Today I got an invite in my email for a special fundraising feature being offered early to administrators of official nonprofits on Facebook, allowing us to test a new feature which allows people to create our own fundraisers for our own personal profile or for a Facebook friend. The feature is modeled after the existing “Fundraisers” product offered by Facebook to officially verified nonprofits, and allows their fans to create their own fundraisers to raise money for the Charity.

This new feature seems to allow any user on Facebook to raise money for any reason (I’m guessing there will be limits), very similar to the model of GoFundMe, or similar fundraising sites. As a test, they’re asking early users to create a fundraiser around education, such as raising money for tuition, books, or tuition for someone else. Here is the text of the email:

I decided to put this to the test, and raise money for none-other than my daughter. The product is phenomenal! You start by going to (available to everyone I believe now, but only for raising money for non-profits), and start by clicking “Create Fundraiser”.

It pops up a window, asking who you want to create the fundraiser for. It offers the new options of “Friend” or “Yourself”. Those are the critical new elements. If you don’t yet have this feature yet it should just say “nonprofit”, or you may not even see this dialog at all:

Once you select either “Friend” or yourself, it takes you onto the next dialog. Selecting “Friend” allows you to pick a friend you want to raise money for. I’m assuming “Yourself” allows you to create something for someone not in your friends list, or perhaps a cause that isn’t an official non-profit.

Once you select a friend it lets you enter pertinent details like selecting a picture (for friends it lets you select from their profile images or upload your own), as well as details about the fundraiser, how much you want to raise, and when the fundraiser expires. Once submitted, it will also prompt you to enter in information for a checking account to deposit money to – it’s not clear what the fees are related to this. Currently the submitted fundraisers go for approval to Facebook, I’m assuming to be sure they’re education-related (a cause Mark Zuckerberg is passionate about).

Once approved, you get an email that looks like this:

For my daughter’s fundraiser I now get notifications any time someone donates, and a progress bar shows up showing how close we are to reaching the goal. I was also given the opportunity to invite friends by friend list, so I sent an invite to all my family members. Once launched you can also send regular updates very similar to a Facebook Event, and supporters will all get the message. This is what her page looks like:

Overall this is an extremely powerful feature that, when launched to the masses will be used heavily for fundraising for friends and personal causes. Previously, sites like GoFundMe allowed this but the setup was burdensome and complicated. This was an extremely simple process, very social, and allowed me to never leave Facebook to set up. Sites like GoFundMe need to be worried about this one!

In the meantime, if you want to play with it, you’re welcome to contribute to my daughter’s education and see this amazing new feature in action! 😉