Facebook’s History of Annoying Nonprofits

Charging nonprofits to post to their own followers is among the many questionable deeds the social media giant has quietly gotten away with.


SEATTLE, WA — If you follow your favorite nonprofit on Facebook, you might be surprised to learn that Facebook charges it to post updates to its own followers.

When The Borgen Project recently posted to its Facebook followers that a major poverty-reduction bill, on which many of them had worked, had passed in Congress, the post was only visible to 1,700 of the organization’s 29,000 followers. To reach every Facebook follower, The Borgen Project would have had to buy Facebook ads. Many nonprofits have spent years building their Facebook following only to realize their social media strength is useless without paying Facebook every time they need to post.

“We call it the Facebook punch,” said Clint Borgen, President of The Borgen Project. “Every couple of years they quietly implement something and we get stuck with a giant mess of consequences to deal with.”

Early this year, The Borgen Project became aware of some donations being made but not received. It was discovered that when volunteers shared a link on Facebook to their online fundraising profile on The Borgen Project’s website, potential donors would be redirected to a page to donate via Facebook.

The company initially marketed the redirect as a public service and stated the credit card processing fees went to its nonprofit partner Network for Good. However, by August, Facebook began encouraging nonprofits to sign up to receive the donations via the company’s own payment platform instead of via their nonprofit partner, Network for Good.

“For The Borgen Project, both options meant losing a larger percentage of the donation to merchant fees than if the link had just sent people to the organization’s website as the person posting the link intended,” Borgen said.

“Despite Facebook’s aims of promoting social good and connecting people to the causes that are important to them, it’s clear that its primary goal remains to monetize the relationship between nonprofits and their supporters.”


Organization: The Borgen Project
Phone: 206-715-9529
Email: [email protected]