Facebook Birthday Fundraising: How do they work and can you get more of them?

How Facebook birthday fundraising works and what your nonprofit can do to get more birthday fundraisers on Facebook.

If you’re anything like us, you don’t need any more stuff for your birthday. A lot of us have too much stuff and we don’t necessarily want lots and lots of things for our birthday.

Instead, there’s been this trend where birthdays are actually changing from being about getting stuff to about giving instead. Donating your birthday has become a trend.

That’s where Facebook Birthday Fundraisers come in.

So why should your charity care about Facebook birthday fundraisers, how does birthday fundraising work on Facebook and what can your nonprofit do to get more birthday fundraisers – and ultimately, more donations for your cause?

Over USD $1 billion from Facebook birthday fundraisers

Facebook birthday fundraisers really took off when Facebook cracked Facebook birthday fundraising. The feature has been around for a while, but now they’ve jumped on the trend of “giving” instead of “getting” for your birthday.

Nonprofits have raised over USD $1 billion from Facebook birthday fundraising. And that’s as of September 2019. We think it’s maybe even 2 billion US dollars by now.

Over USD $1 billion from Facebook birthday fundraisers

About half of all of the income raised by nonprofits on Facebook fundraising is through Facebook birthday fundraisers. And we see this trend on our clients as well on GivePanel.

Many of our clients now see Facebook birthday fundraising as a significant proportion of their income, with some clients raising millions of dollars, pounds, and euros from birthday fundraising.

So Facebook birthday fundraisers have become a huge thing for many charities, and even small charities are having success from birthday fundraising.

More Facebook Birthday Fundraising = more amazing supporters

More Facebook Birthday Fundraisers = more amazing supporters

What’s exciting for us at GivePanel is that we see that a lot of these birthday fundraisers are not started by people who might be already supporting your charity, but by people who are not on your supporter database.

Our client analysis shows that 85% of Facebook Birthday Fundraisers are not already on a charity’s database.

Even more excitingly is that when those birthday fundraisers are asked to make a regular donation, there’s a really good response rate.

One client had Facebook birthday funders as the top performing segment for their digital fundraising activity, with 17% going to give a regular donation of more than $10 per month.

It’s not surprising that these are amazing supporters, as it’s quite an intimate thing to do, to start a Facebook birthday fundraiser for a nonprofit, so you would expect them to be really good supporters.

Less than 1% of Facebook users have set up a Birthday Fundraiser

What we you know, when we estimate this, Facebook have said that I’ve given the stat that 45 million people have either donated, or set up a Facebook fundraiser, which means there’s a lot of people on Facebook that have not done a birthday fundraiser, we estimate that less than 1% of Facebook users have actually done a birthday fundraiser.

Here you can see a graph of Facebook users, showing that there are 2.7 billion people on the Facebook platform.

Less than 1% of Facebook users have set up a Birthday Fundraiser

If you ask the average person in the street, they probably have a Facebook account. But our guess is they haven’t done a Facebook birthday fundraiser.

Even when we talk at conferences, we always ask people to raise their hands if they’ve done a Facebook birthday fundraiser, and even at fundraising conferences, not many hands go up.

There’s still a long way to go with the potential for Facebook birthday fundraising and a lot of people who can still set up a birthday fundraiser for your cause for the first time.

How do birthday fundraisers work on Facebook?

With Facebook birthday fundraisers, Facebook does a lot of the work for you if you’re a nonprofit, because what they do is they prompt people in the newsfeed a week or two before their birthday to set up a birthday fundraiser.

Essentially, they’re advertising for you, prompting people to donate to your cause.

People then click on that notification, and they come to a drop down list of charities, which we’ll talk about in a minute.

They choose their charity from that list to give their birthday to. And when they do that, they can set up a fundraiser really quickly in a couple of taps.

When they set up that fundraiser, it goes on to their newsfeed and invites their friends and family to contribute to that fundraiser.

Facebook is a social network, so those viral effects of birthday fundraisers being native inside Facebook platform.

It’s not like a standalone fundraising platform. It’s all inside Facebook.

Your friends and family are invited to donate to your birthday fundraisers – and guess what? They’re the people who are going to donate to the birthday fundraiser anyway.

That’s why Facebook birthday fundraisers do really well: the fundraiser themselves doesn’t actually have to do too much in order to raise money from their friends and family.

How to get more people to set up Facebook birthday fundraisers

As Facebook birthday fundraisers are a really effective way to raise funds for your charity, you’ll naturally want your supporters to start more of them.

