Don’t shoot the platform – why charities are wrong about Facebook

Research presented to the International Fundraising Conference today suggests charities are not finding Facebook very useful when it comes to fundraising.

According to Third Sector Magazine, Roland Csaki, from the WWF International’s fundraising development department said one of the problems was the lack of an inbuilt payment method on Facebook. This meant charities had to take people to another web page, such as their own website, to get donations.

“Just having a big Facebook fan base means nothing,” he said. ‘You have to build a strategy to drive them to your site.”

But here’s the thing – there’s not really an inbuilt method of anything on Facebook. That’s not the point.

Do It Yourself

Facebook’s success is based on the fact that it is a pretty neutral platform. It doesn’t do much itself, but it allows other people to do great stuff with it.

Stuff like (sorry Roland) JustGiving’s Facebook app that allows people to donate on a Facebook page without going off to your site. Not to mention all the fun stuff you can do using iFrames.

In fact, if you want Facebook to do something – do it yourself.

It’s not Facebook’s job to make it work as a fundraising tool – it’s our job.

Businesses are making money on Facebook – if charities aren’t its because they are staring at it and saying: “go and make me some money” rather than being imaginative in the way they use it or the applications they develop for it.

Don’t shoot the platform – if Facebook isn’t doing what you need it to, make it do it. If there isn’t an app for that, commission one, or get together to collectively commission one.

Facebook is what you want it to be, and what you make it. If those of us in the charity sector can’t make something of it – it’s not Facebook, its us.

  1. Hi John

    Facebook is indeed a very powerful social media site, however last year I noticed that my reach had gone down drastically and only by using Facebook paid advertising have I been able to reach more people.

    What are your views on that?


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