Facebook drops fee on donations, will match $50M/year, adds Mentor feature

Facebook’s lending a hand with what it does best: APIs and money. Today at its first Facebook Social Good Forum conference in New York City, the social network unveiled a slew of new features and initiatives. You can watch Live here. Mark Zuckerberg started the conference with a keynote saying “For all the things that might try to pull people apart, if we can focus more on what brings our communities together, we can build common ground.”

Facebook is eliminating its 5% fee on donations so 100% of money sent through its Donate buttons go to desired non-profit. It’s setting up a $50 million per year Facebook Donations Fund to match giving on its app to causes like natural disaster relief. Facebook is expanding charitable giving tools to 13 countries in Europe plus Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

It’s launching an Fundraiser API to sync Facebook fundraisers to offsite campaigns, starting with Susan G. Komen, JDRF, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Movember, with plans to connect to 500 non-profits by end of Spring 2018. Its new Community Help API delivers data from Facebook’s crisis volunteering feature to disaster response organizations to assist them with routing resources.

Finally, it’s launching a new Mentorship feature through partnered non-profits starting with iMentor for education and The International Rescue Committee for crisis recovery. People over 18 in need of addiction recovery, career advancement or other personal help will be matched with vetted mentors who will guide them through an on-Facebook curriculum of education materials.

Together, the features could make Facebook a more popular way to donate money, and facilitate delivering support to everyone from disaster victims to at-risk youth.

“Relationships are so important and on average an American has 3 or less people they can really depend on” says Naomi Gleit, Facebook’s VP of social good and longest standing employee other than Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook isn’t quite clear how it’s going to run some of these programs, but is committed to learning. For example, Gleit didn’t have answers to how Facebook would avoid bias in choosing which donations its new fund will match.

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