Social Media Fundraising Pros & Cons

Social media has grown exponentially since Facebook’s inception in 2004 and has been used for a lot of good, and not so good, in the world. Between keeping up with the different social media platforms and choosing a fundraising platform, it can be overwhelming. So when the worlds of social media and fundraising collide, how do you know what is right for your nonprofit?

Pros of Social Media Fundraising

  • Organic social posts are free
  • Some platforms like Facebook and Instagram have donation tools and stickers embedded into their sites
  • You can reach a wider audience by encouraging followers to like and share
  • Your supporters can raise funds on your behalf without your help

Cons of Social Media Fundraising

  • Your supporters can raise funds on your behalf and you could not know about it
  • The algorithms are always changing, affecting engagement and donation rates
  • If you use a platform like Facebook Donations or PayPal Giving Fund, you might not get your donor data
  • The donations can be held for long periods of time (45-75+ days)
  • The platforms could potentially withhold your donations and/or give it to a different charity
  • There’s no customer service phone number if you need help; just a form
  • You must be a 501(c)3 – yup that means all the other good organizations out there that aren’t (c)3 status (looking at you Knights of Columbus, Shriners, etc.) can’t get their money

So Which Social Platform Is Best?

Overall, social media is a great way to raise awareness and funds for your nonprofit! You just have to be careful about which platforms your nonprofit uses and take the time to educate your donors on which sites you prefer donations from.

Meta/Facebook/Instagram

Last year Meta did a reassessment of all nonprofits on their platforms and sent a notification about requiring everyone to update information and resend paperwork. However, many nonprofits missed or didn’t get any notification, and now any money that they raised is being held hostage.  In addition to this double work, if a NPO doesn’t register for Facebook Payments, all of the donations are sent to Network for Good who does the “heavy lifting” of taking your donation money and investing it for 3+ months while they verify your charity. Network for Good then sends a check to your nonprofit 45-75 days later and you do not get any donor information or data. If you do sign up for Facebook Payments and get approved, you will receive basic donor information (name, amount, & email) but no custom information or even location! Instead, Meta is taking that data and using it to help target the paid ads on their platform. So what you get is a one-time “free” of fees donation but Meta gets to use your donor data and the data they collect from them on other platforms to make more money.

PayPal Giving Fund

PayPal is one of the biggest payment processors in the world and has integrations with all sorts of other platforms from GoFundMe, eBay, Airbnb, and more. It’s a simple and straightforward tool many nonprofits use with reasonable fees. The PayPal Giving Fund, however, is a separate 501(c)3 nonprofit that claims all transaction fees will be covered. But that’s where the good news ends. In the fine print, PayPal Giving Fund is the charity on record for all donations and donors can “recommend” what nonprofit to “grant” their money to, but if the nonprofit is not registered with PayPal, they don’t have to give that money to them. Instead, they can grant it to a similar NPO as they see fit. Like Facebook, there is a multistep process to get your nonprofit verified with PayPal Giving Fund and the organization has been sued in a class action lawsuit. Instead of notifying charities that they have money being held, the PayPal Giving Fund invested the money for their benefit and forced nonprofits to open business accounts with fees to claim the money.

TikTok

TikTok has also jumped onto the fundraising train with “donation stickers” that allow in-app donations. However, this feature is only limited to a few national nonprofits at this time. There is no update on when smaller nonprofits will be added.

GoFundMe

As previously mentioned GoFundMe is partnered with PayPal Giving Fund, but they also take a transaction fee “automatically deducted from each donation, so you never have to worry about paying a bill.” Nonprofits must also complete rounds and rounds of submitting documentation within 30 days of the fundraiser receiving its first donation otherwise your donations could be put “on hold.”

LinkedIn

Who knew that LinkedIn hopped on the fundraising train? But don’t fret – we don’t think this is appropriate for most nonprofits. The LinkedIn “fundraising” page constantly talks about a “sales navigator” which rubs us the wrong way because that means LinkedIn is not tailoring its products to what a nonprofit actually needs. If all of this has left you wondering which social platform will actually release your donations, we have a solution for you! UncommonGood is a one-stop shop for all your fundraising needs. As a nonprofit, you can create a custom fundraiser and share the link on social media, reaping the benefits of social media without having to worry about funds being held hostage. You can also give the power to your supporters and let them create peer-to-peer campaigns using our secure platform to share via social media, email, and text! In addition to bringing fundraising back under your control, UncommonGood offers nonprofits marketing and design tools, a donor database, and operational tools to keep things running smoothly!

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