Birthday Fundraisers: How to Raise More for Your Charity

Celebrating a birthday is fun and exciting. Plus, it’s also a great occasion to fundraise for a worthy cause! Turn birthday celebrations into fundraising opportunities for your supporters.

As a nonprofit organization, you are always making the ask, planning the event, or organizing a campaign. Let your supporters do the work for you!

Any Do-It-Yourself supporter can turn birthdays, or any other big event, into exciting fundraising opportunities by adopting a charitable birthday social media strategy.

This tactic is extremely useful for generating year-round revenue. You get the donations when the supporters fundraise for their birthday, and the supporter can feel proud that they’ve helped your organization.

Keep reading as we cover the must-know topics about setting up your supporters for success:

What Are Birthday Fundraisers?

Rather than just celebrating birthdays in a traditional way, birthday fundraisers combine a supporter’s birthday celebration with their passion for a nonprofit mission.

They are popular because of the social nature of birthdays and the unspoken expectation for a gift for a loved one’s birthday. It has become a popular way to give back to a cause that means the most to that person celebrating.

Birthday charity fundraisers really make use of traditional peer-to-peer fundraising best practices. There are many different versions of this type of fundraising that nonprofits and supporters might encounter:

  • Social fundraising
  • Social giving
  • Online giving
  • DIY fundraising
  • Occasion & challenge fundraising

The key to birthday fundraising success is for nonprofits to promote how easy and fun they are, and to empower supporters to host these third-party events to create bring year-round revenue for your organization.

TIP: A good first step to empowering your supporters to host birthday fundraisers is getting the right software to support them! Check out how the OneCause Peer-to-Peer software can help.

Key Benefits of Birthday Fundraisers

As a nonprofit industry, social giving is on the rise. Which means that birthday fundraisers are the perfect fit for successful social fundraising.

According to the Giving Experience Research Study, there was an increase in giving through events and peer-to-peer fundraising, with an estimated 27 percent of U.S. adults giving in this way in 2020. Specifically, giving for occasions (e.g., birthday, memorials), personal challenges, and giving days saw significant growth.

It’s time to harness that growth and create a strategy around birthday fundraisers for your supporters! Let’s dive into other key benefits to these types of social fundraisers.

For Nonprofits

Birthday charity fundraisers are key in producing year-round revenue and increased awareness for a nonprofit’s cause.

As one type of do-it-yourself peer-to-peer fundraising, birthday fundraisers allow supporters to launch their own individual fundraising pages at any time with the right software.

As you may have seen while scrolling through your own Facebook feed, birthday fundraisers are gaining significantly more attention. Users can create a post explaining what cause they’re supporting and begin collecting donations from their network.

Within the first year of creating birthday fundraisers, Facebook users raised more than $300M for causes. As of now, Facebook allows you to choose a cause to donate to from a list of 750,000 nonprofits.

You get the donations, and the supporter can feel proud that they’ve helped your organization.

TIP: The drawback to Facebook fundraisers is the lack of reporting & data collection. You may not know when a supporter spins up a birthday fundraiser and you will NOT have access to the donor data of their campaign from Facebook. Learn more about the OneCause Facebook integration & reporting with the OneCause peer-to-peer fundraising solution.

For Individuals

Individuals that host birthday fundraisers experience a deeper connection to the causes they care about and the affirmation of doing something good on a day meaningful to them.

According to The Social Donor Study, Occasion & Challenge Donors are one of the most social groups and typically donate to social-only campaigns on a special occasion (like a birthday) or for a challenge (like the Ice Bucket Challenge).

This group is made up of more new donors than repeat donors and is truly dedicated to the ‘social’ aspect of social donations. Fun & social campaign ideas for birthday fundraisers should be the focus of the individual!

This means that these types of campaigns garner a TON of new donors to the nonprofit. Even more of a reason for a nonprofit to focus on getting those new names into their database.

