As a sector that works for love over hate, can we continue to prolifically use a platform like Facebook? Parachute Digital tell us why it’s so problematic.

As a sector that works for ‘Love over Hate’ and equality and dignity for everyone, who knows that climate change is real, and who advocates to protect people’s mental health… can we continue to prolifically use a platform like Facebook that projects everything we stand against?

This is the question that I, and my team at Parachute Digital, have been grappling with for the last 12+ months.

We are here for you, our charities! But we’re also here for us. Each of us at Parachute Digital believe, and are supporters of, the causes we fundraise for and the causes we work to grow. And while Facebook is undeniably the best performing channel, it’s becoming increasingly hard to look past the evil they perpetuate in the world.

We think we will get to a point where we are faced with the very well known fact that the end does not justify the means, and that there’s no ROI big enough to compensate being complicit by financing an organisation whose algorithm and revenue thrives with hate speech and the spread of misinformation.

We have been having background conversations with many of you – seeding the idea of testing other lead sources and channels for digital advertising campaigns. Encouraging more budget to build brands, diversify our reach and not be trapped only in a “best ROI” cycle – but also in a holistic strategy. And that includes the thinking behind the campaigns, the intentions, the tactics and the platforms we use.

Our sector, more than any other sector, needs to stand on principle.

But where does it end?
We can find evil everywhere if we look for it.
We can shift our budget to Google or Channel 9 or Twitter – and that won’t solve the problem.

What we think is important is to take a stand against Facebook’s dominance.

Beyond the moral imperative, there is a potential reputational risk to organisations, as Facebook becomes more and more toxic. Nonprofits need to diversify in preparation for the day they’re forced to boycott Facebook, which I hope you agree is not unfathomable.

Our sector, like every other, is reliant on Facebook for volume and cost effectiveness – and I’m not suggesting every charity simply turns off all their campaigns at once. While my activist heart loves the idea of it, it’s not realistic, and it’s not going to put our charities or causes in a better position. It’s not going to hurt Facebook.

But we can give Facebook less of our hard won budgets! We can diversify away from Facebook more than we are now!

We think we will get to a point where we are faced with the very well known fact that the end does not justify the means, and that there’s no ROI big enough to compensate being complicit by financing an organisation whose algorithm and revenue thrives with hate speech and the spread of misinformation.

So… we want to work together with you to aggressively test and trial and learn other websites and digital advertising platforms and find new and different channels that can deliver the leads, donations, signatures, downloads and awareness that you need for your causes to grow and thrive.

We’ve started on this journey and have been putting our own money and time into testing and learning and we haven’t cracked it yet. Now we need your help.

  • We need new channel test budgets – that have looser targets.
  • We need understanding that performance – volume, costs and consistency – will vary some.
  • We need your trust and collaboration to try new strategies that fill the top of the funnel and build bigger audiences and awareness rather than a laser focus on conversion metrics.
  • We need your support and commitment to find other, more ethical ways to meet our objectives.

✊ If you’re with me… if you have also have a horribly nagging feeling that it’s just not right for us – as a sector that champions the people who are often the targets of hate – to use Facebook, then please, let’s make this change together.

Make an internal commitment, instruct your agencies, let’s have a round table discussion, let’s create a coalition of organisations who will lead the testing and share the learnings. We can do this – we just have to decide to and do it!

If you’re in, please reach out to me, Mamta, Tania, Dan or any of your Parachute Digital contacts (or other digital contacts) and let’s do this! 

As Rachel Hunter has said, “It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.”

EVIDENCE

If this article has completely shocked and blindsided you and you feel you need some evidence – here is some reading that will make your blood boil.

 

This article was adapted from an email sent by Parachute Digital on 12 November 2021, created by Shanelle Newton Clapham MA, BA, MFIA, Mamta Bhatt, Marcos Sastre and Dan Tunley. 

To get in touch with Parachute digital, please click here

print
X
Subscribe to access this article.

Continue reading your article with an F&P subscription

Join with other top fundraisers to receive insight, analysis and inspiration to help you raise more funds.

subscribe now for $1

Cancel anytime.

Already a subscriber? LOGIN HERE