Facebook Cuts US Fundraising Fees For 'Personal Causes' Like Surgeries And School Supplies

Facebook is changing its tune when it comes to fees and fundraisers. The company announced in a blog post today that it will eliminate its "platform fees" for all personal fundraisers "in the coming weeks", after charging users in the US a 6.9 per cent fee plus an additional $US0.30 to run various types of personal crowdfunding campaigns on the platform, including for medical issues and other emergencies.

Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty)

This is the second change to Facebook's fundraising service in less than a year. In November, Facebook removed its fees for accredited nonprofit institutions after 42,000 people signed a petition asking that all donation money be used in service of organisations' efforts.

The affected institutions requested that Facebook waive its five per cent fee applied to donations, in particular for the Syrian American Medical Society after it raised $US1.5 million ($2 million) using Facebook Fundraisers and was required to pay $US85,000 ($112,671) in service fees.

The organisation's vice-president said that $US85,000 ($112,671) could be used to treat "about 10,000 people," Reuters reported, an obvious benefit paired with a pretty reasonable argument, as Facebook already mints money displaying ads across its platform.

Now the fee waiver is trickling down to normal people raising money for medical expenses or community projects. The news means people organising personal fundraisers will get to keep a bit more of the cash they receive. Still, they will be expected to pay any applicable taxes and for payment processing.

"In the coming weeks, we're eliminating the platform fee on all fundraisers for personal causes, so that people can maximise their fundraising support," said Facebook's Asha Sharma in the announcement.

"Based on feedback from our community, we're adding fundraiser categories for family (like adoption or new baby supplies), faith (like missions or religious community events), travel (like educational trips or travel for medical needs), and volunteering (like volunteer programs or supplies) causes."

The "personal causes" umbrella already included Facebook-defined categories such as personal emergency, education and medical.

That play makes Facebook a pretty enticing spot when it comes to raising money, especially compared to other crowdfunding sites that don't have the luxury of running a low-fee fundraising platform. In the US, GoFundMe charges a 7.9 per cent total fee plus an additional $US0.30 per donation for certified charity organisations, but waives its platform fee for personal fundraisers (although users will still be paying taxes and a 2.9 per cent payment processing fee plus an additional $US0.30).

Australians on GoFundMe are charged a 7.25 per cent total fee plus an additional $0.30 per donation, and may be subject to an international 1.15 per cent processing fee. However, while Australians cannot create Facebook fundraisers for charity, they are able to create them for personal causes, and there are already no fees.

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