Why Facebook Donate matters

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

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:


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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

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage…

Monday, August 22nd, 2016


The 5th annual fundraising ideas-sharing showcase ‘I Wish I’d Thought Of That’, will be held on Wednesday 30th November and three speaker slots are up for grabs!


‘I Want To Talk At That’ is a competition giving young, up-and- coming fundraisers the opportunity to speak at the event, and this year we have a brand new website – where you can find out more about the process, hear from last year’s winner, and apply.


Applicants must submit a 7-minute video of themselves, talking about the fundraising idea they wish they had thought of. It sounds like a fair bit of work, but the potential rewards are hugely exciting! 


Each of the three winners will be paired with a well-known fundraising mentor (Ken Burnett, Kath Abrahams, or Andy Harris), who will help prepare them to present at IWITOT in November, to 250 industry attendees eager for inspiration. Previous audition winners have all been fantastic, and it’s a brilliant chance to show the best minds of our industry exactly what you’re about. There’s a lot of talent out there, and we want to encourage it.


Check out the IWTTAT website here: www.IWTTAT.org. The closing date for entries is 9th Sept.


Good luck!



Now that’s what I call fundraising

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016


We all know that good ideas can come from anywhere. But so often the ideas that really take hold and capture the imagination are those created by the public themselves (see Ice Bucket Challenge and No Make-up Selfie). Those created through a genuine desire to do something or change something, based on nothing more than personal experience.


That brings me to Mac McDermott who, two months ago, decided to raise £1,000 for Alzheimer’s Society. You can read his story in more detail here, but essentially he was struggling to cope with his father’s worsening Alzheimer’s disease, so called the Alzheimer’s Society Helpline for support. They were great, and he wanted to say thank you by raising some money.


But for Mac and his dad there wasn’t a bake sale or sponsored race in sight.


You see, Mac’s dad used to be a Butlin’s Red Coat. And he sang in a few clubs in his younger years too. And when he sings, his Alzheimer’s is less bad, he’s less violent and Mac gets to see the dad he used to know a little bit more. So taking his queue from the ever popular Carpool Karaoke, Mac has taken to driving his dad around, letting him belt out all of his old favourites to be shared online, to help him reach his £1,000 target.


And Mac’s dad isn’t half bad at singing. The internet is loving it, and his original target, as I write this, has been smashed thousands of times over.


A simple idea. Engaging content. A powerful story. That’s what I call fundraising.