Facebook on Wednesday launched a new fundraising tool for nonprofit organizations. In the same light, the social network has improved its Donate button to make it easier for people to support the causes they care about the most.

Fundraisers are dedicated pages that nonprofits can use for specific campaigns to tell their story, help rally supporters, collect donations and track progress toward reaching a goal. Facebook VP of Product Management, Naomi Gleit, said people will be able to donate in just a few taps and share their donations with friends.

Critically, all shared posts will include a Donate button, thus making it easier for others to support the fundraiser directly from the News Feed (and spur spontaneous giving). What's more, Donate buttons are also being added to Pages which Gleit says will give nonprofits a consistent place to collect funds even as they update their Page's content.

Facebook said it is currently testing the new fundraising experiences with 37 partner organizations including the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Mercy Corps and the World Wildlife Fund. They'll be made available to other US-based 501c3 nonprofits in the near future, we're told.

Putting aside the whole fundraising angle for a moment, TechCrunch brings up an interesting point. Remove the "non" from "nonprofit" and you suddenly have a crowdfunding platform with enough users to potentially wipe services like Kickstarter and Indiegogo off the map. After all, a large percentage of traditional crowdfunding contributions come via social network postings.

Just imagine how many more people would contribute to campaigns if they didn't have to leave Facebook and share their credit card details with yet another company. With discovery, payment and virality all baked right in, it almost seems that Facebook would be foolish not to explore that avenue.

For all we know, that might have been the goal from the beginning - use the Fundraising guise as a public beta before taking the next step to a true crowdfunding platform.

Crowdfunding image courtesy Illia Uriadnikov, 123RF