We’re going to look at three ways that you can get more Facebook birthday fundraisers for your nonprofit.

Rank higher in the list of charities on Facebook

Here you can see a picture on mobile of what the list of charities that you can start a fundraiser for on Facebook might look like.

Rank higher in the list of charities on Facebook

Ranking is different for each person, so you will see a different list of charities than I would see in my Facebook app, because it’s contextualised to the individual.

But we know a couple of things that drive that ranking.

One is just generally how engaged you are with that Facebook page, so you’re more likely to see charities who you’ve engaged with their content on Facebook. Maybe you’ve liked their page, maybe you’ve liked one of their posts –  that’s going to definitely increase the ranking of your page.

The second thing is whether your friends, or friends of your friends, have actually given to that charity as well. If lots of your friends are given to a charity, it’s more likely to appear in the list.

You can see the top one on this picture is Cancer Research UK, and you can see that seven friends have donated to that charity, so it’s at the top of the list.

It turns out that driving more people to donate to your charity through Facebook is going to get you higher up the list, which is going to get you more fundraisers, which is going to get you more people to donate to your charity.

You need to drive as many Facebook donations as possible, so you should add the donate button to your Facebook posts, run Facebook fundraisers from your page, and get more people to set up Facebook fundraisers.

You can run virtual fundraising events on Facebook. We’re doing some fantastic virtual events called Facebook Challenges with clients at the moment, which are virtual events on Facebook using Facebook groups (find out more about this GivePanel feature here).

All of these things will drive more Facebook donations, which will get you in turn higher up the list when people choose your charity.  It’s a flywheel effect and you want to keep driving that through driving engagement on Facebook.

Anything that builds your brand on Facebook is going to be a good thing, because that’s going to drive that’s going to drive engagement on your page, which is going to push it up. Anything like awareness campaigns, investing in social media content, and keep pushing to increase engagements.

We always see that when a GivePanel client runs some kind of social media campaign or marketing advertising campaign on Facebook, they actually get a halo effect of having more birthday fundraisers set up as a result, as those things to drive a higher ranking in that all-important “select your charity” list.

Ask people to donate their birthday to your charity

It sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how many organisations are not asking people to donate their birthday to their charity.

To help this, you could work with celebrities and influencers is a great way to set up a birthday fundraiser. For example, here is an example from Steve Curry, who is a famous basketball player, and Nothing But Nets is the charity that worked with him to try and raise $30,000 for his 30th birthday.

You can see that they smashed the target, raising nearly $40,000.

Ask people to donate their birthday to you to your charity

To emulate this success, you could take one of your well-known people, patrons or celebrities who are connected to your cause, ask them if they use Facebook, set up a Facebook birthday fundraiser just for them, and support them in how to run it.

Maybe it would be wrapped around a big birthday for them, so their 20th 30th 40th 50th birthday. It’s nice to raise $21,000 for your 21st birthday or $50,000 for your 50th, as these kinds of round numbers work really well.

Another idea to ask people whose Date of Birth information is on your database already and email those people a month before their birthday.

You would say: “Hey, your birthday is coming up, it’d be great if you could donate your birthday. Here’s some stories about people who have done this. Here’s how you can do the same for us.”

Ig have multiple emails, maybe five or six emails as they get close to their birthday, to ask them to start a Facebook birthday fundraiser through your email campaign.

Not every charity has that date of birth information on the database and can use it well, but many do

We know of organisations who have run Facebook birthday fundraiser email campaigns really successfully.

Facebook fundraising during awareness campaigns

Finally, the last tip I have for you to get more Facebook birthday fundraisers is to do a Facebook birthday fundraising drive during an awareness month.

Many of our clients have awareness weeks or Awareness Month around the cause that they work with, which make for a great chance to “own” that month for birthdays fundraisers. During that awareness week or month, ask everyone who has a birthday in that month to give it to donate it to your cause.

The best way to ask people is using Facebook ads.

We worked with a UK charity called Sands, who are baby loss charity to do this, and they raised £68,000 pounds / $90,000 in one month from Facebook birthday fundraisers alone, with just a £2000 / $2,500 ad spend.

Here’s an example of one of their Facebook ads:

Facebook birthday fundraising drive during awareness campaigns

This strategy really works during awareness months and is a strategy you can repeat year after year to get more and more people to fundraise for you.

Get more Facebook birthday fundraisers with GivePanel

We hope this article about Facebook Birthday Fundraisers helps you raise more funds for your nonprofit.

If you have any questions about Facebook fundraising and how we might be able to help with our platform gift panel, do get in touch or start with a GivePanel demo.