Skip to content
Pre-Enroll In The Sew-A-Thon Today
Pre-Enroll In The Sew-A-Thon Today

How To Do A Facebook Birthday Fundraiser

How To Do A Facebook Birthday Fundraiser

A Step-By-Step Guide


How to Setup and Conduct a Successful Birthday Fundraiser on Facebook

I stumbled on Facebook’s fundraiser option quite by accident. I found it to be an easy, powerful way to generate awareness and funds for Sew Powerful. In the past 12 months, I have raised over $1500 for Sew Powerful in three Facebook fundraising campaigns. 100% of the donations end up at Sew Powerful; there is no overhead. This document explains how I conducted my Birthday Fundraiser campaigns and how you too can generate contributions to our favorite charity. Not only are the funds going to be put to good use, the fundraiser is a great way to tell people all about Sew Powerful. You never know who will donate and who will start making purses…or both!

Fundraisers are not available in every area world-wide, so this may not work if you are outside the US.



Here Are The Steps To Take

Step 0. You must have your birthday (not year) listed in your Facebook profile to be prompted to set up a fundraiser. If your birthday is not listed, follow the steps in the box below to get started.

Step 1. About 10 days before your birthday, Facebook will prompt you to set up a birthday fundraiser. Don’t do it yet. It’s too early.

Step 2. The day before your birthday, in the morning, is the ideal time to set up your birthday fundraiser. Your closest friends will know it is close to your birthday and will expect to be seeing messages from and/or about you. Facebook will prompt you again on the day before your birthday to set up a fundraiser campaign OR if they miss you, follow the steps in the box below.

If you are NOT prompted by Facebook to set your fundraiser, do the following:

    1. Click Fundraisers in the left menu of your News Feed or CLICK HERE.
    2. Click Raise Money.
    3. Select Nonprofit/Charity. – Scroll through until you find ‘Sew Powerful’
    4. Select Sew Powerful, choose a cover photo and fill in the fundraiser details.
    5. Click Create.

Note: Donation and fundraising features on Facebook aren't available in every area.

Step 3. You will be prompted to setup your fundraiser.

    1. From the dropdown list of Nonprofits/Charities choose ‘Sew Powerful’ as your chosen charity
    2. Choose a cover photo for the campaign. The MOST successful
      photo will be of the purse(s) you have personally made. You can choose a photo of the purses from your computer or mobile device, or you can choose one of the generic art drawings Facebook offers.
      Here’s the picture I posted as my cover photo
    3. Next you will be prompted to set a financial goal. The default is $200. I upped my goal to $250. This seemed like a ‘slightly’ ambitious goal, but not too ambitious. If I would have chosen $700 as a goal, I think those inclined to give $5 or $10 would have felt their contributions wouldn’t have been that helpful and wouldn’t have given to the cause.
    4. Then you will be prompted to pick a duration for the campaign. The default is two weeks. I left it at the default, but honestly after about 4 days you probably won’t have many more donations, but you never know.

      a. HERE IS A REASON TO MAKE YOUR BIRTHDAY CAMPAIGN SHORTER THAN TWO WEEKS: If your birthday falls after the middle of the month, you may want to make your campaign end by the last day of the month. The reason for this is FaceBook waits 45 days after the month your campaign ends to distribute the money.
      Example: If your birthday is April 7 and you run your campaign, April 6 – April 20th, your campaign ends in April. FaceBook will distribute the funds June 15th. But if your birthday campaign runs April 19th – May 3rd, your campaign ends in May, so FaceBook will not distribute the funds until July 15th. Therefore, it would be better for Sew Powerful if your campaign ended April 30th, getting their funds in June. The likelihood of getting significant contributions at the very end of the campaign is low.

    5. Next you will need a ‘story’. FaceBook gives you something but it is so generic that it won’t really move anyone to open their wallet. Here is what I wrote that generated nearly $750 in 4 days. Feel free to copy this word for word substituting your birthday date or tweak it to fit your style. I like putting my actual birthday date in there to really make this personal. I ended it with a heart emoji:

      "For my [January 8th] birthday this year, I'm asking for donations to Sew Powerful, an all-volunteer, 501(c)3 organization whose aim is to combat extreme poverty through sewing and tailoring. Sewists from around the world make and donate purses like the ones I made in the photo above. Sew Powerful sends these purses to Zambia, Africa where local Zambian women sew feminine hygiene products to put in each purse, along with locally sourced soap and underwear. Zambian school girls attend a health class, and in exchange for one of the lovingly crafted purses, make a pledge to stay in school all month. Now instead of missing about 25% of the school year, the girls can be on a level playing field with their male classmates. A $5 donation covers the cost of the contents in the purse and the salaries of the Zambian seamstresses making the supplies for one purse. Keeping a girl in school improves her life and has the potential to better the lives of those in her family, community and our world. Sew Powerful has set a 2019 goal of distributing 10,500 purses this year. Imagine how big of an impact those small purses will have with our help. Thank you!❤"
      NOTE: I seemingly only asked for $5. Every single donor gave more, ranging from $10 - $100. By keeping the ask low but the story compelling, people were willing to give more than just $5, but I would have gladly accepted any $5 donation.
      WARNING – Do not make the mistake I made last year and pledge to make a purse for every $5 (or X amount) donated. That made for a very stressful year and I honestly couldn’t entirely honor all those commitments.

    6. Next you will need a ‘story’. FaceBook gives you something but it is so generic that it won’t really move anyone to open their wallet. Here is what I wrote that generated nearly $750 in 4 days. Feel free to copy this word for word substituting your birthday date or tweak it to fit your style. I like putting my actual birthday date in there to really make this personal. I ended it with a heart emoji:
    7. Finally, you will be asked to invite people. I invited ALL 600+ of my (living…I unfortunately have some deceased FB friends and relatives) Facebook friends. Obviously, I don’t know all these people well, but these 600 have all been nice enough to not do anything on FB so outrageous that I would block them, so that qualifies as being fit to be invited to my fundraiser.



