Facebook Fundraiser Feature

Why Nonprofits Should Leverage Facebook Birthday Fundraisers

August 4, 2020
Share This
Contact the team at GoodUnited today for assistance with your next Facebook birthday fundraiser.

Did you know that successful Facebook fundraising programs and Facebook Challenges can net your organization millions in donations? Just ask Stop Soldier Suicide, which has raised $2 million+ through Facebook fundraising. Or, St. Jude, who has raised $100 million+ in the same way.

With statistics like that, it’s hard to understand why there are arguments against Facebook fundraising. In fact, some organizations go so far as to ask donors to instead give directly— via their website instead of Facebook— in a specific message on their nonprofit’s Facebook page.

We believe the main reason that there’s apprehension surrounding Facebook fundraising is related to a lack of understanding in the process. Rather than seeing Facebook shares as a way to express genuine support for a cause and highlight issues close to the heart (something that 84% of social media users relate to), it’s seen as a vapid method of hollow engagement. That couldn’t be further from the truth!

We encourage you to look on the bright side of Facebook Challenges— that which draws on the human desire to give in community and can result in millions of dollars in funding that would otherwise go unclaimed. However, simply not discouraging Facebook fundraisers isn’t enough to experience the full benefits of the practice.

With that in mind, we’re going to break down one of the two types of Facebook Challenges for nonprofits: Facebook Birthday Fundraisers. While doing so, we’re going to cover the basics and key tips for your organization to optimize the practice.

Continue reading to explore the full guide, or use the below links to jump down to the section that most piques your interest:

Your supporters are already on Facebook, ready to raise on behalf of your organization. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started.

This section contains a definition of Facebook birthday fundraisers.

What is a Facebook birthday fundraiser?

Facebook birthday fundraisers are a specific type of Facebook Challenge in which supporters “donate” their birthday by asking friends to give to a specific nonprofit in lieu of gifts.

This image contains statistics about Facebook birthday fundraisers.

Birthdays are big occasions in the world of Facebook, with friends and family rushing to timelines and stories to send well-wishes on the day of. In fact, Facebook projects that about 45 million of these salutations are made per day. Capitalizing on this trend in the name of philanthropy, Facebook contacts users with recorded birthday information about two weeks before the event, encouraging the user to donate their birthday to their favorite cause.

These are the steps to create a Facebook birthday fundraiser.

How To Create a Birthday Fundraiser on Facebook

There are many informational resources available for donors looking to create Facebook birthday fundraisers, so that’s not our purpose here. However, we believe that it’s important for nonprofit professionals such as yourself to understand the steps to create a birthday fundraiser to market the opportunity to your own supporters and be prepared just in case any questions arise.

With that, let’s quickly walk through the steps your supporters would take to create a birthday fundraiser:

  1. Click on the “Create Fundraiser” button, either when notified by Facebook prior to the event or after navigating to the “Fundraisers” section from the News Feed.
  2. Choose “Nonprofit” or “Charity” and designate which nonprofit to fundraise for.
  3. Pick a cover photo and add context about their personal connection to the cause. The cover photo and “mission” statement can be pre-set by your organization to send users in the right direction.
  4. Create the fundraiser and share it with friends and family far-and-wide.

After the fundraiser is complete, your nonprofit can collect the donations you’ve received in one of two ways:

  1. If you’re registered with Facebook Payments, you’ll receive direct payouts on a bi-weekly basis. These payments will begin once at least the minimum donation amount is raised on behalf of your nonprofit.
  2. If you’re not registered with Facebook Payments, the donations will filter through Facebook’s donor-advised fund, Network for Good. Network For Good processes the donations, pairs them with your organization, and sends funding to your organization often within 45-60 days after the initial fundraiser.

Your organization will receive funding raised on your behalf whether or not you take an active role in the process by registering for Facebook Payments. However, the biggest change will be the timeline and the level of certainty you can have with the process.

For an even more in-depth look at creating and receiving donations from a fundraiser, check out our comprehensive guide to Facebook fundraising for nonprofits.

There are no processing fees for Facebook birthday fundraisers.

