Instead of saying you care, Facebook now allows you to actually make a difference

facebook-donate-button-hed-2015Remember #Kony2012? What about #Haiti after the earthquake? Still shivering after the #ALSIceBucketChallenge? If you’re closer to home here in Alberta, did you put a blue ribbon on your Facebook page to show your support for #EPSStrong?

It’s been a pet peeve of mine for a long time. Social media has tremendous potential to raise awareness for important causes, but being aware of something isn’t the same as doing something about it. Well now instead of adding that ribbon to your profile picture Facebook allows you to do a whole lot more.

Yesterday the social giant launched a “Donate Now” button charities and other organizations can plug directly into their Pages.

As Adweek reports:

Users will find a “Donate Now” button atop their news feeds, similar to the social networking giant’s option to help contribute to ebola containment and treatment efforts in November 2014. However, unlike that effort, which sparked some complaints of Facebook putting the onus of donations on users, the social network is now specifying that it will match $2 million in contributions.

Clicking the button (or donating via Facebook’s Nepal recovery landing page) will pop up options of contributing $10, $25, $50, $100 or a custom amount to the International Medical Corps, which is operating mobile medical units to treat the critically wounded and dispense medicine.

“Together we can help urgent care reach the people who need it,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his personal wall. “Thinking of all of you who are there and all of you who have relatives and friends in the affected areas.”

Facebook has allowed some charities to use the button in the past, but it is now rolling it out for wider use by charities.

Why does this matter? It means trendy campaigns where people show their support for a cause should finally fade away, replaced with campaigns that actually involve people helping out and making donations. After all, people on social media are never hypocrites.

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