Nonprofits Bemoan Data Lock Behind Facebook’s Donate Button

Nonprofits Bemoan Data Lock Behind Facebook’s Donate Button

Many nonprofits are leery of using Facebook’s “donate” button, saying it doesn’t help them in their fundraising efforts, mainly because Facebook keeps a tight lock on the data of people donating, sharing only a name and amount, according to a report by Bloomberg.

For example, the University of North Carolina and its student newspaper, the Daily Tar Heel, went up against the Chronicle, the student newspaper from Duke University, in an annual fundraising challenge.

Chrissy Beck, the general manager of the Chronicle, said she applied to use the donate button on Facebook, and she thought that would help her get the edge in the competition. The approval process took so long that it was only available on the last day of the drive, and the Chronicle lost the competition. 

She also said that while donors give Facebook information about themselves, that data is not passed on to the organization.

“We want them to give next year, you know?” Beck said of the donors. “And in order to do that, we need to know who they are.”

Nonprofits want to have contact information about their donors, so they can contact them for future fundraisers and share information.

“Just like you hear in business where it costs less to keep a customer than get a new one, the same goes for donors to nonprofits,” said Rick Cohen, chief operating officer at the National Council of Nonprofits.

Some organizations, like Second Harvest, a food bank in San Jose, California, won’t use Facebook as a central part of fundraising activities for that very reason.

Cat Cvengros, the group’s vice president of development and marketing, said it’s impossible to build relationships with donors using Facebook.

“We look at Facebook’s donate button as one more tool in our tool box,” she added. “We can’t rely on it entirely.”

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