Facebook is introducing new options that will help nonprofits raise money more easily.

Improvements to its donate button allow nonprofits to place the button on their Facebook pages and posts they share. Facebook users will be able to share their donations with friends. All shared posts will also include a donate button, making it easy for donors’ friends to also donate directly from their news feed. The button allows people to donate to charities through a one-page form without leaving Facebook.

“Imagine you are seeing what your friends are donating to. That’s just so much more effective than getting a notice on the home page asking you to donate,” Naomi Gleit, the company’s vice president of product management, told Fast Company.

Facebook is testing an option that allows donors to join the nonprofit’s email list.

The Fundraisers Feature

Facebook is also testing fundraisers, a new tool that provides a dedicated place where nonprofits can raise funds for specific campaigns on their Facebook Page. “Nonprofits can tell their campaign story, rally supporters, collect donations and visibly track progress toward a goal for year-end drives, themed campaigns and special projects such as building a clean water well or funding a clothing drive,” Gleit explained in the company’s announcement.

Facebook is testing the new features with 37 organizations, including Mercy Corps, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and World Wildlife Fund, and will soon offer them to other US-based nonprofits.

The fundraisers feature will be especially attractive for nonprofits with multiple causes and distinct campaigns. Many people, particularly new donors, are more willing to donate to specific causes than organizations serving purposes that are more general.

With December, the biggest month for charitable donations approaching, the nonprofits are probably hoping the donate button and Fundraiser feature yields a year-end fundraising boost.

The Importance of Engaging

The key for nonprofits will be integrating the donation tools into their overall social media strategies. Collecting contributions is just one step in fulfilling a nonprofit’s mission. The first step is connecting and engaging with the audience in order to raise awareness of the organization’s mission, services and results.

Savvy nonprofits have become active on social media including Facebook to communicate regularly with donors and potential donors. However, many nonprofits can better use social media to improve communications and engagement, especially with younger donors and volunteers.

“The average donor gives once or twice a year to an organization and yet they’ll interact with you potentially hundreds of times, by reading your social posts, sharing them, reading your email, and coming to your website,” Terry Macko, World Wildlife Federation senior vice president for marketing and communications, told Fast Company. “We want to meet people where they are.”

Bottom Line: New Facebook tools will improve the fundraising abilities of nonprofits. While that’s certainly welcome news, nonprofits can also benefit from social media’s considerable power to raise awareness for their causes.