So, I have been away from the blog for a while due to overtime needs at my day job, but also due to a bit of a meltdown on my birthday. I hit a milestone birthday this year, and had a hard time turning 40. (silly, huh?) Honestly, I feel no different than I did at 30, but I digress. Have you noticed social media is great at reminding you about your friends’ and family’s birthdays and that sure enough…you are getting older too. Facebook is great about sending these notifications.
For one to two weeks prior to my birthday, Facebook left a post saying they will donate $1.00 to the charity I support for my birthday, and then ask if I want to set up a charity donation for that specific organization. From a social media standpoint, it looks like a great idea…but I have a few thoughts about this.
I first joined the Facebook Community back in 2009 around the time I was pregnant with my first baby. Facebook gave me the opportunity to reconnect with family and friends I hadn’t talked to in years. It was awesome! Now, I had the opportunity to share pictures of my new baby, ask questions about motherhood, and…get reminded about my family and friends’ birthdays.
It wasn’t until 2017 when Facebook added a new feature that allows their members to solicit funds for their favorite charity. Instead of getting gifts or cards, Facebook members can request a donation be made in honor of their birthday. The fundraiser can set a goal amount, post a personal message, and bam! A fundraiser has been born.
The Outward Appearance
From the outside, setting up a donation for your birthday looks to be a great opportunity to help out a non-profit organization. You have the ability to choose the organization, put it on your Facebook feed, and let Facebook continually remind your friends, family, acquaintances, random people you don’t even remember adding as a friend, that you are having a fundraiser. The system keeps track of how much has been donated, and what your total goal is for the organization.
This is a great idea to be able to help an organization without really doing anything. You can donate as little or as much as you want, and at the end of the day, you feel good about yourself.
Do I Feel Compelled to Give?
My sister started a Facebook fundraiser for her birthday, and she shared her two cents.
“It makes it easier for some to be able to show a little birthday support for people they don’t normally buy gifts for. This has happened to me; I got donations from people who never give gifts but they appreciated the opportunity to support a cause they believe in and get points with me for my birthday.”
I understand this perspective. It makes sense to give $5.00 as a small token, and then move on with your day. The birthday girl or guy gets a pat on the back, and the charity receives a small donation.
Now, most of us on Facebook have over 100 friends. But… have you noticed that these fundraisers tend to raise $200 or less? Why is that? Could it be compassion fatigue? Are we worn out with all of our friends asking for donations for their birthdays?
For example, I currently have 413 friends on Facebook. Chances are, if all 413 friends started a fundraiser for their birthdays, my news feed would only have room for their requests. That is extremely overwhelming for me.
It also makes me ask myself, “Do I feel compelled to give?” The overarching answer is yes, but… I have to dig deeper into the why. Why do I feel compelled? Is it only to make me feel better about myself for doing a nice thing? Do I feel guilted into it because my friend is requesting a donation? Do I really support the cause of the fundraiser, or am I just trying to get the request off of my news feed?
My goal is to be able to donate money to a charity to help them; not to make myself feel good or get myself noticed by others. Don’t get me wrong…these fundraisers are helping non-profit agencies, and are bringing awareness of the needs out there. I may donate to a friend’s cause, but maybe not for a Facebook birthday fundraiser.
Why Only Donate on My Birthday?
My thoughts boil down to this question…Why only donate on my birthday? To make a real impact to the community, donations should be on a regular basis. A one time offering of $5 will help a bit, but why not make it $5 a week or $5 a month?
There are so many organizations that are in need of monetary donations. These donations sustain their businesses so they can impact communities…OUR communities. Consider making a monthly donation to your favorite charity, but don’t base it on a Facebook birthday. Base your donations on how you can help non-profits stay afloat.
I understand many people appreciate the ability to use Facebook birthday fundraisers. It makes sense…and keep using it. In this, you are still able to impact the lives of others, but I challenge you to ask yourself why you are making a donation. Don’t do it because you can be seen. Don’t do it because you feel guilted into it. Do it to help others.
For those who are a little more skeptical of these types fundraisers, I encourage you to set up a monthly donation to your favorite charity, and if you are unable to give monetarily, go and volunteer. They can use your hands and feet, too! You can also set up a community fundraiser that can benefit the organization. Even though I was unable to give monetarily, I have been able to use my skills to facilitate fundraisers such as a Reverse Karaoke Night and a Shopping Boutique. These were so much fun, but they also helped the organization they were set up for.
Are you looking to find an organization to give to? There are plenty to choose from. For example, each community has a number of animal shelters that need your assistance. There are so many animals that have lost their homes or been abused. These shelters are doing everything in their power to help reduce the number of animals on the street, while finding deserving pets a loving home.
So, do you feel compelled to give? If you do, what charity is important to you? Let me know your thoughts!