Vessel of Charity: Facebook Raises Over $5 Billion Through Donation Tools

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Every coin has two sides. That is just the nature of how things are. And with a conduit like social media and its poster boy Facebook, in particular, the debate around the seeping misinformation prevalence and concerning threats have unfortunately taken more center stage lately.

However, now, Facebook has come up with a piece of feel-good news, shining light at the beautiful end of the spectrum.

In the latest announcement coming from Facebook, the social media giant has shared the accomplishment of a new milestone through its services.

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The Mark Zuckerberg-led company has reportedly helped people raised more than a whopping $5 billion in charitable donations through its “Fundraisers” program. According to the company’s data, the number has been achieved due to the kindness shown by more than 85 million people, primarily on Facebook and Instagram platforms.

Clearly, no matter the size of the donation, it is the will that is more important, as can be seen from the post where Zuckerberg has revealed that most of the donations made fell into the bracket less than $25.

The Fundraisers program, which began around 5 years ago, has apparently been going great guns. According to a post shared by Zuckerberg himself, the people have raised $2 billion through fundraising on its platform since February 2020 alone.

Nevertheless, the announcement is regaling from Facebook, which has taken the initiative to do its bit in helping lessen the financial burden in notable times.

The COVID-19 pandemic is perhaps the first which comes to mind given the current state of things. As disclosed by the California-based giant, people have raised more than $175 million for COVID-related fundraisers on Facebook and Instagram in the last year.

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Making ‘Humanitarian and Environmental’ causes a key focus for donors over the past 12 months, Facebook had also raised $50 Million for Australia Wildfire Relief efforts as reported in early 2020. Another example of the reach of the fundraising program can be gathered from the social media major’s raising of funds to protect the vulnerable elephants of East Africa.

Point is, Facebook has provided the means for basically anyone to set up a charity drive for a registered non-profit for their fulfilling their personal causes.

Launching the Fundraisers program back in 2016 on the back of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Facebook has kept on looking to enhance the functionalities of the program. Since the advent, Facebook has gone on to add birthday fundraisers, helped people donate to personal causes and small businesses, and then expanded these tools to Instagram.

The “Donate Now” button was added to its platform as far back as 2013. This past year, Facebook added new features for “Personal Causes” on Instagram too.

The release of these wide ranges of tools have all been geared at maximizing the non-profit organizations’ efforts on the platform. Facebook has also recently moved to add an option for users to create and share non-profit fundraisers directly within their IG feed in November last year.

The thing setting Facebook apart is also the fact that the platform allows people to donate to verified non-profits without leaving the confines of the app. No fees apart from the charge taken on personal fundraisers are levied, which makes the program all the more appealing, easy, and viable. Some accounts and pages can add fundraisers to live-streamed videos too.

For a comparison to be made in the same domain, crowdfunding site GoFundMe reached 120 million total donations in 2019, that after nearly a decade in operation. Even though individual donations went past 150 million, it was able to raise $9 billion worldwide in the 10-year span.

A subtle hint at how Facebook’s already imperious numbers can further themselves, looking at the ground they have covered in only 5 years.

The fundraising numbers also follow a string of announcements from Facebook to clean-up its platform. Closely spaced in recent weeks, Facebook has quickly moved to combat misinformation, fake accounts, shore up security on its iOS app, and check the proliferation of hate speech by introducing changes to its Groups feature.

Redeeming act or not, the announcement on Facebook’s part also serves as a reminder as to the positive reinforcing capacity of the social network. Timely, given the nefarious status that it has had to endure in recent times.

 Long may such benevolent efforts continue, we say!

Stay tuned for more such updates.

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