Facebook fundraising apps – a brief review


There’s been a lot of interest in my post about the growth in users of the Justgiving Facebook app last week, so I thought it might be useful to provide a brief review of what other fundraising apps are currently available – to help give a broader picture of how fundraisers are starting to use this new online platform:

Causes (2,973,966 users at the time of writing)
The most popular fundraising and campaigning app by a massive margin, Causes from Project Agape is currently the 18th most popular app of any on Facebook. It enables you to choose from over a million registered 501(c)(3) US organisations, add their logo to your profile and then make donations and recruit others to your chosen cause – with the total raised and recruited being displayed within the app. Apparently they’re working on being able to add non-US based organisations, but no joy as yet. However, this certainly isn’t stopping non-US Facebook users from getting involved and raising funds – it’s just a bit frustrating for non-US fundraisers who would love to add their organisations to the list.

(UPDATE: one year on from the launch of Causes read the 12 month user statistics here.)

Change.org (6,126 users)
Developed by Change.org, the US-based social network for social activism, this app enables user to “get involved with over 1 million nonprofits and hundreds of political campaigns”. However, like Causes, as far as I can tell all organisations involved are currently US-based.

Justgiving (5,101 users)
One for UK fundraisers. From Justgiving.com, the leading company in the UK enabling individuals and groups to create individual fundraising pages and collect donations for sponsored events. Their app links an individual’s Justgiving fundraising page to their profile and adds a ‘dynamic progress bar’ to show how their fundraising is going.

Chipin (3,307 users)
An app from the creators of chipin.com, a website which enables individuals or groups to create personal fundraising webpages or post fundraising widgets to their website, blog, or MySpace pages.

The NSPCC (588 users)
From the UK’s largest children’s charity the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, this app enables you to find-out about events as well as make a donation through a link to the charity’s secure online donation page.

UNICEF UK (490 users)
This places a button on your profile displaying the UNICEF ‘Born Free from HIV campaign logo which links-through to the UNICEF campaign donation webpage. There’s also a link to the UNICEF Darfur Emergency Appeal Facebook Group. Functionality exists to select alternative campaigns, but none seem to have been added as yet.

Sponsor me (286 users)
Supporting credit/debit card and PayPal donations, ‘Sponsor me’ is described as “A great new way to collect or send money for any purpose. Anyone can donate money by sponsoring you, show off their support for campaign or simply leave a message”. It just launched at the start of August and has 286 users so far.

So, there you have it. In the short time since Facebook opened-up and allowed 3rd parties to develop apps it’s great to see that fundraisers have begun to investigate how they might capitalise on this new opportunity to reach audiences online.

What remains to be seen is just how effective different types of fundraising apps will be for actually generating significant amounts of income for individual organisations. Those apps which essentially extend the reach of event-based fundraising, like Justgiving, certainly have the potential to contribute to the raising of significant sums. However, the pure income value of a listing within an app like Causes seems less clear to me.

This question was raised back in early June by Erin Teeling in a post about Causes on the Bivings Report blog, where she highlighted the fact that despite membership for several causes being very high the amounts raised were actually very low. At that time, for the 225 causes she reviewed the average raised was just $0.05 per member. Which is fine if you see Facebook as an online small change collection tin – but I’d hope that it offers far more potential than that.

Only time – and testing – will tell how best the new opportunities available to nonprofits for raising awareness and engaging with Facebook users can best be translated into hard cash. If any readers are already enjoying real fundraising success through a Facebook app and are willing to share their learnings, or if you spot any other great apps – then do let me know.

<Update – you can see how the new Facebook ‘User Engagement’ approach to app measurement changes the way these fundraising apps are ranked in this post>


6 thoughts on “Facebook fundraising apps – a brief review

  1. I hope someone with your authority and influence will use the opportunity to pressure Project Agape into opening up their application to raising funds for UK causes with urgency.

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