The Washington Post had an article yesterday (registration may be required to read it) that made the same mistake nonprofit marketing folks often make when judging the relative value of Facebook: it simply looked at Facebook as a place you post a cause and expect the dollars to roll in. If it doesn’t do that, the Post concludes, it doesn’t work.I’ve heard fundraisers say the same thing.But there is more to the story.Be sure to read the excellent comments here and more important, read Allison Fine’s response on her blog.Bottom line: the value of Facebook is not to be calculated by dollar per donor. Allison notes:Let’s reframe: what if Causes was judged by the number of people who know about a cause who didn’t know about it before; the number of people who increase their involvement with that cause by sharing information with friends about it, organizing an event, blogging and tweeting about it, and so on; the number of people who have self-organized an event for the cause. I’m sure there are other meausres, but you get the point, what measures we use to define success will utlimately define us and while dollars in might be easy to measure it’s not alwasy the best one to use… Causes isn’t just about raising money, it’s also about raising friends and awareness, and in the long run turning loose social ties into stronger ones for a cause may be more important than one-time donations of $10 and $20 dollars right now. Our rush to judge this application effective or ineffective over a very short time period with a primary user base of very young people is off base.Facebook is one tool for interacting and engaging with a community — not a fundraising silver bullet.UPDATE: Be sure to read Beth Kanter’s post on this as well.