Last week, users started reporting that Facebook is prompting them to “donate” their birthday to a charity of their choice. The new feature sets up a personal fundraiser for that organization, which your friends can donate to on your birthday.
Facebook is merely testing the idea, and it has not rolled out as a full-fledged feature yet. In late March, the social giant launched a personal fundraisers platform within people’s profiles so they can raise money for emergencies, causes they support, things they need and so on.
Some of the users who have access to the feature reported being skeptical about a potential widespread release. Birthday donations could defeat their purpose once they are available to everyone and people don’t feel engaged enough to donate anymore.
How to use Facebook to raise money
Before launching this personal fundraisers platform, Facebook only allowed nonprofit organizations to raise money through their official pages by adding a Donate button. The company takes 5% out of each contribution to cover for campaign setting fees.
For individuals, though, the options are more limited and the fees are a little bit higher. Users can choose to set up a fundraiser as long as it falls under one of six cause categories: Education, Medical, Pet Medical, Crisis Relief, Personal Emergency, and Funeral and Loss.
People who donate to support these personal causes will have 6.9% plus a fixed $.30 fee discounted from their contributions for Facebook to pay for logistics costs. The company takes up to 24 hours to review and approve these fundraisers for launch.
Can social media make altruism a thing?
While Facebook has only begun to roll out the feature to some test subjects, it has yet to confirm the specifics for how birthday donations will work.
Considering people will be prompted to make a donation on someone’s behalf on their birthday to a nonprofit of their choice, then there are reasons to believe these pop-up fundraisers will work under the same terms as those of regular organizations.
There are over 750,000 nonprofits registered on Facebook from which you can choose. You will also be asked to set a goal and publish a message to launch your charitable birthday campaign. These are public to everyone, but the platform prompts you to invite your closest friends and family who are more likely to donate.
People who have had the chance to try out the feature say it has potential, but that it will only go so far before all novelty wears out and it turns into another dreadful task on top of the already tiresome congratulations over Facebook.
If successful, birthday donations may become a thing on the social network in the next couple of months as an update to the ever-growing fundraising tools already available.