Instead of changing your profile picture to show support for a cause or sympathy in times of tragedy, Facebook is making it easy to actually do something. Now you can hand over cash to a nonprofit of your choice with the social network's new Donate button.
The button is attached to posts from an initial batch of 18 nonprofit partners, including Oxfam America, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the ASPCA, and the American Cancer Society. These aren't promoted posts--they only show up in your News Feed if you follow the nonprofit on Facebook or if a friend shares the nonprofit's post on their own timeline, a spokesperson for the network said.
The Donate button also shows up at the top of each partnering nonprofit's Facebook page.
Facebook rolled out the new button in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. During the typhoon, Facebook users were able to donate to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts. But nonprofits need help all the time, not just during a crisis.
"Donate also gives nonprofits an easier way to reach out and ask for help, both to support their everyday mission and in the wake of major disasters," the company said in a Monday blog post. "And, with a community of over 1 billion people on Facebook, every local cause can become a global one--and every global cause can become a personal movement."
The feature is being tested with 18 major organizations, but any interested nonprofit can apply, so smaller groups might benefit from the power of Facebook's huge user base.