Best Practices for Making the Most of Birthday Fundraisers

Suggest the idea as supporters’ birthdays approach.

The key to empowering your supporters to make the most of birthday fundraisers is communication.

Track supporters’ birthdays in your donor management system so you can send them an early birthday message and encourage them to donate their birthday as it approaches.

Ensure that your messaging outlines the key benefits of birthday fundraising for individuals, which include:

  • Social giving
  • Giving their birthday greater meaning by giving back

TIP: Send a SMS message if possible! Donors (especially younger donors) prefer text as their communication channel.

Provide detailed instructions on how to launch a birthday fundraiser.

After a nonprofit suggests the idea of hosting a birthday charity fundraiser, it’s time to guide the supporter with step-by-step instructions on how to launch a birthday fundraiser.

Especially for first-time peer-to-peer fundraisers, this is helpful to streamline the process and increase the number of people who participate.

A great first step is to give your supporters’ birthday fundraiser ideas! See our list of ideas here.

Technology is key to streamlining the launch of a birthday fundraiser. Add a “Donate a Birthday” option to your website with instructions of how to launch whether you are using a peer-to-peer fundraising platform or Facebook.

This way, supporters can learn more and get to the sign-up process in a click of a button.

TIP: Make sure to have the call-to-action (CTA) stand out so your supporters don’t have to go digging on your website to know how to launch a birthday fundraiser.

Work with a P2P fundraising platform to equip individuals with online fundraising pages.

A participant’s individual fundraising page is what peer-to-peer fundraising is all about—empowering others to share their personal connection to the mission and fundraise on your behalf.

Take a look at your participant page set-up. Make sure it’s easy for participants to:

  • Personalize their fundraising page: Make sharing personal stories, photos, video, etc. seamless for participants.
  • Incorporate email and social media: Provide simplified steps for email and social media integration (if it isn’t included in registration).
  • View individual progress of team members: Let gamification fuel your cause and allow team members to view their progress.
  • Update fundraising progress: Automate progress so your page is always giving your supporters a real-time notion of your progress to your fundraising goal.

The participant page setup lays the foundation for continued engagement and retention. Make it a strong foundation!


Click the image to check out this example of a birthday fundraiser!

Encourage supporters to emphasize their personal connections to your cause.

While the nonprofit organization designs the main fundraising page that serves as the hub of the peer-to-peer campaign, the supporters are responsible for customizing their individual pages to share why your cause is important to them.

The true advantage of a peer-to-peer campaign lends itself to leveraging their social networks—which gives even more reason to optimize your participants pages.

With OneCause, participant pages include:

  • Name
  • Unlimited number of high-quality photos and videos
  • Personal message with the participant’s “why” they’re fundraising
  • Fundraising goal & current total
  • Challenge network
  • Real-time timeline with donations and any personal comments from donors

The more personal the page, the greater the effect of social proof on social donors as a giving motivator.

Suggest realistic fundraising goals with tangible impacts.

Goal setting is crucial for the participant experience and successful fundraising. It is a delicate balance of the nonprofit providing a reasonable recommended goal and giving peer-to-peer participants ownership by having them set a personal fundraising goal.

According to the Social Donor Study, 90% of those with an established fundraising goal met or exceeded that goal.

Peer to Peer Participant Goal Setting

As a nonprofit, consider these items when recommending default goals:

  • Average participant fundraising ($) from past campaigns
  • Consider campaign type: Evaluate the past performance of different campaigns you have executed. Tailor the default goals so they reflect a reasonable amount per campaign type.
  • Personalize goals for returning participants based on their individual past performance

The most important thing a nonprofit can do is have an engaging fundraising technology tool that empowers their peer-to-peer participants and guides them to achieve their fundraising goals.

Leverage the power of social media shares.

One reason that social media is the perfect channel for birthday fundraisers is that there are literally millions of new donors waiting to be engaged online.

