Facebook users in the USA now have the facility to create ‘personal fundraisers’ via their account, giving them the tools to raise money for themselves, a friend or someone else, including a pet.
Friends will be able to donate in a few taps with secure payments, without leaving Facebook.
The new facility is being run in beta at first and is only available to people in the USA aged 18 years or over. All campaigns will be subject to a 24-hour review process.
Six types of financial needs
At first Facebook will allow users to fundraise in one of six categories of financial need.
- Education: such as tuition, books or classroom supplies
- Medical: such as medical procedures, treatments or injuries
- Pet Medical: such as veterinary procedures, treatments or injuries
- Crisis Relief: such as public crises or natural disasters
- Personal Emergency: such as a house fire, theft or car accident
- Funeral and Loss: such as burial expenses or living costs after losing a loved one
Facebook will consider expanding these categories based on how the tools are used and on user feedback. It also hopes to automate more of the review process to speed up setting up a campaign.
There is no indication yet when Facebook might extend this to users in the UK or elsewhere.
Useful for charities?
Will this benefit charities? It could help some individuals to learn the practicalities of fundraising. Which messages work? When is best to post? How often? How does one say thank you effectively? Charities might benefit from better informed and experienced supporters who, having raised funds for themselves or own project, could prove even more adept at fundraising for their favourite charity.
On the other hand, this could unleash a stream of ‘donate now’ messages that could annoy and perhaps even inure Facebook users against fundraising messages from charities and organisations.
No doubt there will be some inspiring stories and campaigns but there will also be some poor quality campaigns that verge on begging rather than fundraising.
Fees for a personal fundraising campaign
Facebook will charge 6.9% on sums raised + $0.30 fee. It explains that this will cover the costs of payment processing fees, fundraiser vetting, security and fraud protection. It states that its goal is “not to make a profit from our charitable giving tools”.
This is a little less than the fee GoFundMe charges which is 7.9% + $.30 for personal or charity campaigns, according to TechCrunch.
Facebook tools for nonprofits
These tools for personal fundraising complement existing tools for nonprofits and charities to raise funds using Facebook.
It introduced a donate button for US nonprofits in December 2013.
In November 2015 it introduced fundraising pages for nonprofits, initially in the USA.
In June 2016 it enabled users in the US to create fundraising pages on behalf of a nonprofit, although donations could be made to these from 20 other countries, including the UK.
Facebook says that in 2016 it made it possible “for people to raise money for more than 750,000 nonprofits”.
Donate Buttons in Facebook Live for Pages
Today Facebook has also announced that users with verified pages can now add donate buttons to their Facebook live broadcasts.
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