How to deal with refund requests from Facebook fundraisers

January 3, 2022

Occasionally a donor will contact a nonprofit to whom they’ve donated via a Facebook fundraiser and request a refund. Reasons are varied: They’ve changed their minds, they donated by accident, or they inadvertently added too many zeros to their donation and ended up giving far more than they intended.

The short answer is, the donor must contact Facebook for a refund via Facebook’s Help Center.

The reason they must contact Facebook, even if the funds have been dispersed to you, is that the funds pass through a tax structure called a Donor-Advised Fund before they reach the nonprofit.

Here’s how it works:

  • A donor makes an irrevocable contribution.
  • The donor immediately receives the maximum tax deduction that the IRS allows.
  • That donor then names the donor-advised fund account, along with any advisors, successors or charitable beneficiaries.
  • Their contribution is placed into a donor-advised fund account, where it can be invested and grown tax-free.
  • Facebook sends funds to the nonprofit based on the "suggestion" of the donor.

That means that Facebook is in charge of issuing tax receipts, ensuring the funds aren't fraudulent, record-keeping, and filing taxes. If a refund is issued, it must come from the Donor-Advised Fund and not the nonprofit.

Want to learn more? Read or download The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Fundraisers.