Facebook Birthday Fundraiser Fees

Of course, we can’t discuss the basics of Facebook fundraising without covering the potential fees associated with the practice.

As of 2017, Facebook fundraisers, including birthday fundraisers and Challenges, have no associated administrative or payment processing fees. This means that 100% of donations go directly to your nonprofit.

This is a major selling point for Facebook fundraising as there are very few “no fee” fundraising methods of raising money. Whether you’re accepting direct online donations through a donation page on your website or even collecting them on-site at fundraising events, there are almost always payment processing fees taken from the gift itself.

Now that we’ve covered the mechanics of Facebook fundraising, let’s explore the arguments for and against the practice.

This section covers the arguments for and against Facebook birthday fundraiseres.

The Argument Surrounding Facebook Birthday Fundraisers

Are Facebook birthday fundraisers legitimate?

Are Facebook birthday fundraisers legit?

Whenever a new fundraising channel comes into the limelight, questions about the legitimacy of the practice are inevitable. After all, nonprofits like yours rely on a steady stream of donations to make a difference in the community— there’s simply not time to invest in a practice that’s not guaranteed to yield results.

Because Facebook fundraising has been around for a while now, we can view data proving this channel is legitimate. For example:

  • Of all worldwide donors, 18% have given through Facebook fundraising with 88% reporting that they are likely to give in the same method in the future.
  • Facebook fundraising has now raised over $2 billion since 2015.
  • Of the $2 billion, half of that is from birthday fundraisers alone (which launched in 2017).

Not only is Facebook fundraising a major force for giving, but the birthday iteration is a powerhouse when it comes to fueling nonprofits. So, why are some nonprofits so adverse to this funding source?

This section covers the arguments against Facebook birthday fundraisers.

What are the arguments against Facebook birthday fundraisers?

We opened this piece with two contrasting realities: some nonprofits have massive success with Facebook and some nonprofits are ardently against the method.

Let’s explore the second perspective here— nonprofits that are against Facebook birthday fundraisers. What could possibly be wrong with a guaranteed, no-fee fundraising channel fueled by supporters’ efforts?

Well, here are some of the arguments we’ve found cited by Forbes:

  • Facebook birthday fundraisers are driven by a desire to fit in and “feel good about ourselves” by donating a personal day of celebration, the birthday.
  • Facebook Challenges don’t provide information about the nonprofits it recommends when supporters start a fundraiser, leaving questions about the organization’s legitimacy and efficacy to truly impact change.

These two arguments against Facebook fundraisers combine into one main argument:

People should be giving to organizations for the right reason, and this “right reason” is that the nonprofit in question will be able to have the greatest impact on the cause in mind. According to adversaries, Facebook Challenges fail to fulfill this reasoning.

The arguments against Facebook fundraising rely on the idea that it’s an unmotivating fundraising channel that fails to legitimize the benefitting nonprofit’s effectiveness. As you’ll see, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

These are the arguments in support of Facebook birthday fundraisers.

What are the arguments for Facebook birthday fundraisers?

Now that we’ve covered the arguments against Facebook birthday fundraisers, let’s dive into the arguments for them. Spoiler alert— the positives drastically outnumber the negatives.

This graphic summarizes the arguments for and against Facebook birthday fundraisers.

Here are a few common arguments advocating for Facebook birthday fundraisers:

  • Facebook birthday fundraisers are convenient. Donors are more likely to give through a Facebook Challenge than they would through a direct link to your website and donation form as the former is significantly more convenient.
  • They draw on the concept of social proof. When a donor sees others giving, they’ll feel motivated and inspired by the action to give on their own.
  • Facebook takes an active role in philanthropy. Facebook tackles much of the heavy lifting for you, encouraging users to create fundraisers and following up to ensure they do so.
  • There are no processing fees. This is fairly straightforward, but Facebook fundraising is one of the few no-fee donation channels.
  • Fundraisers will happen with or without nonprofit intervention. Even if your organization resists Facebook fundraising, a fundraiser can still be held on your behalf if a supporter chooses to create one. Aligning with Facebook’s process ensures that you’ll receive this funding in a timely manner.

