Facebook launches personal fundraising tool

Posted at 4:21 PM, Mar 30, 2017

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Watch out, GoFundMe. You have some big new competition in the fundraising space.

Facebook announced Thursday it will expand its charitable giving tools to include personal fundraisers. The campaigns will allow people 18 and older to raise money for themselves, a friend — or someone or something not on Facebook, like a pet.

Previously, the company allowed users to raise money only for nonprofits. Personal fundraisers will launch in the United States over the next few weeks.

Facebook spokesperson Stephen Rocco Rodi told CNNTech donations to personal fundraisers will incur a transaction fee of 6.9%, plus 30 cents, per donation. “We’re not in the business of making profit on this,” Rodi said, adding the fee covers security and fraud protection, vetting and payment processing. By contrast, nonprofits pay a 5% fee.

Facebook will start personal fundraisers with six categories including education (such as tuition and books), medical, pet medical, crisis relief, personal emergencies (like a car accident or theft), and funeral and loss. Initially there will be a 24-hour fundraiser review process before each campaign is posted, to protect against fraud and ensure the cause falls within one of the six categories. Eventually Facebook plans to expand the campaign categories and automate more of the review process.

People who don’t have a Facebook account can see the fundraiser, but they won’t be able to donate without logging in. Payment processing will take between seven and 13 days, Facebook told CNNTech, and it may take some banks a few additional business days to deposit payments into a person’s account.

The social network’s foray into personal fundraising is in direct competition with cause-focused sites like GoFundMe and YouCaring, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Facebook first tested its “fundraisers” feature in 2015 with 37 charities, including Mercy Corps, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and World Wildlife Fund. The top of a verified nonprofit’s page includes a “donate” button, where users can make a contribution with a credit card or through PayPal.