Nonprofit tip: Run Facebook ads around fundraisers’ birthdays

One way that many nonprofits ask their supporters to fundraise for their cause is to ask them to “donate” their birthday. This means that fundraisers operate a personal campaign around their birthday, asking friends and family to donate to their campaign instead of giving them personal gifts or congratulations. Some nonprofits have found a great way to promote this type of fundraising: using Facebook ads leading up to potential supporters’ birthdays.

As most know, Facebook is one of the most popular places online for people to send birthday wishes, as the social network has a finely tuned system around birthdays. As many, if not most, Facebook users make their birthdays public (and Facebook requires a birthday to set up an account for age restrictions), nonprofits have a unique opportunity to leverage this information to try to attract more birthday fundraising campaigns.

First of all, to make this work nonprofits need to have a fundraising platform that supports birthday campaigns. Often birthday campaigns are offered alongside other types of personal fundraising campaigns, such as with the Oregon Humane Society’s fundraising site:

Here’s an example of what a filled out birthday fundraising page will look like:

Setting up a Facebook ads campaign

First, the nonprofit needs to have a Facebook Advertising account set up and managed by one or more of its staff. After this initial setup, which includes linking some form of payment for the advertising campaigns, the nonprofit can take the following steps to setup a campaign around supporters’ birthdays:

Step 1: Create the campaign

Click “Create Campaign” in Facebook’s Ads Manager interface, choose “Traffic” as the “Marketing Objective” and that will bring up to the next screen which customizes the audience.


Step 2: Customize the ad audience

This is the critical step of the process where a nonprofit can choose to target existing supporters and potential supporters that have upcoming birthdays. Facebook allows advertisers a couple of different targeting options – either “upcoming birthday” which targets people that have birthdays within 7 days, or by the month, as shown in the image below:



Of course, nonprofits need to further customize their audience by targeting people that have either already engaged with the nonprofit (perhaps by visiting the nonprofit’s website or liking its Facebook Page) and/or through interests (e.g. “environment” or “pets”) and/or through demographic or geographic criteria. For all intents and purposes, almost any nonprofit should be able to create a strong profile of people that they wish to show their ads to using this system.

Step 3: Create an ad and publish

The final steps are to create an ad – or multiple ads – a timeframe and budget, and then publish the Facebook ads. The ad copy should be actionable and specific to creating a birthday-based fundraiser, and not simply about generally supporting or fundraising for the nonprofit. Since this campaign will target people that have upcoming birthdays or birthdays in the next month, a nonprofit could easily run a specific campaign for a month, or in fact indefinitely if the target is “upcoming birthday,” as this will continually refresh.

Nonprofits should make sure that whatever webpages the ads direct to have clear instructions on how to easily start a birthday fundraiser, including a painless process to register as a fundraiser. Also, the new fundraisers should – at the very least – have the option to share out their new campaign to their Facebook friends, as that is at least one place where they are obviously active.



Chad Catacchio


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