8 Steps to Start an Inspirational Birthday Fundraiser

Person blowing out candles on a birthday cake
| 6 min read Fundraiser Promotion

Creating a birthday fundraiser is a popular way to give back to a cause or charity you care about on your special day. It works by choosing an issue or nonprofit organization you’d like to raise money for, then asking friends and family members to forgo birthday gifts and donate to your fundraiser for charity instead. If you’d like to shake things up this year, this guide provides birthday fundraiser ideas and explains how to donate your birthday to charity so everyone can celebrate.

How to create a birthday fundraiser

From writing the perfect fundraiser story to reaching out to your network for support, these tips will give you ideas on how to start a birthday fundraiser that puts you on the path to success.

1. Make your birthday the fundraiser deadline date

Deadlines are “ticking clocks” that inspire donors to respond faster. Raising funds around a birthday creates a natural deadline that compels people to donate. It also gives you permission to gently remind people to make a donation to your birthday charity of choice. With a birthday fundraiser, you can make the deadline the date of your birthday, or the day after your birthday.

Tip: Start your birthday fundraiser a few weeks before your actual birthday to give people enough time to see it and donate!

2. Draw others into your story

A birthday or other special date creates a natural storytelling opportunity, and telling your fundraiser story is a crucial part of crowdfunding. Your story should answer basic questions any reader would have: who, what, where, when, why, and how. You’ll also want to give your fundraiser a catchy fundraiser title to grab readers’ attention. If you have decided to raise money for a specific charity or nonprofit, explain to potential donors why the organization you’ve chosen is so important to you. Consider this an opportunity to educate your readers about the charity or cause you are fundraising for.

Also, make sure to answer these questions in your fundraiser story:

  • What will the funds be used for?
  • How are you connected to the cause?
  • Why is the charity or cause special to you?
  • When it comes to fundraising, the why is particularly important—why does the recipient or organization need this donation?

Don’t forget, adding fundraiser images and videos can also help readers engage with your story and want to learn more.

3. Use social media to spread your message

To get the most from your birthday fundraiser, take advantage of all the tools that social media offers. If you’re consistent about sharing your fundraiser, you’ll be able to achieve successful social media fundraising. For specific social media fundraising ideas, see these blog posts:

4. Make a specific request of your supporters

People are often more likely to donate if you ask for a specific donation amount. Why not ask everyone to give up their daily latte for your birthday and instead donate $5 to your cause? This type of very specific request enables people to donate a reasonable amount without having to overthink the process.

5. Don’t forget to share offline

To raise as much as possible, you’ll want to take your sharing strategy beyond Facebook messages and posts. Fundraising without social media can mean writing personal emails to your contacts, sending text messages, or talking to people face-to-face about your cause.

6. Why not fundraise for other important dates, too?

You can borrow these birthday fundraiser ideas and fundraise for other important dates as well. Think of any anniversaries, yahrzeits, memorials, or other dates from your personal life that could have a significant connection to your fundraiser or cause. Raising money on Giving Tuesday or Breast Cancer Awareness Month are just a few other ideas.

7. Plan a birthday party that doubles as a fundraising event

Who doesn’t love a birthday party? And when it’s also for a good cause or nonprofit organization, there’s more reason to celebrate. A birthday party fundraiser event serves a few purposes—they help you raise money for your cause, bring communities together for a common purpose, and spread awareness of your cause in unique ways. Meeting with your friends and family face-to-face in a casual environment also gives you an opportunity to ask for support in a low-pressure way.

For ideas and inspiration, see our blog post on fundraising event ideas.

8. Take advantage of fundraising resources

If you need some extra support as you plan your birthday fundraiser, we’ve got top fundraising tips to help:

A quick look at successful birthday fundraisers

If you’re wondering how to create a birthday party fundraiser that’s successful, take a look at what these individuals did. They wanted to do something extra special on their birthdays, so they turned to GoFundMe to raise money for causes they care about.

Special Needs K9 – Rocco’s Birthday Fundraiser

Animal lover Rocco Reyes dedicated his birthday to raise money for rescue dogs. His fundraiser is supporting Special Needs K9, a nonprofit that rescues dogs with medical problems and behavioral issues from high-kill shelters. Often, these dogs have been abused, used for dogfighting, or have expensive-to-treat conditions. Special Needs K9 funds healthcare for these rescue pups and gives them training so they can be welcomed into the homes of foster families. Rocco’s birthday fundraiser has raised over $1,000 on GoFundMe.

Support Sean to Help Himself and His Community

Around Christmas in 2020, Sean found a wallet in a dumpster while he himself was experiencing homelessness. Sean wanted to do the right thing, so he returned the wallet with everything in it to its owner, a woman with a 12-year-old granddaughter named Mikayla. For her birthday, Mikayla and her mother, Vanessa, organized a fundraiser for Sean to help get him back on his feet as he waits for a housing voucher in Marin County, California. Long term, Mikayla and her family would like to partner with Sean to create a tiny house community for people experiencing homelessness in the City of San Rafael. However, they’ve raised over $55,000 and have completed their short-term goal of getting Sean back on his feet.

Multiply your impact by starting a birthday fundraiser

Creating a birthday fundraiser is a special opportunity to bring people together for the purpose of reaching a common goal. What better way to unite people than with a birthday or other special date? GoFundMe makes it easy to reach your goals faster with our easy fundraising platform, and our Customer Care team is always ready to help you every step of the way. Start a fundraiser now and get the party started.

Written by Brittany Chambers

I believe we all have the power to make a difference. Through informative and heartfelt content, I hope to create change and inspire others to give back to those who need it most.