My 26th birthday came and went already and what I’m most excited about (other than the weekend trip we took to Bruges) is the money I was able to pull together from generous friends for Free Geek!  As you can see from the screenshot below, I exceeded my goal and Free Geek will be seeing nearly $350 coming its way!

THANK YOU to all of you who donated and supported my Birthday Cause; it means SO much to me!

I first talked about the Birthday Cause application on Facebook in December when I set it up for my birthday.  In addition to the Thank You, I wanted to share some thoughts about the Birthday Cause application and my experience using it for my birthday fundraiser.

It’s super EASY

It came to me, always. When conducting a campaign at your organization, you’ve probably experienced that you get a better return (whether it’s donations, volunteers, sign-ups, or whatever else) when you reach out to people often with direct opportunities.  Causes’ Birthday Cause application does just that when you set it up.

It emailed me two weeks before my birthday to let me know that I could use the application, and once I had it set up, it emailed me every day with direct links to help me make the most of the tool.  Birthday Cause “Tip of the Day” emails included actions for setting my status, emailing contacts, personalized asking, setting notifications and more.  Here are some examples:

Setting your Status:

Dear Amy,

Just 11 days left until your Birthday!

Congratulations on having raised $234 from 9 donors. Great work! If you haven’t already, take a look at your birthday cause page to see if they left you any birthday greetings, and stop by your promotion page to thank them.

Tip of the Day: Setting Your Status
Every time you change your status, all of your friends can see the update. We’ve created a set of status messages for you to chose from that link directly to your Birthday Cause. Choosing a new one each day is an easy way to make sure your friends know about your birthday cause. To change your status just go here: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/birthdays/29850/status?m=7835d9b4

Keep up the good work,
The Causes Team

Birthday Cause Page:

Dear Amy,

Just 12 days left until your Birthday!

Congratulations on having raised $182 from 7 donors. Great work! If you haven’t already, take a look at your birthday cause page to see if they left you any birthday greetings, and stop by your promotion page to thank them.

Tip of the Day: Your Birthday Cause Page
Your quote is the most important thing on your birthday cause page. Its what your friends will see when they go to the page, and what will help them decide if they want to donate or not. Spend some time making it look nice, and explaining why your birthday cause is important to you. To edit your quote, click ‘Edit Birthday Cause’ from your cause page, or click on this link: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/birthdays/29850/edit?m=7835d9b4

Keep up the good work,
The Causes Team

Inviting Friends:

Dear Amy,

Just 1 days left until your Birthday!

Congratulations on having raised $312 from 12 donors. Great work! If you haven’t already, take a look at your birthday cause page to see if they left you any birthday greetings.

Tip of the Day: Invite More Friends
You can now send more Birthday Requests through Facebook. This is one of the most effective ways to let people know about your Birthday Cause. Invite More Friends

Keep up the good work,
The Causes Team

Email:

Dear Amy,

Just 10 days left until your Birthday!

Congratulations on having raised $286 from 11 donors. Great work! If you haven’t already, take a look at your birthday cause page to see if they left you any birthday greetings, and stop by your promotion page to thank them.

Tip of the Day: Email
Email is an effective way to get in touch with large numbers of your friends and let them know about your birthday cause.

We have set up an easy way for you to email all of your friends with the Causes application. You can do this up to two times, at any time up to and including the day of your birthday. To do so now, click on this link: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/birthdays/29850/email?m=7835d9b4

Thanks,
Amy

Keep up the good work,
The Causes Team

One to One Requests:

Dear Amy,

Just 8 days left until your Birthday!

Congratulations on having raised $312 from 12 donors. Great work! If you haven’t already, take a look at your birthday cause page to see if they left you any birthday greetings, and stop by your promotion page to thank them.

Tip of the Day: One to One Requests
People are most responsive to one-to-one requests. If you have some friends that you are comfortable enough with to ask specifically to donate, doing so is the most effective thing you can do to raise money for your Birthday Cause.

You can make these requests by posting to the walls of these friends from your Birthday Cause promotion page. You can get to that page by clicking ‘Promote your Birthday Cause’ from your cause page or clicking this link: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/birthdays/29850/promote?m=7835d9b4

Keep up the good work,
The Causes Team

Notifications:

Dear Amy,

Just 9 days left until your Birthday!

Congratulations on having raised $286 from 11 donors. Great work! If you haven’t already, take a look at your birthday cause page to see if they left you any birthday greetings, and stop by your promotion page to thank them.

Tip of the Day: Notifications
Notifying your friends about your birthday cause is a good way to spread the word. We allow you to send up to three notifications to your friends about your birthday cause. You can even queue up notifications to be sent automatically the day before your birthday and on your birthday. To send notifications, click on this link: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/birthdays/29850/notify?m=7835d9b4

Keep up the good work,
The Causes Team

The direct links (most are hidden in the above examples as they were hyperlinked text into my account) helped me jump straight to where I needed to be to let my friends know about my cause.  Not only did it make getting the word out about the cause easy, but it helped me stay on top of the donations so I could properly thank my donors!  This is a huge bonus point for the Birthday Cause application because publicly thanking supporters is one of the biggest keys to keeping up the momentum of your fundraising appeal (because not only to donors feel appreciated, but also more inclined to tell their friends about the opportunity – plus, it’s another public mentioning of your campaign!).  Here’s what the email looks like when someone donates:

Lori Faye has donated $26 to your birthday cause! You have now raised $26 from 1 friend and need 9 more to meet your goal.