With regards to contradicting the arguments against Facebook Challenges that we highlighted earlier in this guide, these two benefits stand out in particular:

  • People share nonprofit information on Facebook to express support— not boost their personal brand. Drawing back to the introduction, we know that 84% of social media users share information to express their genuine support of the nonprofit mentioned.
  • It’s easier than ever to optimize the Facebook Challenge process. Not only can your organization create pre-set information (which can tackle that “effectiveness” concern raised by those against Facebook fundraising), but you can use GoodUnited’s services to truly make the most of this fundraising channel.

Now that we’ve covered the many arguments for Facebook fundraising, you’re likely eager to dive into the process. Continue reading to explore four top tips to optimize Facebook fundraising on behalf of your nonprofit.

How can your nonprofit optimize Facebook birthday fundraisers?

How can your nonprofit optimize birthday fundraisers on Facebook?

Nonprofits like yours can sit back and choose not to engage with Facebook birthday fundraisers, but they’ll still happen and supporters will raise funds on behalf of your organization. However, to raise millions (as many organizations have), you’re going to want to put a bit of effort into the fundraising process to optimize it.

The following four tips will empower your organization to make the most of Facebook Challenges.

Begin by setting a foundation for success for Facebook birthday fundraisers.

Set Birthday Fundraisers Up for Success

When it comes to Facebook birthday fundraisers, one point of contention that frequently comes up with nonprofits is the lack of brand control. When users can choose their own cover photo and accompanying description, there is some risk that they may choose to include unflattering (or unprofessional looking) information.

That’s why our first tip is to reclaim some of this brand control by creating a strong foundation with pre-set information.

When a donor sees a birthday fundraiser, they see the following:

  • Cover photo
  • Donor’s personal statement
  • Mission statement

Your nonprofit can play a role in dictating two out of those three aspects. Choosing an engaging cover photo for your nonprofit’s Facebook page and writing an effective mission statement will go a long way.

An engaging cover photo and clear mission statement can go a long way with Facebook birthday fundraisers.

The default image for the fundraiser will be the image set as the backdrop for your nonprofit’s Facebook page. While donors can change the photo if they so choose, many opt to go with the pre-set cover photo. This probability increases if you choose a truly engaging photo that illustrates the impact of your nonprofit. Even better, you can include your organization’s name or logo in that image itself, to ensure your familiar branding is provided as the default setting.

Regarding your mission statement, write a blurb that provides an overview of your organization as well as details surrounding your impact. Not only does this help secure your branding, but it also combats the anti-Facebook fundraiser argument that there’s no way for donors to assess whether they’re giving to an effective organization. 

Finally, if you want to take things a step further, you can offer ideas and suggestions to guide supporters to create an effective personal statement. This is great information to include on your website, which you can read more about in the next section.

Cross-promote Facebook birthday fundraisers across channels.

Cross-Promote Facebook Birthday Fundraisers Across Channels

Few nonprofits actually spread the word about Facebook Challenges and encourage their supporters to partake, but it’s one of the best ways to make the most of the channel. Just think about it— you wouldn’t set up an online donation page, never market it, and expect donors to find it on their own to give!

First, we recommend acknowledging Facebook birthday challenges directly on your nonprofit’s social profile. For example, include a quick blurb asking supporters to “donate their birthday” on your behalf, and publicly acknowledge those that do by tagging them with a thank you note on your timeline. Beyond that, however, we also recommend sharing information about Facebook fundraising across channels.

This image shows an example of cross promoting Facebook birthday fundraisers on a nonprofit's website.

For example, consider Stop Soldier Suicide, the organization cited in the introduction for raising $2 million+ via Facebook Fundraising. This organization directly mentions Facebook fundraising on its website, informing potential donors that they’re proud to participate in the program. Further, they legitimize these fundraisers by sharing information with donors— such as how 100% of the gift goes directly to their organization.

In addition to your website, consider spreading the word about Facebook birthday challenges across:

  • Your email newsletters
  • Other social media networks
  • Written communications
  • Conversations with donors

Plus, you can set up ads in Facebook that target people with a birthday 14 days out to remind them of the opportunity to donate their birthday. The list can go on!

