By Timothy Sandoval

Originally published in the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Some three-quarters of the roughly 473,000 donors who gave through Facebook during 2017’s Giving Tuesday had never contributed to a charitable cause through the website before, according to a report released today.

And more than one in five of those new donors gave again on Facebook in the six months afterward. Facebook did not analyze whether those supporters donated twice to same charity.

Still, the number of people giving for the first time on Facebook during last year’s event suggests Giving Tuesday is encouraging more people to contribute, the report says. "This is a promising sign that Giving Tuesday is spurring donations from people who otherwise may not have been inclined to donate," says the report.

Gifts made through Facebook on Giving Tuesday ballooned last year.

The social-media site processed more than $45 million in gifts during 2017’s event — about 15 percent of the total share of donations estimated to have been raised that day, according to the report. In 2016, donors gave $6.8 million through Facebook on Giving Tuesday — which amounted to about 4 percent of the total estimate.

For last year’s event, Facebook eliminated a 5 percent fee it previously imposed to process donations — a move that put more dollars into nonprofits’ hands during last year’s campaign.

Matched Gifts

Giving Tuesday has been held since 2012 on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and has grown considerably.

For the past two years, Facebook and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have matched gifts made through the social-media site on Giving Tuesday. Last year, Gates and Facebook matched $2 million with a $1,000 cap per individual fundraiser page and $50,000 per nonprofit.

Facebook promoted the matching gifts ahead of Giving Tuesday, which the company believes led to more donations on the site.

Donate Buttons Raise Lots

The vast majority of dollars raised on Facebook during 2017’s Giving Tuesday — $31.2 million — came through campaign pages launched by individuals on charities’ behalf, though many of those pages were likely created by people who were charity staff members.

Some $5.8 million was contributed when people on Facebook shared posts with a "donate" button attached — including people doing live videos encouraging others to give.

Birthday campaigns launched on Giving Tuesday last year raised $1.5 million, too.

About $6.4 million was raised through a simple donate button activated on nonprofits’ Facebook profiles. People tend to give after visiting a nonprofit’s official page to learn more about the organization.

The report says nonprofits should activate this button before Giving Tuesday this year and "consider educating their supporters" about it.

Among the other findings:

  • More than 47,000 nonprofits received donations through Facebook on Giving Tuesday last year.
  • The share of people on Facebook who were aware of Giving Tuesday in early December — shortly after 2017’s event ­— rose 17 percentage points compared with mid-November, shortly before it, according user surveys cited in the report.
  • Friends connected to those who created fundraising pages on Giving Tuesday last year gave most of the donations. However, a significant number of gifts came from people who were not connected with those who created the fundraisers. The social-media site declined to provide further details.

Read the full report from Facebook and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation below.