Step 4. Congratulations! You’ve setup your fundraiser. But you are not finished! Next it will ask you for a message to go with your invitation. Keep it short and sweet. Here’s what I wrote:

‘For the price of a cup of coffee, you can change the world today. Be the change!’

Step 5. Your FB notifications will start showing you have received donations. Congratulations. Now you need to stay engaged with your donors and comment on their donation for 3 reasons:

    1. It’s just plain nice to acknowledge the donation. Everyone likes to feel appreciated.
    2. Unless, they have marked their donation as ‘private’ everyone else will see their donation and your comment back to your donor. The sooner you acknowledge the donation the better the donor will feel. Hopefully, they will share your campaign on FB.
    3. The more actively engaged you demonstrate you are, the more likely additional donors will be drawn to the fundraiser.

Below are some examples of reply thank-you comments you can make. I want to stress that you should use their FaceBook name (you know, start typing a name and a list of similar names pop up and you pick the name you are writing to) somewhere in that thank you comment. The reason is so your donor will see it in his/her list of FB notifications, but also friends of the donor will see that their friend has contributed. This can become exponential very quickly.

Try not to duplicate responses since they will be public. Here are some examples to get you started:
For $10 Donation:
Mary Jones, thank you so much. Two girls and their families now have a chance for a good future because of YOU! I appreciate your generosity!
Thank you SO much for your donation. On behalf of the two girls who will directly benefit from your contribution, we want you to know the girls have a chance to lift themselves and their families out of poverty and to contribute to our world. I appreciate this very much Judy Johnson! ❤
For $20 Donation:
Thank you for your generosity. Please know your money will go directly to help girls in need! Joe Smith, you’ve made an impact on the future today and 4 girls will have a better life because of you! ❤
For $50 Donation:
Jane Doe you are SO generous. Thank you so much! Sew Powerful will put your contribution to good use helping those in extreme poverty. Now, because of you, TEN (!!!) girls have a chance for a great future. ❤

For $100 Donation:
I am speechless Connie Carson! Thank you so much for your very generous donation! You know this is a cause that I cherish so your support is extra special to me. Thank you thank you thank you! ❤❤

Step 6. Next day reminder. On the days after you start your campaign, you will be prompted to update your FB friends on the status of the campaign. A two or three sentence update puts the campaign at the top of your friends’ FB newsfeeds again, but this time with a new message at the top, so they are reminded to contribute or to get a pat on the back for already doing so.

Here is an update encouraging giving to reach the goal:

Thank you to all who have already so generously given to my Birthday Fundraiser in support of Sew Powerful. We are making good progress towards our goal, but we are not quite there. If you find you have the means to donate, no matter how small, know that your contribution will be put to good use to help more girls stay in school. Thank you! ❤

Here is an update after we surpassed the goal but want to continue to receive contributions:

I am overwhelmed by the love and generosity of my FaceBook friends who have donated to my birthday fundraiser in support of Sew Powerful. Even though we exceeded my goal, the need is so great, every donation helps more girls stay in school. There is still time to contribute if you have not done so already. On behalf of the school girls in Zambia, thank you, thank you, thank you! ❤

Step 7. All throughout the year, post photos in FaceBook of the purses you make for Sew Powerful. Do this on your Public timeline, not just in the Sew Powerful Purse Project group. When Sew Powerful is in the news, share the story. Like and Share posts about Sew Powerful or Zambia that are particularly meaningful to you. This way, all year long, your FB friends are being educated about Sew Powerful and associate you with this cause. Then, when your birthday comes around, the seed has already been planted. Furthermore, it keeps Sew Powerful front and center for your next birthday. And, who knows? Maybe you will inspire and recruit others to make purses too!!!

Step 8. Keep a list of everyone who contributed to your Birthday Fundraiser. Honor those who have contributed to your birthday fundraiser in two ways:

    1. When your donors sponsor their own fundraisers, give what you can to support their causes
    2. Mention the donor’s name on the card you include with a purse going to Sew Powerful. Then, make a FaceBook post on the donor’s timeline as you get ready to mail the purse.

This is what I said to this donor on his timeline:

Way back in January, you contributed to my FaceBook birthday fundraiser benefitting my favorite charity, Sew Powerful. This organization works with schools in the poorest parts of Zambia, Africa and instructs girls on health and hygiene. As in incentive for girls to attend school all month long, volunteers from around the world, including me, make purses that end up in Zambia, where soap and other hygiene supplies are put inside each purse by Sew Powerful. The cost for the contents is approximately $5 per purse. Without our help, most girls will fall far behind their male counterparts academically and financially. But because of your generosity, individual girls, their families, community and even our world, will be better off because of these girls' uninterrupted educational opportunity. I’ve attached a photo of the purses I made in your honor along with a copy of the note cards enclosed in each purse. I hope you like the purses I picked for you. All the purses I’ve made this year are all on their way to the Sew Powerful Seattle headquarters to meet the November 1st deadline. Thank you again for your generosity. You really have made a difference.

In that FB post, I then attached a photo of the purse(s) and the notecard(s) showing the purse(s) I made with love in my donor’s honor. See example below. Every single person for whom I made a post like this last October made a very nice donation to my January Birthday fundraiser again this year.

I hope this information was helpful and that you can draw on my experiences to build your own successful birthday fundraiser campaign for Sew Powerful!

❤ Jan Cancila, Houston Reginal Coordinator for Sew Powerful