As Americans grapple with the new normal amidst the outbreak of COVID-19, faith leaders are faced with difficult decisions about how to continue worship. More and more states are prohibiting large gatherings of people, including churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. The need for virtual worship with live stream, and the ability to collect donations online for free has never been a more pressing matter for faith communities, but fortunately there is a totally free option that is easy to use that can achieve both: Facebook Live.
With Facebook, you can not only live stream, but also add a “Donation” button on your page’s profile OR on your Facebook Live video stream. Of all the online platforms we’ve come across, Facebook is the only one that doesn’t charge any fees for donations. Here the steps you can take to ensure that your Facebook page is set up properly as a non-profit, and how to use the basic capabilities of Facebook Live:
1: Create a Facebook Page for Your Faith Community
1. Go to facebook.com/pages/create.
2. Give your page a title (Organization Name)
3. Select ‘Community or Public Figure’ as your Page type
4. Select your Page subcategory (Select ‘Nonprofit‘) – this is the most important step!
The requirements for being listed as a nonprofit on Facebook in the United States include:
• Be a 501(c)(3) organization registered with the IRS.
• Have a tax ID number. Note that at this time, organizations with fiscal sponsorship do not qualify to use Facebook Payments to receive money from donations.
• Have a bank account registered with a licensed financial services institution. Bank account details, including the bank name, bank account holder’s name (organization’s name), and a legible and official bank letter or statement dated within the last 3 months.
• The date of birth and address of the charity’s CEO or executive director.
5. Add a profile photo (Organization’s Logo) and Cover photo if you’d like.
Once your page is live, you can share the Facebook URL with members of your faith community. As long as your page is public, they’ll be able to link directly to your page even if they don’t have a Facebook profile. (example URL: https://www.facebook.com/winnonapartners/)
If you already manage a Facebook page, double check that your category is correctly set as “nonprofit” by clicking the About tab on the left side of your page, then click Edit next to Category as seen here:
2. Sign Up for Facebook’s Charitable Giving Program
Once you create a page and double check that your page category is set to “Nonprofit”, sign up for Facebook’s Charitable Giving program (available in the U.S. and UK only) to get the Donate button capability.
3. Add the Donate Button to Your Facebook Page
Once you’re approved for Facebook’s Charitable Giving Program, you can add a Donate button onto your page. People can opt-in to giving a single donation, or even authorize giving a recurring monthly donation. You can add the donate button by going to your page > click Settings > Templates and Tabs > set the Donate tab!
Another new tool that Facebook has recently introduced is the Live Video Donate feature, which could be especially useful for faith communities who usually collect donations during a worship service.
Adding your Donate button to Facebook Live videos or Facebook pages could prove to be an extremely effective way for faith communities to continue to collect donations during this difficult time. Although nothing can compare to the feeling of being together in the same physical space to practice one’s faith, at least Facebook has provided a robust platform for nonprofits and faith communities to engage with one another online, all the while remaining operational with a donation system that doesn’t charge transaction fees.
For more information regarding Facebook for Nonprofits, please visit this FAQ section.