The homepage of Facebook. Photo by: Simon

NEW YORK — Facebook is eliminating all payment transaction fees on donations made to nonprofits, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced at the company’s second annual Social Good Summit in New York.

The new measure is one of several announced during the one-hour keynote session on Wednesday that could make Facebook a more useful, cost-effective way to crowdsource support for fundraising initiatives and organizations.

Facebook’s decision to absorb all transaction costs — and ensure that 100 percent of donations through Facebook payments to nonprofits reach the intended donations — could be a boon for many organizations in the development sector.

“The idea here is that we want to double down on helping to support communities recovering from disaster and to support the causes we want to support,” Zuckerberg told a crowd of about 300 people inside a converted warehouse space in downtown Manhattan.  

Facebook is creating a $50 million annual fund that will match all donations made on the social networking site to charity organizations. It is also establishing a fundraiser interface so individuals can directly link to a fundraising cause or organization, listed off Facebook, on their Facebook page. Others can then click and donate directly to the group or goal, without being redirected to a site outside of Facebook.

People can now create fundraisers in more locations, including in Europe, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

“It should be easy to fundraise and share it,” said Zuckerberg, noting that this new tool could also help individuals — and organizations — more easily streamline and keep track of their fundraising progress.

The new tools speak to Facebook’s revamped mission, rolled out earlier this year, to “bring the power of community and bring the world closer together,” as Zuckerberg explained. The company has increasingly engaged in work in disaster response and resilience, as Devex has reported. The American Red Cross was on hand to reflect on how the use of disaster maps in Puerto Rico is transforming the way they conduct their business, guiding their sense of where to direct efforts and aid.

Facebook also signaled Wednesday that it wants to engage more in the space of global health, with the expansion of a new tool that will link people who wish to donate blood with those who are in need. The tool first went live in October in India, where more than 4 million people have already signed up. It will next reach Bangladesh within the next two months.

But there might be some questions about the potential effective global reach of other programs, such as the blood donation tool. More than 1.2 billion people are not connected to any type of mobile cell phone coverage, effectively limiting the reach of the social media giant.

Read more Devex coverage on Silicon Valley and development.

About the author

  • Amy Lieberman

    Amy Lieberman is the U.N. Correspondent for Devex. She covers the United Nations and reports on global development and politics. Amy previously worked as a freelance reporter, covering the environment, human rights, immigration, and health across the U.S. and in more than 10 countries, including Colombia, Mexico, Nepal, and Cambodia. Her coverage has appeared in the Guardian, the Atlantic, Slate, and the Los Angeles Times. A native New Yorker, Amy received her master’s degree in politics and government from Columbia’s School of Journalism.