Cherries and Facebook = a good recipe for a fundraiser
by Phyllis Mervine, Founder and President of LymeDisease.org
You’ve probably seen those birthday fundraisers for nonprofits that run on Facebook. Some of them seem to raise quite a bit. Last year I thought, “I bet I can do that!” People are always calling me for information and advice about Lyme disease–maybe they’d be willing to donate.
As it happens, my husband and I have a cherry orchard of about 20 trees. We don’t get a crop every year and sometimes the birds get them all. But in the past when we’ve had a bumper crop, we have invited our neighbors over to pick and asked them to donate to Lymedisease.org in exchange for cherries.
Last year was the first time I used the fundraising tool on Facebook. We raised more than we did with the informal style because some people donated who didn’t actually come to pick.
When I set up my fundraising page last year, I decided $300 was a realistic target. At first, I didn’t have any idea what goal to put down. I live in a rural community, and I keep my Facebook pretty personal– 234 people that I actually know–so I don’t have hundreds of “friends” on my page, rich or otherwise. Maybe I worry too much, but what if I set it too high and hardly anyone gave? I knew that would be a downer. I decided I’d rather set it low and exceed my goal.
As it turned out, we reached $300 so quickly I decided to increase the goal. I increased it twice, ending up at $1,000. It took a while to reach the full amount, but it wasn’t too hard. You have to do a little reminding and cheerleading to encourage your donors.
Another good crop
This year we were blessed with another good cherry crop, and I didn’t have any trouble deciding on my goal. $1000 seems to work well for my circle of friends. Donations came in from some surprising quarters, and some people made kind remarks, too.
We had a couple of teenagers who came twice. They said they were picking for their friends and taking containers around to spread the joy. In fact, one of them came back a third time and there were no cherries left. So I let him pick raspberries, which he said were his second-favorite fruit! He even gave another donation, though I said he’d already given enough. When people handed me cash, I just donated it myself on Facebook, but clicked on the privacy option so my name didn’t show.
During the two-week period that the fundraiser was active, I provided a few updates and reminders. One person posted their own photos on the page, which was really nice. Next time, I’ll encourage people to do that. One advantage is that they help spread the message to their own circle of friends.
It felt like a good way to celebrate my birthday. I hope you try it, too!
Phyllis Mervine has been educating and advocating for Lyme disease patients for more than 30 years. She lives in Northern California. Click here to donate to her fundraising page.
Scroll down to read how you can start your own Facebook fundraiser for LymeDisease.org.
Setting up a Facebook fundraiser
On your birthday, the fundraiser tab will automatically show up in your Facebook news feed. You can also create a fundraiser anytime, not just on your birthday. Either way, just follow these simple steps:
- Click “Fundraisers” in the menu of your News Feed (or on the LymeDisease.org Facebook page)
- Click “Raise Money”
- Select LymeDisease.org
- Set a dollar amount for your fundraising goal
- Set a date for your fundraiser to end
- Select a cover photo (or use the one provided)
- Enter a description of the organization and your reasons for the fundraiser (or use the one provided)
- Hit “Create.”
(Note: This feature is not available in all areas.)
Facebook does not take any percentage of the money you raise. If 10 of your friends donate $10 each, LymeDisease.org will receive the full $100.
Forming your own fundraiser on Facebook is an easy way to support our advocacy work, as well as let your friends know how dear to your heart this cause is.