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Are Facebook Challenges Really the Best Approach to digital Fundraising? A Critical Look

Facebook introduced its social fundraising tools, including fundraisers and Donate buttons, in 2015. Since then, Facebook has successfully raised $6 billion in donations. A great achievement, and without a doubt, a showcase of the importance of social giving.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Facebook's Challenges raised hundreds of millions of dollars, allowing organisations to continue pursuing their goals even in the absence of in-person events.

Their approach combines the best of peer-to-peer and social media virality into a single solution. For non-profits looking to adopt a digital-first fundraising strategy, these tools are a good option. However, they also come with a few drawbacks. Let’s detail the advantages and disadvantages of these tools in more detail, as well as alternative fundraising options available.




What is a Facebook Challenge?

A Challenge on Facebook is a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign that takes place entirely on Facebook, over a defined period of time.

During the Challenge, participants are tasked to complete an activity (often a physical challenge), while raising funds for a non-profit organization through a fundraiser also hosted by Facebook. Participants follow the charity page, and are often added to a dedicated Facebook group, where they can interact with the organisation and other fundraisers.

For example, a non-profit can organise a 30-day Walking Challenge. Users join, and every day, they are encouraged to walk 10,000 steps. While doing so, they get their own fundraising page to raise funds for the non-profit. Users are then encouraged to post their progress, both on the physical goal & donation aspect, on Facebook.



Facebook challenge alternatives
Examples of individual fundraisers for non-profit organisations


What are the pros of Facebook Challenges for charities?

Facebook Challenges are free to set up, and attracting registrants is cheap

As the promotion happens on Facebook, it is easier to attract a new audience, and re-engage with past donors, as they are often Fans of the non-profit on Facebook. Building a donor base is easier than with non-social media-based methods.

Facebook challenges are great for gathering a digital community

While digital fundraising can be challenging to replicate the emotion of in-person events, Challenge groups provide a platform for participants to connect, share tips, offer encouragement, and build a digital community. They also open the door for continued engagement. Challenges allow non-profits to initiate one-on-one conversational messaging through Messenger.

Facebook challenges establish a repeatable revenue stream

Challenges can be repeated yearly or every few months, allowing non-profits to collect and increase revenue over time.


What are the cons of Facebook Challenges for charities?


Despite its advantages, Facebook fundraisers have a few limitations that may hinder their appeal to many non-profits.


Facebook Challenges don’t provide reliable data

By default, the charity does not have access to the Fundraiser or Donor contact details. This makes it difficult to measure and evaluate the success of the fundraiser. Furthermore, the inability to reach out to dedicated fundraisers to offer support or to thank them for their effort is a significant drawback.

Facebook Challenges don’t track user activity

If the focus of the fundraiser is a physical activity, such as a walk, a run or a cumulative distance over time, Facebook's solution isn’t the most appropriate. Users are encouraged to share their progress using their own trackers, but the platform doesn’t allow any activity recording, as it focuses on donations.

Facebook challenges are restricted to Facebook users only

Only Facebook users are allowed to set up and contribute to Facebook fundraisers, which can be limiting if you're looking to reach a broader audience.

Facebook challenges don’t provide control over who participates

No management tools are available from Facebook’s backend giving access to fundraising activities and user interactions on the group easily. If some fundraisers are misrepresenting your activities, it will be a time-consuming process to identify them & address the issue.


What alternatives do charities have to host their challenges?


If they are not free, better alternatives to Facebook Challenges exist for non-profit organisations who wish to offer their participants & donators an immersive, engaging experience.

This goes from dedicated online donation platforms to custom activity trackers, like the ones designed by District Technologies.

District technologies charity fundraising app
District provides different solutions for your fundraising activities based on your needs and budget

Our Entreprise solution offers a premium alternative - a dedicated, entirely branded mobile app is created for the fundraising campaign. We give you access to all user data, which is crucial for measuring success and identifying your best donators & users. It offers integrated fundraising, allowing participants to easily donate and fundraise, as well as native activity tracking, which includes audio and augmented reality features to enhance the challenge experience. District also offers social feeds, leaderboards, and chat functionality to build a digital community around the challenge.

For those looking for a more cost-effective solution, District Teams offer an immersive fitness experience through one of our existing platforms. Not sure which solution is for you? Check out the comparison between Entreprise & Teams here. Keen to learn more? Reach out to us today for a free demo.


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