Use the data provided by Facebook birthday fundraisers to continue improving your processes.

Use The Data Provided By Each Facebook Birthday Fundraiser

Data has paved the way for the optimization of a variety of nonprofit activities. Whether data-driven marketing or even prospect research, nonprofits draw on data to increase their fundraising success in particular.

While Facebook protects much of your fundraisers’ data, meaning you’re unable to access key details, there are a few important metrics to pay attention to:

  • Name of fundraiser
  • Campaign owner name
  • Time left in the fundraiser
  • Fundraising goal
  • Funds raised toward the goal

This information can all be collected and analyzed when you view ongoing challenges on your nonprofit’s administrator page on Facebook. Further, Facebook now allows you to filter the fundraisers conducted on behalf of your nonprofit by:

  • Status (ongoing, complete)
  • Fundraiser type (birthday, API)
  • Creator description (personal description, generic description)
  • Thanked (thanked and not thanked fundraisers)

With this information, you can catch challenges in-progress and encourage users with tips to elevate their effort to the next level. This allows you to interact with each fundraiser and ensure they don’t fall through the cracks.

These are steps you can take using the data provided by Facebook birthday fundraisers.

Beyond that, you can also access key information via the Facebook Daily Transaction Report. After downloading this report in .csv format, you can view information such as the names of donors, the email addresses if they’ve opted in to share it, and with a bit of spreadsheet wizardry, which fundraisers raised the most on your behalf. Learn more about accessing and using data in this ultimate guide to Facebook challenges.

Use Facebook messenger to make the most of Facebook birthday fundraisers.

Capitalize on Facebook Messenger to Connect with Donors

Last, but most certainly not least, one of the most effective ways to make the most of Facebook birthday fundraisers is to employ Facebook Messenger as a marketing platform to connect with fundraisers.

One of the biggest challenges with Facebook fundraising is that users aren’t fundraising professionals— there’s no reason why they’d have the knowledge acquired to raise a significant amount of funding. With Messenger, you can follow up with users that have started fundraisers, give them tips to raise more, and encourage them throughout the process.

At GoodUnited, we’ve optimized the process of using Messenger to connect with supporters. We’ve seen that this can be the difference between your challenges not reaching their fundraising goal, or surpassing it with ease.

This image contains an example of optimizing Facebook birthday fundraisers using Messenger.

Working with nonprofits across all sectors, we’ve built best practices powered by data from 50+ million fundraisers. These practices include:

  • Automated thank-you notes sent to 100% of users who start birthday fundraisers. With these thank-yous, fundraisers are guided to opt-in to automated messaging.
  • Automated custom messaging sequences. These custom sequences are tailored to encourage supporters, provide tips, collect information about the user, and continue stewarding them to support your organization beyond Facebook.
  • Facebook birthday fundraising metrics. Your nonprofit accesses data such as how many users were thanked, how many opted into messaging, the average revenue lift due to messaging, the contact information received, the demographics of fundraisers, the motivations of fundraisers, and more.
  • Ongoing engagement using Facebook Challenges. Facebook Challenges are time-bound fundraising events in which participants are asked to complete an activity while raising funds using a Facebook fundraiser. GoodUnited will manage every aspect of these Challenges, from the initial ad campaign through managing any accompanying groups and engaging participants via Messenger. This gives your birthday fundraiser supporters an opportunity to support your organization throughout the year.

With GoodUnited, you not only empower fundraisers to raise more but also begin building lasting connections with those supporters for years to come. For more information, contact the GoodUnited team today.

Facebook birthday challenges are one of the most powerful, no-fee fundraising efforts your nonprofit can partake in. Drawing on your supporters’ desire to make an impact and using Facebook’s tools to optimize the process, you can raise more for your nonprofit than ever before.

To learn more about Facebook fundraising, check out the following additional resources:

Contact the GoodUnited team today to learn how to optimize Facebook birthday fundraisers to raise more for your nonprofit.

More Blog Posts