Facebook plans UK launch of updated 'donate' tool

According to the social media giant, it will allow users to donate directly to charities without leaving the Facebook site

Facebook: donations without leaving its page
Facebook: donations without leaving its page

The social media giant Facebook is planning to launch a new tool that will allow people in the UK to donate directly to charities without leaving its website.

Speaking at a media event yesterday, Katherine Woo, product lead for social good at Facebook, said that it planned to bring a new version of its "donate" button to the UK, but was unable to say exactly when this would happen.

In May 2015, Facebook tested the system in the US during an appeal for victims of the Nepal earthquake and raised $15.2m (£10.3m) from Facebook users. Since November, it has been working with about 40 not-for-profit organisations in the US, including the conservation charity WWF and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, to further test the concept. The online tool also allows charities to track their progress towards their fundraising targets.

Facebook already has a donate button that registered charities in the UK can add to their Facebook pages. But under the existing system, users are directed to the charity’s website in order to make donations. The latest tool will allow members to donate directly through Facebook without leaving the website.

Woo said the global fundraising phenomenon the ice-bucket challenge had led to the creation of the tool because Facebook users were having to leave its website to make donations. "We thought we could create a better online user experience," she said.

Woo told Third Sector it was not currently charging charities a fee to use the service. She said: "We have created a simple donation form. People just have to select how they want to pay and how much they want to pay."

The service could pose a challenge to online giving platforms such as JustGiving, which charge charities fees on donations. More than £2.3bn has been raised for charities worldwide through JustGiving’s online donation platforms since 2001. Charities pay a 5 per cent fee on donations and a monthly subscription charge of £15 to use its service.

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