I have a birthday coming up and over the weekend I received an email from Causes, the social change application in Facebook. Here’s what it said:
Happy (Almost) Birthday!
Thanks to Facebook, in two weeks all of your friends will see that it’s your birthday. Instead of just writing on your wall, or giving you something you don’t need, what if they had a chance to help a cause you believe in? Whether you want to raise money for clean water in Ethiopia, vaccinations for children in Haiti, or a safe home for a puppy in Mississipi, with a Birthday Cause your friends can give in honor of your special day.
Select your Birthday Cause today: Get Started – Learn More
Have a very happy birthday,
The Causes Team
Since we moved over here just 3 months ago, I knew that my birthday wasn’t going to be spent with all my friends from home (we are going to travel a bit though, so it’ll still be a fun day!). No birthday party meant no one buying presents. I wouldn’t have wanted the gifts anyway, but know that people like to give them, just as much as I do for their special days. So, I figured this would help friends celebrate my birthday with me, but help out a worthy organization, at the same time!
I clicked through and created my birthday cause in support of Free Geek! (I’ve talked about Free Geek before and why I think they are a great organization.)
The process was simple, straightforward, easy, and most importantly, empowering. Causes has done a great job to put the tools in the user’s hands to personalize their message, pick a cause/organization that they care about, and choose the avenues for publicizing their cause that fit their community (I didn’t want to email every person right away but just those using Causes, for example, and didn’t want to email people as often automatically as I new I would email people personally, etc.).
After I finished personalizing my Birthday Cause and alerting friends about it, I was able to place a widget on my profile so people could see it when they visited my page. I just want to point out, this was the easiest application process I’ve ever seen: it did everything for me and I just chose what, when and where. Even putting the widget on my page was done for me, I just clicked where I wanted it to sit!
When friends donate to the Birthday Cause, they are able to write a message that appears on my Facebook Wall. It’s great because they get recognized as donors immediately, I get to have a birthday greeting from them, and others see the donations coming in and click through themselves to check it out.
I receive notifications by email when friends donate, and can click through from the emails to thank them, send out messages, and more. The Causes application has really done it right with the Birthday Cause process.
The first person who tried to donate, my friend Rose Vines (a wonderfully kind, and incredibly smart woman), experienced an issue with the site and it wouldn’t let her donate – the worst situation for potential donors! She let me know what happened and I immediately emailed the Causes team at the email address in their help section. I received two emails from Dave: 1. just after sending in the message about the issue, he let me know they were aware of the problem and were working on it 2. the next day he emailed again to say the problem was fixed and everything should be up and running. Though, in just that little time, I’d already had 7 successful donations and one of them was from Rose!
The next time you have a birthday, if you use Facebook, I’d encourage you to try out the Facebook Causes’ Birthday Cause application and have fun raising funds in celebration of your birthday and the great work of one of your favorite organizations!