calls and birthday cards and gratitude reports and stories and questions and feelings and…well…love?

I guess there’s 2 ways to answer the question:


1. With The Head

You measure it…and you test it.

But you do it as a whole.

Your thank you letter might not be profitable if you look at it by itself (although a good thank you letter probably will be). But the donors who receive it will give your next appeal a better response rate.

So if you need to prove the power of Donor Love to your Board, your boss or yourself then split your database in half.

Carry on ticking the boxes with one half. Send them receipts and mail merges and the same old stuff.

Then gush over the other half. Thank and report…continually. Ask them why they support you. Invite them in for a cup of tea. Check in with them by phone. Send a handwritten card. Surprise and delight them.

A year (or more later) compare the two groups…see if the time and money it costs you to make people feel special means that they stick around and step up to help you succeed. In the meantime, look at the fundraisers that have already implemented this stuff and you’ll see it’s worked.


2. With The Heart

Of course it works.

You can hear it down the phone when people smile. You can see it in the handwritten notes your supporters send you back. You can taste it in the chocolate biscuit cake that fundraiser dropped in to your office.

And you can feel it.

You can feel it because it feels good to delight people.

Fundraising is a hard job. And one of the ways it we make it less hard is by making people happy…by surprising them…by making them feel special. Because it feels good to make people feel good.

And isn’t that the purpose of your organisation?

Sure it has a specific mission…a vision…all that jazz. No matter what problem you are trying to solve – hunger, disease, injustice – making people feel better is at the heart of your organisation.