Thank Your Friends For Donating

Thanks,
The Causes Team

The emails has a direct link to my Birthday Cause page where I can read Lori’s message and thank her.

I was worried when I first set up the application that it would end up being more work to maintain than I had in the midst of holiday season.  Instead, I didn’t feel like I was doing any work at all and yet saw the donations streaming in!

It’s actually FUN

It let me connect with my friends, all over. Facebook is a tool I use to stay connected to my friends and family all over the world.  Regardless of where I’m travelling or currently based, I know everyone is just a click or two away.  That’s why it was such a great opportunity to celebrate my birthday INSIDE Birthday Causes because I’m now a continent away from most of my friends and family.  Connecting with friends as they donated was such a thrill, with people contributing to the Birthday Cause from all over the globe.  I was always excited to get an email from Causes and could never even guess who it would be from each time.

It’s designed to WORK

I really like when things just work.  Like I said, I wasn’t sure how much time I would have with the holidays and our planned travels.  It didn’t matter though, because the application did everything I would have needed it to do. Of course, everything could always work a little better, right?  Here are some of my suggestions to Causes to improve the Birthday Cause application:

  • #1.  I was always unsure whether it would send a request/invite to people who had already donated and that made me less inclined to send out messages repeatedly
  • #2.  I wish that I could have personalized the groups more specifically – if I said I wanted the application to automatically alert my friends at certain intervals, I wanted to also say which friends at which intervals instead of the option being the same for all of it
  • #3.  I know that the Birthday Cause is supposed to help you raise money for a cause of your choice, but I wish I could have had other options beyond giving money – Free Geek is a dynamic organization and I would have liked to encourage people to donate money, but also to pledge to volunteer, register their donated computer parts towards the Birthday Cause, and so on with all of it counting towards my goal
  • #4.  If people donated close together chronologically, the application would only alert me to the most recent donation, so some times I didn’t realize people had donated  to thank them in a timely way
  • #5.  I would have preferred it if my Thank You messages to my donors could have shown up on the Birthday Cause page as well as on their profiles, the same way the application creates posts to my profile when they donate and leave a message

I think it’s a great way to celebrate your birthday and support your favorite organization at the same time.  Learn more about Causes here and how you can use the Birthday Cause application for your special day!

Happy Birthday, Beth!

My good friend Beth Kanter’s birthday is coming up quickly and guess what, she is using Birthday Causes to raise funds!  If you want to wish Beth a happy birthday, you can donate to her Birthday Cause to help support The Sharing Foundation.  Learn more and support Beth here.

Birthday Cause Wrapped Up
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  • thanks for the shoutout! I think there’s a lot of good here .. a few things I didn’t like … but you’re what’s more fun than a birthday?

  • You’re welcome – happy (almost) birthday! 🙂

    A few things you didn’t like about the application? I’m sure you’ll post about it and I’ll be sure to keep the conversation going when you do.

    Thanks, Beth!

  • Amy,

    You know I got notices right away via email when someone had donated – in fact three of them – one from my birthday cause, one from the Sharing Foundation Cause (because I’m the administrator) and also because of the wall posts. I think the application is still in version 1.0 so working out the kinks.

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  • Thanks, Beth! Good to hear. I think they are definitely still working out kinks and I’m glad to hear that the notifications are working better for you. I am an admin on The Sharing Foundation’s Cause from a previous fundraising campaign and I get notification emails whenever someone donates to your Birthday Cause. One thing I thought was interesting though, is that I didn’t get a notification that the cause had been selected for a Birthday Cause. I think that is another very useful piece of the puzzle that Causes should add so that cause administrators can be aware of opportunities to help others who are helping out their cause.

    Thanks for letting me know about your experience with the notifications!

  • Hi Amy,

    I’m glad you had such a good experience with the Birthday Cause feature, and thank you so much for the constructive criticism and suggestions. Some of your suggestions are already on our list of things to try (such as providing better mechanisms for knowing what messages are going to whom), but others are great ideas that we haven’t explored yet. I especially like the idea of thanking going both on the wall & the birthday cause page, similar to how the messages the donors leave work; we’ll be discussing these to see if we can come up with a good way to incorporate that.

    Thanks!

    Kevin Ball
    Causes

  • Hi Kevin-

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing feedback from Causes’ side of things; I really appreciate it. What strikes me most about the application is that it clearly is geared towards staying a step ahead of the user to make fundraising/campaigning really easy – but I found myself getting ahead of the application when it came to feeling like I was properly thanking my donors and providing them with opportunities to support my cause, as I touched on in the post regarding non-financial contribution opportunities and such.

    Please keep me and the readers posted with further opportunities to provide feedback and ideas!

    Thanks again!

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