You can now donate things on Facebook

Facebook has introduced new features today that will make it easier for nonprofit organizations to raise funds for specific causes and receive general donations.

The feature, devoted to specific causes, works by allowing nonprofit organizations to raise funds through dedicated Pages on Facebook’s service. Users will be able to support the cause and “encourage friends on Facebook to join a fundraiser, share when they’ve donated and choose to get updates” from the organization. Nonprofits will presumably be able to raise funds for multiple causes at once.

The addition of this feature could make Facebook a central hub for nonprofits. The service can now be used to communicate with supporters, raise money, and take advantage of Facebook users’ social networks to get important causes in front of more people. (If I didn’t hate the “X for Y” construction so much I’d compare this new feature to a “Kickstarter for charities,” but I do so I won’t.)


The second feature isn’t as novel. Facebook tested a “donate” button with more than 20 nonprofit organizations in December 2013. That button could be added to the bottom of posts and stories, and now it’s back in the same form. “Including a Donate button on a post will give people an easy way to donate directly from News Feed,” Facebook product management VP Naomi Klein said.

Facebook will now let nonprofit organizations display a donate button on their pages, right underneath their profile picture. This will give them a “consistent place to collect donations, even as they update their Page’s content,” Klein said. It will also make it hard for anyone to claim that they looked at a group’s Facebook page but couldn’t figure out how they could make a donation to the organization.

The company said it’s working with groups like the World Wildlife Fund and National Multiple Sclerosis Society to test the new features, and plans to expand it to other United States-based 501c3 nonprofits in the future. It thanked 37 organizations, from Alzheimer’s Association to Wounded Warrior Project, for helping it “shape new ways to help people come together and make a difference.”