In the wake of a record-breaking Facebook fundraiser that saw more than $20M donated to an immigration charity, the social network announced new updates and changes to its donation and fundraising platform Monday.
From USA Today: “Facebook will begin allowing users to automatically make recurring monthly donations to nonprofit organizations when they make a donation or use the donate button. Additionally, Pages — entities like businesses or public figures — will also be allowed to donate directly to nonprofit fundraisers…Facebook Fundraising, which was launched last year, creates a platform for both personal fundraisers and nonprofit fundraisers. More than 750,000 nonprofits have applied and registered to collect donations through Facebook, and donation fees were waived last fall for nonprofits.”
With churches being classified as non-profits, this means online giving and tithing could be viable through Facebook without the fees associated with current online giving providers. Whether or not this development is the key that unlocks the giving potential of younger church goers remains to be seen, obviously.
However, there are plenty of immediate benefits here for churches. The biggest is that it opens up another avenue of online giving—an avenue that nearly 80% of your church goers frequent on a daily basis. Multiple times a day, even.
Another benefit will be a likely tweak to Facebook’s algorithm that will show more content to users from pages to which they have made donations. Facebook will want that to be a strong connection, so they will likely reward that with content geared to do so. That means your church’s content is likely to increase its organic reach.
Even with the benefits stated, there are some concerns. While all that’s needed currently to get started with donations on Facebook are proof of 501c3 status and a simple application, the main concern is how Facebook will determine who gets to use the platform for donations. Will Christian organization be subject to “hate speech” labels and lose donation capabilities? Will teaching on biblical sexuality cause your church to be denied? We don’t know the answers to those questions yet.
Until we cross those bridges, I encourage you and your church to get your application in so that if you want to turn on Facebook donations, you have the ability to do so. Who knows? Maybe Facebook tithing could be in your church’s future.