John Anderson

by John Anderson


So you want to have a birthday fundraiser? That’s great! Unfortunately just creating a fundraiser, posting about it once and leaving it out there isn’t going to get very much traction.

Follow these steps to get more donations and engagement.

Successful Fundraising Tips

Time It

Schedule your fundraiser so that it has a good lead-up time and ends about four days after your actual birthday. This gives you time to pre-game, have your birthday and pick up any stragglers.

Set a Lower Goal

You’re not likely going to raise $2,000 for your birthday on Facebook. It’s just a sad truth. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment early. Set a lower goal like $500 or $1000. This provides several psychological benefits. Your friends who donate will feel like their donation makes a bigger impact, there is a more realistic heartstring pull to reach your birthday goal, and you can always increase your goal or let it go over your initial ask.

Donating $100 to a fundraiser with a $5,000 goal that only raises $1000 is depressing. Donating $100 to a fundraiser that hits its $1000 goal feels great!

Have a “Free” Option

Not everyone will be able to donate, trusts internet donations or wants to donate. That is okay. If you set your fundraiser up asking for people to either donate or share the event if they don’t want to donate, your fundraiser will get more attention and traction than if the people who didn’t donate did nothing at all. The people who didn’t want to donate will share the event and it will take over the internet.

“It’s my birthday and I challenge you to do one of two things: 1) Donate something OR 2) Share this!”

Invite Your Friends

Invite all of your friends one by one to the fundraiser. Have 5,000 friends? Yes, you still need to invite all of them! This sounds like a daunting task, and you are probably shouting at me with emojis, but this wouldn’t be a good list of tips unless I had a way to make this easy.

Speed up invites by using a desktop browser to navigate to the fundraiser page. Open the invite dialog and you should see a list of all of your friends with an “Invite” button beside each one. Facebook limits invites to pages and groups but it seems like it does not limit the number of invites to a fundraiser.

Click “Invite” for your first friend and press the “Tab” key. The next friend’s Invite button should now be highlighted. Press the space “Space” key to press that selected button. Then hit Tab and Space for the next friend. Continue to quickly press Tab and Space until you have cycled through all of your friends. If you pass up a friend accidentally you can hold “Shift” and press Tab to go backwards. This method is much faster than clicking. You can speed this process up even more by pre-loading your friends in the list by scrolling down and lazy loading them all before starting. Do you feel like a hacker now?

Points of Contact

You are going to need to contact people several times during the course of your fundraiser. Treat it like a campaign. You are running for the office of reaching your goal and you have to rely on your friends to get you there! Most of your donations will be from you personally interacting with people rather than people organically discovering your fundraiser on their timeline or through their notifications.

Let me say this one more time: Most of your donations will be from personal interactions and messages.

Initial Public Offering

As soon as you start your fundraiser, look through your recent Facebook Messenger interactions and send a generic message to everyone you talk with regularly. Something generic that sounds personal works great.

“Hey bro, I just started a birthday fundraiser and I don’t want people to think I can’t raise money so could u donate something so I at least have a head start? Love u!”

Venture Out

Facebook is not the only place you should go. Copy the link to your fundraiser and text it to people!

It’s B Day

Leading up to your birthday you should have received a good deal of donations from your friends. If you haven’t — are they really your friends? You may need to do some soul searching.

But now it is your blessed birthday (Happy Birthday) and you are about to get over 100 messages on your wall from friends, family, and randos.

One of the cool things Facebook does for the good of mankind is it automatically groups all of these timeline posts together so it doesn’t fill anyone’s news feed. Since all the posts aren’t seen, you can respond to them all with a generic message and link to the fundraiser without it filling everyone’s timeline with you commenting on everything!

You may also opt to go the more(seemingly) personal  route and send a message instead. Either way keep the message simple and generic but word it to seem personal.

“Hey thanks for the Happy Birthday. Can you donate like $10 or so to my birthday fundraiser? I’m so close to my goal and it’s for a good charity! Lol [Insert Le Link Here]”

Post Updates

This is your birthday fundraiser because fundraising makes you happy, and you want a happy birthday — don’t you?! Post updates from time to time on your Facebook graciously thanking everyone who donated and updating on the progress toward the goal. Every time the fundraiser is mentioned, new people may become exposed to it. People will be glad to be making you happy and people will donate to make you happier.

Miss Fundraisiality

When your fundraiser is about 3 days from ending or if you reach your goal early, write a nice public message graciously thanking everyone for donating, reminding everyone about the amazing cause they donated to, and letting everyone know how happy they have made your birthday. You may yet get a few more donations after your speech.

Breaking It Down

Using these tips you should expect to see a breakdown similar to the following:

• Pre-Birthday: 64%

• Birthday: 27%

• Post-Birthday: 9%

I followed this process and raised $1,100 for the local nonprofit Dallas Red Foundation