Nonprofits (and their peer-to-peer campaign participants) can capitalize on the growing social opportunity by strategically using social media to increase the reach of their birthday campaigns while increasing donations.

TIP: Make sure your technology is setup to automatically sync social profiles. This enables participants to easily recruit others and spread your event, campaign, and cause.

Social media is also the best place for your team and P2P supporters to engage with the largest growing group of charitable donors: Millennials.

With your peer-to-peer supporters organizing birthday fundraisers on the nonprofit’s behalf, they’re showcasing the value and charitable backbone of the nonprofit team. Their efforts:

  • Help bring in new donations
  • Attract new supporters
  • Spread your mission to a wider audience
  • Show how easy it is to fundraise

It’s a win-win for everyone involved!

Most Impactful Birthday Fundraiser Ideas

Online P2P campaignA classic online fundraising campaign is a surefire way to ignite social giving on a birthday. Have your supporters create a specific goal and theme and go all-in on promoting it to their network. With an online birthday fundraiser, supporters can choose to create challenges or simply post to their social channels asking for a donation.
Facebook birthday fundraisersFor those individuals celebrating their birthday, turning to Facebook to create a Facebook birthday fundraiser is as simple as a few clicks. (TIP: Donor data can be exponentially more valuable than a $200 birthday fundraiser. Consider using a peer-to-peer platform for your birthday fundraiser campaigns so you can gather all the data and campaign information in your database.)
Birthday fundraising galaIf a supporter’s birthday donors would appreciate a night of glitz and glamour, a birthday charity gala might be the perfect event! No matter what birthday spin you put on your gala, remember that the best part of these events is getting the chance to connect, share updates about the organization, and rally supporters for a good cause.
Virtual challenge Viral challenges have been a mainstay of digital fundraising over recent years. The move to virtual engagement has only made it easier to engage donors with funny or unique online challenges. Come up with a unique birthday challenge for donors to complete and set up a virtual campaign center to track progress.
Balloon raffleIn the birthday spirit, host a party and fill a number of balloons with either slips of paper with redeemable prizes or a “Thank You Please Try Again’ note. Have a raffle entry at the door, enjoy the party, have each guest pick a balloon, and then start to draw prizes!
T-shirt saleEncourage your Do-It-Yourself birthday supporters to make their own t-shirts unique to them. Empower them with the idea to create t-shirts with: the nonprofit’s logo, birthday date, name of supporter, and unique graphic design. From there, DIY fundraisers can either find a local artist and ask them to design a t-shirt or design it themselves to sell for a donation. People love one-of-a-kind items!
Wishlist Fundraiser Wishlist drives are another easy way to generate support for a birthday fundraiser without necessarily asking for donations. Create an online wishlist of the tangible goods the nonprofit needs. Include a link to your wishlist on your nonprofit’s site to give donors easy access and an alternative to making financial gifts. Just be sure to let them know about the opportunity to support your work through these in-kind birthday fundraiser donations!
Collection driveHaving a birthday fundraiser that collects goods or supplies for your nonprofit’s constituents will allow donors to have a direct impact on the mission. Have the supporter host a part or organize a drop off on the day of their birthday for all objects that ring true to the nonprofit’s mission.

Peer-to-peer fundraising events will be an important part of nonprofits’ strategies going forward. Whether as in-person or virtual campaigns, the DIY peer-to-peer tactic—like birthday fundraisers—give organizations an unprecedented level of flexibility and reach. Plus, they give supporters the ability to call on their network.

With the right technology and strategies on your side, your nonprofit can begin building a strategy to support your most loyal supporters’ birthday wishes—maybe even one of the ideas above!—to secure more support in your future fundraising strategy.

Using comprehensive software like OneCause makes it easy to plan and execute a complete peer-to-peer strategy, including events, ambassadors, online fundraising, and gamification.

Not done? Keep learning with OneCause!

Want to dive deeper into the world of Do-It-Yourself fundraising? We have your back. Check out these resources: