Why Facebook’s Crisis Donate Button Is So Powerful

Facebook’s crisis donate button is a significant leap forward for global disaster relief. GlobalGiving’s Chief Business Partnerships Officer tells you why the button is so powerful.


Recently, Facebook added a crisis donate button to its site. The button is activated during disasters, including wildfires, hurricanes, and earthquakes, and it enables people to quickly, easily, and safely give money to nonprofits assisting people in need all over the world.

This is a significant leap forward for global disaster relief. Why?

Thanks to the crisis donate button, many more local organizations around the world will be able to nimbly and effectively respond when disasters inevitably strike in their communities. That’s good news for everyone—because local organizations know their community’s needs best, and they’re committed to helping survivors over the long haul. Yet, they’re consistently overlooked.

Studies show local NGOs receive less than 2% of humanitarian funding in any given year. In 2015, an astounding 76% of humanitarian funding went to major international NGOs—and almost half of that went to just 10 organizations, according to data uncovered by Development Initiatives.

Investing in local organizations means communities have the resources they need to recover from disasters, on a long-term basis. It also means communities have the resources they need to become more self-sufficient and resilient in the face of future disasters.

Facebook will send money donated through the button to GlobalGiving. Based in D.C., London, India and Shanghai, we partner with thousands of nonprofits working in 170 countries. Our team will make sure donations from the crisis donate button get where they’re needed most.

Our priority is always to support the work that the affected community believes to be most important. In the difficult days, months, and years that follow a disaster, we want people in affected communities to have what they need, when they need it.

People like Sara Brown will benefit from Facebook’s decision. Sara works at a nonprofit that focuses on ending homelessness in Houston. When Hurricane Harvey hit her city in August, it forced thousands of people into mass shelters; one month after the storm hit, more than 60,000 people were still living in hotels. Relying on her extensive knowledge of Houston and her nonprofit’s existing partnerships, Sara helped launch a rapid rehousing program, recruiting landlords to rent homes to storm survivors. By the end of November, Sara had found more than 400 homes for survivors. Not only did they have a roof over their heads, they had furnished apartments—thanks to her nonprofit’s partnership with a local furniture company that delivered beds, tables, nightstands, couches, and kitchen supplies to hurricane survivors. When disasters strike, GlobalGiving can now connect Facebook users who want to help to people like Sara.

Since Facebook unveiled its crisis donate button, already, people have taken action to help earthquake survivors in Iraq, Taiwan, New Caledonia, and Costa Rica. They’ve also used the button to help after a volcano erupted in Bali.

When dangerous wildfires enveloped communities in Southern California in December, the Facebook community rose up: Giving through the button jumped 9x in one week. Generous donors have taken action to support community-led recovery efforts in Santa Paula, a small city in the grip of Thomas Fire, which has destroyed hundreds of homes and taken two lives. But Facebook donors haven’t stopped there—they’ve also helped survivors in areas that aren’t getting as much press, including Fallbrook and Murrieta, California.

In the last decade, GlobalGiving has become a go-to solution for business leaders and donors who want to invest in local solutions to urgent problems, including natural disasters. Since 2006, the GlobalGiving community has raised more than $58 million for disaster recovery efforts in more than 58 countries, and the number of locally driven projects receiving disaster-related support through GlobalGiving has increased by 40x. Now, through the crisis donate button, resources for local disaster relief—whether in Iraq, New Caledonia, or California—have the chance to grow at an even more exponential rate.

In the wake of every disaster, there are GlobalGiving heroes like Sara Brown who drop everything to help their neighbors. Now, the power of the Facebook community is behind them.

Learn more about GlobalGiving’s disaster response services.


Featured Photo: After Tropical Storm Vinta caused devastating flash floods and landslides in the Philippines, GlobalGiving raised funds for our nonprofit partners providing relief and recovery. Photo and project by Philippines Typhoon Relief Fund.

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