Hot on the heels of the official rollout of its Snapchat Stories clone, Facebook has announced a new feature that may be described as yet another copycat move. This time, the social networking giant is taking on the likes of GoFundMe and YouCaring with a feature that enables personal crowdfunding (some might prefer a pejorative term like internet panhandling or cyber-begging). To the company’s credit, though, the new Facebook crowdfunding feature is for a good cause — or good causes, for that matter.
The new Facebook crowdfunding feature effectively opens the social network to personal fundraisers.
Who can set up and donate to personal fundraisers?
At launch, personal fundraisers may be set up by Facebook users in the U.S. who are at least 18 years old.
Personal fundraisers are visible to everyone, including people who don’t have Facebook accounts. But only Facebook users are able to donate, that is, people need to log in to their Facebook accounts or create new ones in order to contribute to the causes they care about.
What causes are allowed for personal fundraisers?
Personal fundraisers, according to Facebook, let Facebook users “raise money for themselves, a friend or someone or something not on Facebook, for example a pet.” Initially, they are allowed for six specific categories of causes that call for critical financial assistance:
- Education: such as tuition, books or classroom supplies
- Medical: such as medical procedures, treatments or injuries
- Pet Medical: such as veterinary procedures, treatments or injuries
- Crisis Relief: such as public crises or natural disasters
- Personal Emergency: such as a house fire, theft or car accident
- Funeral and Loss: such as burial expenses or living costs after losing a loved one
Also, each campaign is to undergo a 24-hour fundraiser review process before it is approved for posting.
Facebook, though, intends to expand the categories and automate the review process as it learns more about personal fundraisers during its first few weeks.
How are donations to personal fundraisers handled?
People can donate to personal fundraisers using the payment methods they already have on record with Facebook.
Each donation will incur a transaction fee of 6.9 percent plus $0.30. Facebook asserts that it’s not in the business of making profit on personal fundraisers and that the fee covers fundraiser vetting, security and fraud protection, and payment processing.
Speaking of payment processing, it will take one to two weeks, not counting the additional business days some banks may take to deposit donations into the accounts of the people behind personal fundraisers.
What sets Facebook crowdfunding apart?
Unlike with cause-focused sites such as GoFundMe and YouCaring, personal fundraisers on Facebook have the advantage of reaching people who are already friends with the users who set them up, in a social network used by close to 2 billion people around the world.
Moreover, people who want to donate can do so in a just few taps, without leaving Facebook.
“Since you can see real profiles on Facebook,” Facebook adds, “donors will see how they are connected to the person who created the fundraiser, the person benefiting and others who are supporting the fundraiser.”
Any other new way of raising funds on Facebook?
In addition to launching personal fundraisers, Facebook has also just allowed verified pages to add donate buttons to their live broadcasts. This effectively gives public figures, brands, businesses, and organizations a new way to raise funds for the nonprofits they support, and gives their fans and followers the ability to donate while watching their live broadcasts or after the live broadcasts are posted on their pages.
Facebook has been enabling nonprofits themselves to raise money on its network, by placing donate buttons in their posts as well as live broadcasts, since last year.
Get the latest version of Facebook for iOS to check out personal fundraisers