Facebook’s personal fundraisers exit beta, now support raising money for sports teams & communities

Facebook announced today it’s expanding its online fundraising tools – basically, Facebook’s own take on a GoFundMe-type service – to include support for community fundraisers as well as those for sports teams. The company had first launched its personal fundraising tools in March of this year, allowing users to raise money for educational, medical or pet medical needs, public crises, natural disasters, personal emergencies, and funerals or loss.

That launch, however, was considered a beta test. Today, Facebook says the product is publicly available for all users in the U.S. who are over 18 years of age.

With the new supported categories, Facebook users are now able to raise money for things like  neighborhood services, community improvements, or environmental improvements, Facebook explains. Or, in the case of sports teams, people can raise money for equipment, competitions or team fees.

All fundraisers have to first go through a review process to ensure they meet Facebook’s policy and guidelines. Afterwards, users can promote their fundraising campaign by inviting friends to join and donate, or by posting the campaign to Facebook.

The launch of personal fundraisers follows a series of other efforts Facebook has made in the fundraising space. The company rolled out a Kickstarter-like feature in 2015 aimed at nonprofits, which allowed the organizations to set up a campaign page, explain their goals and collect cash. And in 2016, Facebook expanded its fundraising tools so individuals could collect funds on behalf of nonprofit organizations, too.

The company then moved directly into GoFundMe’s space this March, even undercutting its rival on the fee structure. Facebook’s personal fundraisers have a 6.9 percent + $.30 fee that goes to payment processing, fundraiser vetting, and security and fraud protection. GoFundMe, meanwhile, takes 7.9 percent + $.30 for personal or charity campaigns.

Facebook touts its lower price point as coming from a desire to encourage giving and good works on its network.

“Facebook’s goal is to create a platform for good that’s sustainable over the long-term, and not to make a profit from our charitable giving tools,” the company said in today’s announcement.

However, the fundraisers have another advantage for the social network. By giving to fundraisers, Facebook is encouraging more payment transactions among its user base – and payments is an area of its business that’s still under-developed today, despite Facebook having added support for person-to-person payments in Messenger.

Access to personal fundraisers are open to all as of now, and can be found via facebook.com/fundraisers on the desktop, or from the “Fundraisers” menu on mobile devices.