Trouble with Facebook

Have you ever used the Causes application and found that it didn’t work?  I have been really disappointed with Facebook as a donor tool.  I had really high hopes when I first started using it and have been disappointed in how poorly it has performed.  I think that we are in a very exciting time where the every day person can start to make a huge difference by asking their network to support issues they believe in.  However it seems that Facebook has so many different and arguably useless applications that people have stopped networking that way.  Is this a problem that you have experienced as well?

In terms of applications that use viral community I have found the Network for Good widget more successful, LinkedIn, or even Ning.  There is a new widget out there that pulls together a number of other online widgets connected to volunteering & activism run by Social Actions (read more about their work).

Currently the most successful way that I have seen online fundraising happen is through businesses that provide an online peer-to-peer model that has partnership applications through Facebook.  Often these organizations have badges or giving pages that can integrate with multiple media outlets and can stand alone. I think that online widgets are a really interesting and upcoming fundraising tool but they do not seem to be all that successful as of yet.

What has your experience been with widgets?  Have you used the Facebook cause application successfully?

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10 Responses to Trouble with Facebook

  1. Joe Solomon says:

    Hey Jason – Thanks for the shout out about the Twitter application that integrates with Facebook (https://twitterfeed.com/socialactions) — I think there’s a lot of potential for Facebook for fund raising. I was a huge fan of the Razoo application (http://apps.facebook.com/speedgranting/) and Virgance’s (http://virgance.com/projects.html) upcoming applications look very promising. Causes is a great tool – although it is just a tool (like Chipin) that has to be used correctly for successful fund raising – unfortunately, it seems, a lot of people think it will work out-of-the-box and don’t treat it as something that requires more care and community building.

  2. Hi Jason,

    Yes, I’ve played with causes on Facebook and in talking with colleagues and organizations who use Facebook as part of their social networking strategies, I think I’ve drawn a conclusion. Facebook, My Space etc….is where people go to network…your website is where they go to give. I was the top donor on a Facebook group for a long, long time. The group had over 2500 member but I was top at $25.

    Network for Good an other sites like Kiva really have enhanced name recognition and empower a project or badge owner to follow up in a different way. I’m looking forward to seeing other coments on this posting.

  3. […] A Small Change… Trouble with Facebook Jason Dick inquires about readers’ successes and failures with the Facebook Causes […]

  4. Conor Byrne says:

    Interesting, I only posted about this the other day, I agree with Sarah, I am not convinced giving on facebook is going to be as big as we hoped;

  5. Chris D. says:

    You’re not the only one frustrated with Facebook, from the sounds of it conversions on ads and widgets are abysmally low. At first I’d blame the demographic saying it’s a college age (18 to 24 yo) site, but that’s not necessarily true–a huge chunk are 35+.

    I think Sarah H. is right, it’s how people interact with the site. I know I install very few widgets, join almost no groups and I couldn’t even tell you where the ads were placed. I go there to look at friend’s pictures and that’s about it. Obviously, I’m not the type of user advertisers/fundraisers love. :-)

    If you figure out the secret to Facebook, you can run seminars and become rich…

  6. John Haydon says:

    Jason,

    Funny that you mention this. Seth Godin, during the Newtork For Good call a couple of months ago said he’d never seen anyone get a lot of results from Facebook.

    John

  7. I humbly beg to differ. My organization has raised over $93,000 using Causes on Facebook and we’ve barely broken a sweat doing it. Additionally, we’re just shy of 40,000 members and therefore have one of the highest $:member ratio on Causes.

    We’ve found a high-ROI model for Facebook fundraising that I’ve examined and explained in a case study on Slideshare.

    Our strategy has been to partner with application developers to donate a share of their advertising revenue rather than spend all of your time recruiting and chasing $5 and $10 gifts. This results in large, regular gifts and also helps generate new recruits from the users of those apps. It also helps out the application developers as people have incentive for using their apps (helping a good cause). It’s “win-win”, and I think just about any nonprofit could follow in our footsteps and do the same.

    If you’d like to know more, then you can view our donations on Facebook (note that the top five donors are application developers) and check out Beth Kanter’s write-up from a few months ago.

    I think that this new model for fundraising offers nonprofits the ability to raise more funds more quickly with less work. :)

  8. […] Small Change: Trouble with Facebook – Jason Dick posts about the challenges and frustration with fundraising on […]

  9. […] Small Change: Trouble with Facebook – Jason Dick posts about the challenges and frustration with fundraising on […]

  10. […] have to say because it brings so much more wisdom to the table. A while back a reader commented on, Trouble with Facebook, mentioning that Lil Green Patch has had incredible success with this social networking site. Susan […]

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