Remember when you were a kid and wanted to go to Disneyworld for your birthday, but your parents were only able to afford a party in your backyard? It was a sweet thought, but not what you really wanted. That’s how I feel about facebook’s feeble attempts at philanthropic engagement into their platform.
Months ago, I signed onto a waiting list for Facebook for Nonprofits, and I’ve heard nothing since, nor have my peers at other organizations. Getting donations via the platform is impossible, the new algorithm reduced our audience by nearly 80%, and now to promote special events we are forced to pay for advertising. I understand the need for a profitable business model, but facebook is going about how they treat nonprofits the wrong way.
So imagine my joy (sarcasm) when I open my feed only to find DONATE TO THE RED CROSS TO FIGHT EBOLA at the top of my header. Sure, ebola is a global pandemic and we aren’t doing enough as individuals or as a country to combat this plague, but I question how and why and when facebook is choosing to use its platform for good, and why only such an elite few have the opportunity to be beneficiaries. Does facebook really thing that the Red Cross, International Medical Corps, and Save the Children are the only nonprofits in need of a voice?
I also question why facebook selected some of the most bureaucratic nonprofits out there – do they know that the Red Cross is under indictment about their use of donor funds for Superstorm Sandy and that very little unrestricted funds even make their way into direct ebola-fighting projects? By making their platform a portal for giving sporadically and only benefiting their clique of pre-selected orgs, the company is excluding thousands of organizations igniting change and solving global problems.
The Ice Bucket Challenge proved that for better or worse, facebook can be a platform to ignite social change. People want to be a part of a community, share philanthropy with their friends and family, so why is facebook making it hard for everyone?
I just can’t figure it out.