The Donate Button

Late last year, Facebook announced that it was making available a “donate” button to selected charities for their Facebook pages. The American Red Cross apparently had recent considerable success with this unique fundraising idea, although neither they nor Facebook will be specific as to how much has been raised with this tool. Clever as the “button” idea is, it’s a bit too reminiscent of the proverbial silver bullet that so many nonprofits seek.

With the urgency that many nonprofits feel to raise funds, placing a hyperlinked button on your organization’s Facebook page seems to offer the solution. Does it?  Definitely not.  Certainly such a technique will raise charitable dollars at certain times and for certain projects or causes.  These are one-up, however.

They’re driven by an immediate emotive reaction-like the disaster the Red Cross often responds to. Needing one-up funds is not the place where most nonprofits live, day to day.  Although many have been convinced there’s not a better way. Far too many worthy charities are lured with the one-time, effortless “quick fix” to meet their very real need of ongoing, sustainable funding to fulfill a long-term mission.

The unique fundraising idea here is to reject the temptation to push the button.  Instead take the time and expend the effort to do what donors will reward you for handsomely, again and again.  Treat them as people with their own needs and desires. Principle 6 of The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising® is Divide and Grow™.  Focus on this rather than asking them to push your button and you’ll see the results.

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