Cue the bells, throw the confetti, ring the alarms!
Facebook announced that for GivingTuesday this year (December 3) it will be matching up to $7 million USD in donations made on the platform that day.
If you aren’t familiar with GivingTuesday, it’s a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world.
Here’s the fine print:
The match for GivingTuesday 2019 begins at 8 AM Eastern Time on December 3.
Donations are matched dollar for dollar on a first-come, first-served basis until the funds are spent.
Any US-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit eligible to receive donations on Facebook can be matched.
Facebook will match up to a total of $100,000 per nonprofit organization.
Each donor can have up to $20,000 in eligible donations matched on GivingTuesday.
Facebook will cover processing fees.
You may be saying to yourself – this seems fantastic!
Let’s shout it to the rooftops! BUT WAIT.
Before you start celebrating, this is what nonprofits REALLY, truly need to know (and understand) about the Facebook match.
First of all – I wouldn’t get too excited. I hate to rain on anyone’s parade, but let’s be real.
7 million dollars is a drop in the bucket for Facebook, and it’s what they matched last year.
Despite the devastating media coverage and revelations of late, Zuck and company have made no new efforts to make the platform a more hospitable, charitable place.
Here are just two ideas:
1) Give nonprofits an ad credit (like Google Grants) so that they can compete in the pay-to-play world of algorithms and fake news.
2) Match even MORE money on GivingTuesday, or throughout the entire month of December, with a smaller limit per nonprofit – so that more organizations can get a piece of the pie and participate in the excitement.
While it’s definitely helpful that Facebook is attempting to draw attention to the spirit of philanthropy and giving back, every year this match makes nonprofits froth at the mouth and go into an absolutely hysterical tizzy.
I’ve seen posts on social media from well-meaning but misguided nonprofits promising their donors that if they give on GivingTuesday, their gifts will be matched by Facebook dollar-for-dollar.
This makes me sad, because last year, the match was gone in 7 seconds.
Fast Company reported that the funds became available at 8:00 AM Eastern, and were gone within “a matter of seconds,” according to a Facebook spokesperson.
At 9:05 Eastern, the company issued an update (“Wow, that was fast!…”) confirming the deal was over.
And it’s not the first time that this has happened.
In 2017, as The NonProfit Times reports: “Facebook matched $2 million in gifts with the help of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which reached its limit by 8:30 a.m. on #GivingTuesday.”
I encourage all of you, my readers, my clients, my friends – NOT to focus on the Facebook match this GivingTuesday.
Focus on thanking your donors.
Focus on bringing new supporters into the fold.
Focus on talking up the importance of civic engagement, the vital role that nonprofits play in our society, the amazing volunteers that make your work possible.
And please – don’t tell your donors that their donations will definitely be matched by Facebook.