People have raised $1 billion on Facebook for different causes

The Facebook fundraiser tools were inspired by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
The Facebook fundraiser tools were inspired by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
Image: Reuters/Toru Hanai
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Facebook users have raised more than $1 billion on the platform for personal causes and nonprofits in the three years since the company launched the first of its fundraising features.

Facebook fundraisers have one big advantage over other methods of fundraising: they’re right there in your feed, a place you visit every day. They remind users that they can donate right there and then, with just a couple of clicks. They can be hard to ignore. In the right moment, they can also go viral: In June, as people in the US were seeing news of the Trump administration’s family separation policy at the border, one couple started a Facebook fundraiser for an organization that helps immigrants, immediately surpassing its modest goal and raising millions.

More than 20 million people have donated or started a fundraiser on the platform. Over 1 million nonprofits in 19 countries can get donations directly through Facebook, the company said in its announcement of the milestone. The fundraiser tools were inspired by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, when the website for the ALS Association, the organization raising money to fight the disease, couldn’t handle the interest.

There are several ways to raise money on Facebook. Nonprofits can start their own fundraisers, as can individuals on the nonprofits’ behalf. Last year, Facebook also introduced birthday fundraisers, which allow individuals to raise money for an organization of their choice. In one year, these raised $300 million. In 2017, the company also dropped transaction fees for all of these types of nonprofit fundraisers.

Users can also start fundraisers for personal causes—like medical bills, for example.

When the Cambridge Analytica scandal erupted, charities were concerned about the privacy of their donors’ financial information, but Facebook’s fundraiser tools were too powerful for them to seriously consider turning away from the platform, Reuters reported.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Facebook charges 6.9% plus $0.30 for personal fundraisers. The company dropped this fee in April. Now it only charges for processing fees, and in some countries, for additional taxes.