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Facebook 'Donate Now' button launches for charities

In lieu of holiday gifts, some people prefer to give money to a friend or family member's favourite charity. This year, Facebook is simplifying the process by rolling out easy donations to nonprofits.

Visit any of the 19 participating organisations' Facebook pages to donate, or look out for the "Donate Now" button beside News Feed posts to make a contribution.

"In times of disaster or crisis, people turn to Facebook to check on loved ones, get updates, and to learn how they can help," a Facebook statement said.

Just last month, the social network partnered with the International Federation of Red Cross to open the site to donations for relief in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

"After seeing the generosity of people around the world toward this effort, we've been inspired to help everyone donate, at any time, to the organizations they care most about," the site said.

Facebook's Donate feature is a two-way street, though, developed with the intention of making it easier for nonprofits to reach out and ask for help from the online community of more than 1 billion people.

Early partners include the Livestrong Foundation, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society,, the World Wildlife Fund, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, ASPCA, The Red Cross, and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Additional organisations are expected soon.

Any nonprofit interested in integrating the new feature into its profile can fill out the online Donate interest form.

Facebook members in the giving mood can donate via credit or debit card or PayPal; 100 per cent of donations will go to the charity of your choice; receipts will be sent to the primary email account listed on the network.

Those who want to flaunt their philanthropy or try to encourage friends to throw a few dollars toward an important cause can share their donation on their Facebook profile; the information will not otherwise be automatically shared.

Elsewhere, Facebook is considering revamping another aspect of its site by changing the "Like" feature to "Sympathise" when someone posts a status with a negative emotion.