Home >Mint-lounge >Features >Facebook’s new tools for non-profits indicate a Kickstarter rival in the making

New Delhi: Facebook has launched two new fundraising tools for non-profit organizations on the social network. Loosely referred to as ‘tools for non profits’, these experimental features are now being rolled out to some non-profits in the US and will be made available globally early next year.

Non-profits will now be able to start specific fundraisers on their Facebook Pages, showing details of the campaign, such as how much money they need to raise, how much they have already received, the deadline and the number of people who have contributed.

The idea is to track progress with greater transparency.

The second tool is the enhanced ‘Donate Now’ button, which will now be available along with individual posts that show up on Facebook users’ timelines, as well as on dedicated pages. Now donations can be made by users directly by clicking the Donate Now button on their newsfeed, through PayPal and credit or debit cards.

Facebook revealed its plans to allow non-profits to raise funds on the platform, when it first announced the Donate Now button in December 2013. Till now, this was limited to the Facebook pages of the organizations. At the moment, Facebook is testing these new tools with 37 non-profits, including Mercy Corps, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and World Wildlife Fund.

“Today we’re testing fundraisers—a new tool—and improving our Donate Now button, to allow people to donate to charities without leaving Facebook. We hope these features help nonprofits reach new supporters, engage their community and get the valuable funding they need to continue their good work," Naomi Gleit, vice-president, product management, Facebook, said in an official statement.

However, these new tools do raise an interesting comparison. If you look closely, they are very similar to what crowdsourcing platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer. All the ingredients are there—you get a campaign page, videos and photos to show off the project or cause, you can set a funding goal and a deadline, allow people to contribute and keep the followers constantly updated with the progress of the funding and the project in general. While Kickstarter and Indiegogo are used by start-ups for getting funds for new projects or products, Facebook is doing the same with non-profits.

In fact, if we take the word “non-profits" out of Facebook’s new tools for a moment, it will seem like a Kickstarter rival taking shape. Just to refresh your memory, Facebook launched the “Buy" button on the social network site a year after the Donate Now button was first added on pages.

Eventually, Facebook will want to retain the user and allow transactions through its platform -- with discovery and payment all available in one click, it makes perfect sense for Facebook to drive in payment information too.

This ties in with the sort of mission Facebook is embarking on—to bring the world wide web to the user within the Facebook app. Instant Articles is one example of that, which does away with the need for users to visit another app to get the latest news and features from their favourite publishers.

And the massive user base is something that is worth its weight in gold.

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