Facebook will soon begin letting users raise money on behalf of themselves and others, as a way to help cover the cost of events like medical bills, tuition, and crises.
The “personal fundraiser” feature will roll out over the next few weeks to users in the US, only for those age 18 and up. Anyone with access to it will be able to set up a dedicated Facebook page with information about the fundraiser, where they can pick a donation goal and receive money through the site.
The feature is pretty much a beat-for-beat copy of GoFundMe, which has become the go-to crowdfunding site when raising money for personal causes. Facebook’s twist is that its users will have their Facebook profiles attached, which can let people know who they’re donating to. Being able to share it within Facebook’s social graph ought to help, too.
Facebook says that, at first, it’ll only allow fundraisers to help cover six things: education expenses, medical bills, pets’ medical bills, crisis and disaster relief, personal emergencies, and assistance for families after a death.
New categories may be added in the future, Facebook says. But for now, it’s limiting them in part because it’s requiring all fundraisers to go through a review process, at least some of which seems to be done by moderators.
Facebook says that it doesn’t make a profit off of its charitable giving tools, but that doesn’t mean a fundraiser’s creator gets to keep all of the money raised. They’ll still lose 6.9 percent of the total, plus $0.30 per donation, to “payment processing fees, fundraiser vetting, and security and fraud protection.” That’s actually favorable to GoFundMe’s terms: it takes 7.9 percent plus $0.30 per donation in the US.
In addition to adding personal fundraisers, Facebook is also starting to let any verified page add donation buttons to raise money for approved nonprofits to their live broadcasts.
Facebook launched a fundraising feature for charities back in 2015, and today’s personal fundraiser feature seems to be a direct extension.
Update March 30th, 1:01PM ET: This story has been updated with details on fees taken out of fundraised money.