3 drawbacks of Facebook birthday fundraisers and what to do instead
There's no greater gift than giving back.
To celebrate one more trip around the sun, you decide to forego the fancy dinner reservation and encourage loved ones to give toward a worthy cause. After all, why rack up a hefty bar tab when you can use that money to raise funds for your favorite nonprofit?
Birthday fundraisers are a fantastic way to celebrate the day you arrived here on Earth.
Fortunately, social media platforms — like Facebook — make it incredibly easy to rally friends and family members to give. Forty-five million people wish people "Happy Birthday" on Facebook every single day, which provides a perfect opportunity to raise money for a cause you care about.
Below, we explain how to make the most of your Facebook birthday fundraiser, including fundraising tips on rallying your network, increasing awareness, and ultimately supporting the cause closest to your heart.
How Facebook birthday fundraisers work 🎂
To create a Facebook birthday fundraiser, you must have an active Facebook account. Two weeks before your birthday, you'll receive a notification directly from Facebook inviting you to host a campaign for the nonprofit of your choice.
Creating a birthday fundraiser on Facebook is quite simple, although it comes with considerable drawbacks (more on this below). Here's how it works:
- Select your nonprofit 💘: Your Facebook campaign must raise funds for one of the 750,000 U.S. nonprofits approved by the social network. (You can create a campaign for a personal cause, but Facebook charges a hefty 6.9% plus $0.30 fee for each donation.)
- Select your fundraising goal 💸: Next, set a campaign goal and end date for your fundraiser.
- Add a personal story and a photo ✍: Facebook gives you the option to write a short caption on what this campaign means to you, and why friends and family members should give. Next, simply choose a cover photo for your post.
- Share with friends 💁: Publish your post and invite friends to give. You also have an option to match donations up to a certain amount.
3 serious drawbacks of Facebook birthday fundraisers 😦
Facebook fundraisers have done a lot of good for the nonprofit community.
In 2019, Facebook announced that the platform raised over $2 billion for worthy causes, with half that amount coming from birthday fundraisers alone.
While that figure is staggering (and applause-worthy 👏👏👏), it does come with some serious drawbacks. If you're considering launching a Facebook fundraiser for your birthday, you need to be aware of several issues.
1. You won't always know who donates❓
When you receive a birthday gift, what's the polite thing to do? Send a thank-you note. So, what's the polite thing to do when someone donates to your birthday campaign? Send a thank-you note!
Unfortunately, Facebook doesn't share donor data with you or your chosen nonprofit unless a giver opts in (which few do). Therefore, it becomes increasingly difficult for you to thank friends for their generosity.
Also, if you hope their one-time donation turns into additional giving in the future… well, it probably won't. Your nonprofit of choice won't have access to your friends' and family members' information, so they won't reach out to them for future campaigns.
2. You won't get to choose just any good cause 🙁
In order to use Facebook fundraisers (and avoid their excessive processing fees), you must select a 501(c) nonprofit approved by the United States IRS. In other words, you can't raise money for your child's school lunch program, your best friend's knee surgery, or the local cheerleading squad who just qualified for nationals.
In other words, you won't be able to give to those local, grassroots organizations and clubs that rarely get the attention they deserve.
3. There are payment delays 💰
Facebook payments are paid every two weeks. If you're raising funds for a time-sensitive campaign, donation payments could lag behind schedule.
If you are raising money for a personal fundraiser (medical bills for a friend, travel costs for a sports team, or emergency funds for a family in need), your payments could arrive late.
Why Givebutter + Facebook = the icing on the birthday fundraising cake 🙌
With Givebutter and Facebook joined together, you get all the benefits of Facebook fundraisers (a vast network, peer-to-peer giving) without the drawbacks.
Here's why harnessing the power of both tools can make your charitable birthday wish come true.
1. You can easily track your campaign's progress 📈
With the Givebutter-Facebook integration, you know exactly who gives on your birthday. The Givebutter platform allows you to quickly build a donor database, which you can use to track your campaign's progress, send custom thank-you messages, or export contact info for later use (to invite your friends for a celebratory, post-campaign birthday toast, perhaps?).
In addition, trackable links allow you to see which friends and family members are drawing the most attention to your birthday fundraiser. If you really love data, you can install the Facebook pixel code to track your campaign's analytics.
2. You can really get creative 🎨
Posts made to your Facebook profile are all well and good, but a single caption on your newsfeed leaves much to be desired. With Givebutter fundraising pages, you can create gorgeous pages with videos, custom messages, GIFs, emojis, videos — you name it.
Now, doesn't that feel more like a party?
3. You can easily amplify your birthday message 🚩
We cannot stress this enough: We know the power of social media. That being said, it's not the only way to communicate (nor should it be).
A 2018 study of 3,400 Facebook users ages 18-29 found that 44% of participants deleted their Facebook account. Therefore, you should think about ways to connect with people in your network who may not be a Facebook friend. With Givebutter, you can easily boost campaign visibility through one-click social sharing, text message invites, link sharing, and email invitations. Plus, Givebutter offers integrations for 1,000+ platforms to ensure your campaign gets seen.
4. Friends can choose how they give 🤸
The increase of fake news on social media increased public wariness of Facebook pages and donations. Therefore, some of your loved ones may feel uncomfortable giving to your cause directly through the Facebook donation option.
However, through Givebutter, there are numerous payment processing options. Your friends and family members can donate through PayPal, Venmo, text-to-donate, credit cards, ACH, and even Apple Pay. Your friends choose the platform they’re most comfortable with; no raised eyebrows or sketchy payments needed.
5. You can choose whichever cause you care about (and they'll keep the funds) 🤟
Givebutter creates a space where any worthy cause can raise the funds it needs — 501(c) not required. Therefore, you can choose to donate your birthday dollars to a sports team, school, club or group, or other cause.
Plus, unlike personal causes on Facebook, with Givebutter, your cause will (in all likelihood) keep every dollar raised. Givebutter offers the lowest rates in the fundraising industry. The average fee across all Givebutter campaigns is a mere 0.05%, because donors are given the option to cover the fees (and 95% choose to do so).
On your special day this year, combine Facebook and Givebutter to create an effective birthday fundraiser. It's your best chance to launch a campaign where your chosen cause keeps 100% of the funds raised. Ready to fundraise toward your best birthday yet? Click here to sign up.