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Why Facebook’s New ‘Donate’ Feature Isn’t All That Charitable

...for nothing.

…for nothing.

Earlier this month The Big Blue Monster made some changes destined to annoy everyone who organizes a charity or works with nonprofit clients by making it harder for fans to see unpaid posts. This week the company followed that move with the announcement of its new “donate button” feature, which seems generous on its face but probably won’t minimize the backlash.

Why? It’s a classic case of “If a tree falls in the forest…”

The basic issue is that most charities don’t have the money to pay for sponsored posts, which seriously limits the number of people who will see their donate buttons.

While it’s good to know that Facebook won’t be giving users’ email addresses to the charities that accept their donations, the company will be adding those users—and their credit card info—to yet another database. It’s for research purposes and revenue, of course.

Here’s the first example of the new feature via the American Cancer Society:

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 10.18.47 AM

Easy peasy. But as we all know, the ACS is a well-funded organization that can certainly afford a sponsored post or two. It’s going to be tougher for smaller orgs to make use of this feature without putting it on every post, a move bound to annoy all but the most dedicated fans.

What do we think: will this change help or hinder nonprofits in the long run? And will it be enough to beat back the news feed change backlash?

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