Back in March I spent the week helping the digital team of Open with the ACLU Stand For Rights telethon.
Before I logged into Facebook that night I hesitated. It was the first telethon held on Facebook Live. Tom Hanks was presenting. Everybody was excited. But I wasn’t convinced.
If there’s one thing my digital roles have taught me, it’s that when everyone else gets excited, you should get realistic. When everyone else is amazed, you should be critically evaluating whether or not this technological triumph / creative concept / viral video / hyperbolic headline is going to lower your cost-per-acquisition.
But after another few seconds, I gave into the impulse to open Facebook and this is what I saw:
My skepticism remained in-tact. Yes, 449 people had donated, but they had Alec Baldwin and Usher talking about a cause which could not be more topical.
It was entertaining and seeing other people’s donations and comments racking up was alluring, but I didn’t see how this was going to change the fundraising-game… until I hit the Donate button any my eyes bulged slightly, at this sight:
This was the entire donation process.
The effort required from a user (who albeit had given before on Facebook) was two thumb-taps.
Tap. Tap. Thanks for donating Adrian.
I stared at the Thank You screen for several minutes and arrived at the conclusion that this was going to reduce the cost of recruiting a new donor on Facebook by 50-80%. Why? Two reasons:
1) People don’t go “on Facebook” to leave Facebook
Every social campaign I’ve ever run has reminded of this infuriating truth. Facebook is a break from reality, a self-contained browsing experience. Even people who are engaged in a cause, don’t want to leave the social party to come hang out on a boring charity website. And that’s why conversion rates from Facebook are so low.
2) People let themselves off the hook if a donation process is complex
Giving your money to a charity isn’t like booking your holiday with Easyjet. If it’s a pain, you’ll just give up because there’s no carrot to motivate you. And better still, you can tell yourself you’re still a good person… at least you tried. Most charity donation forms involve over 100 thumb taps on mobile… by making the process 98% shorter, you can’t let yourself off the hook.
When I went back to Facebook Live and saw my name appearing beside the other donors. I was buzzing. It was so easy and yet, I felt like Tom and I were making a difference.
And then… I really got it.
This event made donating to charity a live and pleasant experience, which is what people in their twenties and thirties want. They don’t mind parting with cash, as long as there’s an experience and it involves them.
As a result, over $500,000 were donated in a few hours.
Forget SnapChat. Forget Twitter. Give some thought to how you can use the Facebook Donate Button. It already fundraised $6.8 million for other US charities on Giving Tuesday and now it’s here in the UK.
Digital Media Strategist