Facebook is trialling a function that will trigger a message near your birthday inviting you to ‘donate your birthday’ to a charity. In other words, to invite your family and friends to make a donation instead of buying you a present.
The trial, reported by CNN, seems to be available only in the USA at present.
The idea of asking for a charity donation in lieu of a birthday present is of course not new. Plenty of charities have received donations over the years with a note that they were made to mark a friend or relative’s birthday. Some celebrities ask for donations to charity in response to fans’ unsolicited gifts. Fans of Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe have been organising a birthday fundraising campaign for years.
Other people mark other occasions such as weddings or anniversaries in a similar way, requesting charity donations.
The idea has come to prominence more recently as a result of the fundraising activities of charity: water founder Scott Harrison. For his 31st birthday he invited 700 guests to a party he threw each to donate $30. He has repeated this ask ever since with great success and inspired many others to do the same.
Facebook birthday donations
The Facebook function asks you to select a charity, such as the International Rescue Committee. It’s not clear whether you can choose from a wide range of nonprofits or from a select few. Certainly Facebook has launched similar fundraising tools with an initial small set of well known nonprofits.
The birthday campaign is designed to run over a set period, a little like a crowdfunding campaign.
You can set a financial goal, and craft a message when inviting your Facebook contacts to support your campaign.
Once live, you can then track via the ‘Fundraiser’ page how many people you invited, how many donated, and how many shared your message.
Like other Facebook fundraiser pages, you are presented with fundraising tips to help you raise more, such as “the people closest to you are more likely to donate and help you reach your goal”.
Facebook fundraising tools
Facebook has launched a number of fundraising tools that enable its users to donate or raise funds for their favourite charity, or indeed to raise funds for themselves or a friend who needs financial support for education, medical bills, funeral, or a personal emergency such as a house fire or car theft.
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