No gifts please — just donations. More and more Facebook users are using their birthdays (and the notifications they catalyze ) as an opportunity to fundraise for their favorite organizations. What better way to share your favorite cause and receive a “gift” from far off family and friends?
For the birthday-haver, it’s as easy as a few clicks with Facebook’s clear call-to-action pushed to your notifications around your birthday and a user-friendly, in-platform setup process. For Facebook, birthday donations illustrate social consciousness and keeps users on their platform. For nonprofits, it’s a total win: In the last year, Facebook birthday fundraisers raised more than $300 million in donations. As of last year, Facebook has also waived its processing fees so that every dollar goes to the nonprofit organization (unlike most crowdfunding platforms, which charge a nominal fee).
So, ready to celebrate? We’ll break down how Facebook birthday fundraisers work and ideas to encourage your supporters to donate their big day to you.
How Facebook birthday donations work
Let’s go over the nuts and bolts: Facebook users are required to add their birthday in order to create an account. Two weeks before an user’s birthday, Facebook pushes a prompt to their newsfeed and notifications that gives them the option to “host” a fundraiser for one of over 750,000 available nonprofit organizations in celebration of their big day.
Users can set a goal amount and create a custom message to explain why they are hosting their fundraiser for a particular organization. On their birthday, their friends will receive a notification asking them to donate to the host’s chosen cause. After someone donates, that donor’s name, the host’s name, and the contribution amount will be shared with the nonprofit.
How to get supporters to donate their birthdays to your organization
To get on the list of available organizations, your nonprofit must be registered with Facebook Payments and have received at least $100 in donations.
That said, 750,000 available organizations for Facebook birthday donations is a lot of organizations. How can you encourage supporters to choose your nonprofit for their birthday fundraiser? Below are 7 ideas to be the 1 in 750,000 and encourage followers to support you on their birthdays.
1. Keep it Topical
Including a donation ask on holidays, events, or times of celebration can help drive donations. For example, during an awareness month or end-of-year giving (when you are normally already asking for donations), supplement the ask with a call for birthday fundraisers. This way, your followers are continuing to support your cause even if they have already donated or cannot donate themselves this year. Depending on the size of your organization’s audience, it may even be worth experimenting with monthly themed asks. For example: “February babies, donate this month to support X,” or “show us your support this Scorpio season by fundraising for Y.”
2. Share Stories
Stories of impact are compelling and inspirational, and audiences respond especially well to real-life stories paired with visuals. On Facebook, try posting stories about your most loyal supporters and the individuals, communities, plant life, or animals that benefit from their contributions. “Loyal supporters” don’t need to be major donors — you can feature repeat donors and social ambassadors that help you raise awareness. Powerful stories and flattering features will be highly shared, increase your reach, and ensure your organization is top of mind.
3. Make it a #Challenge
Create Facebook challenges where past and new donors compete for matched donations or bonus funds. This adds some friendly competition to fundraising and can also result in an increase of online revenue for your nonprofit. Try experimenting with this in a month like September, which is statistically shown to be the most popular month for births (and, by default, birthdays).
4. Don’t Over-Post
Whether you are encouraging birthday fundraisers during giving season, awareness month, or just in general, be sure to vary the content you post and break up direct CTAs with other content that focuses on delivering value to the user. Continue to follow your normal posting schedule in tandem with your promotional posts, so that you don’t overload your followers with asks to the point of their frustration or annoyance. As is the case with birthday cake, there is such a thing as overdoing it.
5. Share the Spotlight
A great way to make donors feel special and more connected to your organization is to highlight their support and show your appreciation. Consider doing weekly or monthly donor spotlights, where you select a donor and post about their contributions or volunteer efforts (with their consent, of course). This is a great way to say “thank you” to your donors and volunteers while encouraging others to donate as well. It also gives your donors further validation about the impact of their donations.
6. Join the Club
Creating exclusive social media groups and events for you donors is one way to not only engage directly with your supporters, but also to give them an inside look at how their contributions help further your organization’s cause. Create an exclusive Facebook group for donors to interact with your organization and each other, where you share updates about campaigns, programs, and opportunities to get involved. Consider adding special Facebook Live events that give your donors a behind- the- scenes look at your organization. You could also grant donors early access to content, programs, or interviews with beneficiaries. Giving the individuals or communities that your organization supports the chance to communicate the impact in their own words would be particularly powerful.
7. Say “Thank You”
Personalized “Thank you” posts on your donor’s social pages are a great way to let your donors know that their efforts to support your organization are appreciated. Go beyond a generic “thank you”! Rally members of your organization to record a short, personalized “thank you” video where they explain how your donors’ contributions have helped your organization. You can find even more ideas on how to say “thank you” beyond email here.
Have you seen success from Facebook birthday donations? Share your tips for generating support with us by tweeting @WholeWhale.