‘Sick to my stomach’: Charities discovering the hard way how Facebook changed its donation process

Many of the birds at Carolina Waterfowl Rescue (CWR) in Indian Trail have ruffled feathers, literally. Others are missing beaks.

Executive Director Jennifer Gordon told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke that children attacked one of the ducks that’s a patient of theirs now. They’re also treating a swan that veterinarians thought they’d have to put to sleep, but he’s taken a few steps since.

These birds are surviving and the charity is hoping to do the same.

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CWR has been around for almost 25 years. Gordon says it’s always a challenge but especially now that Facebook changed its donation process.

“I was just literally sick to my stomach the whole time. I’m sure I cried, I don’t even know how many times,” Gordon said.

Facebook made multiple changes.

First, Facebook will no longer cover the processing fees on donations. Charities or donors will have to.

Second, for those of you who make a one-time donation to a certain charity, Facebook is teaming up with PayPal which will then distribute it to the nonprofit, which could take anywhere from 15 to 90 days.

If you run a nonprofit and want to keep receiving one-time donations, you have to fill out this information by Oct. 31.

Third, and this is the one making charities like CWR the most nervous, Facebook dropped its recurring donations program -- that’s when people sign up to donate to a group on an ongoing, monthly basis. CWR really counted on these. After all, it was predictable income that allowed charities to plan. But Facebook stopped the program a few weeks ago.

Donors who have used Facebook’s recurring donation platform may want to donate to charities directly. The charity might not have your information to reach out directly to you.

It’s not clear why Facebook made these changes. The company told Stoogenke, “We are partnering with PayPal Giving Fund to support donations benefiting nonprofits. Registered nonprofits can continue to raise money through fundraisers or donation buttons on Facebook and Instagram and users can continue to create fundraisers and donate to support nonprofits.”

Gordon says these changes have greatly impacted CWR, costing the nonprofit thousands.

“For the month of October, it was over $30,000,” she said.

“That was just gone and wasn’t there so … we were counting on it.”

Gordons says she had to re-budget and lay off one-fourth of her staff last week.

Now CWR is cutting whatever costs it can and hoping this report helps get the word out.

“We love the happy endings,” Gordon said.

Not just for the birds, but the charity itself. Or, better yet, no ending at all.

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