Facebook's donate button helps nonprofits -- and Facebook

The social network encourages giving with a new button, but it's not an entirely altruistic endeavor.

Jennifer Van Grove Former Senior Writer / News
Jennifer Van Grove covered the social beat for CNET. She loves Boo the dog, CrossFit, and eating vegan. Her jokes are often in poor taste, but her articles are not.
Jennifer Van Grove
2 min read

Facebook is making it easier for people to use the social network to make charitable contributions to nonprofits with a new donation feature.

The feature, rolling out to members Monday, lets people click a "Donate Now" button on a participating nonprofit's post that shows up in News Feed. The donate button is also available on a nonprofit's Facebook Page. For members who have previously made purchases through Facebook, the donation process amounts to just two clicks. Otherwise, would-be givers will have to enter their credit card information, which Facebook automatically keeps on hand for future purchases.

"In November 2013, in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, we partnered with the International Federation of Red Cross to let people donate directly to the Red Cross' relief efforts in the Philippines," Facebook said in a press release. "After seeing the generosity of people around the world toward this effort, we've been inspired to help everyone donate, at any time, to the organizations they care about most."

It's a touching sentiment and the donate option could certainly help rally people to give in times of crisis, but it's not an entirely altruistic move on Facebook's part. Should you choose to donate, you'll help Facebook build out its database of members with credit cards attached to their accounts.

Over the past year, the social network has pushed to get more people to hand over their payment info by charging for messages to people you don't know, attempting to little avail to sell gifts, and testing a pay-with-Facebook option.