Fundraising Through Facebook

Friends and Family Grant Patient's Birthday Wish through Facebook

Just over two weeks before his 51st birthday, Stuart Berwick received a message from Facebook Causes: “Your birthday is coming up. Why not celebrate by asking your friends and family to support a cause that’s important to you and create a Facebook Birthday Wish?” Within minutes Stu had set up his Facebook Birthday Wish, set a fundraising goal, and sent his first (of many) messages to family and friends about this fun and unique way to say “Happy Birthday!”

Facebook Causes

Stu Berwick's Facebook ProfileFacebook Causes is an application that helps individuals leverage their social network to effect positive change. Any Facebook user can create a cause, recruit their friends to that cause, keep everyone who supports the cause up-to-date on issues and, last but not least, raise money directly through the cause to support a registered U.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit or Canadian registered charity.

Stu became an active participant in PHA’s Facebook Cause in January 2010. Up until then, he had primarily used Facebook for fun, games and limited socializing. “I realized I had wasted a year,” Stu says, and from that moment forward he pledged to himself to find every single PH patient on Facebook.

As Stu made more contacts on Facebook, he built his network of PH Facebook friends, which in turn helped him find more and more PHers all across the world. “My ultimate goal,” Stu says, “is to become the clearing-house for PH information on Facebook.” At this point, Stu is so well-known in the PH Facebook community that he no longer has to seek out patients — they find him through his many PH-related activities on Facebook, such as his Facebook Causes activities.

Stu's Birthday Wish

Stu originally set a modest $250 goal for his Facebook Birthday Wish. And, thanks to generous donations from family, friends and his many online PH friends, Stu exceeded his original goal in just a week. But Stu didn’t stop there. He continued to send messages to everyone he knew — those who used Facebook and those who didn’t — asking them to make a donation to PHA in honor of his birthday. By the close of his Facebook Birthday Wish, Stu had raised $410 for PHA from 12 donors. “There is nothing anyone could buy me that equals their making a gift to PHA,” Stu says. “Not even close.”

Stu’s campaign wasn’t without its challenges. For 10 days during his Birthday Wish, he experienced technology problems at home and was without Internet access. “I’m going to do so much better next time,” Stu says. “My Internet issues have been resolved, and now my Facebook network is so much larger. Who knows how much I’ll be able to raise!”

ComputerOther Ways to Raise Funds with Family and Friends

Facebook isn’t the only way you can ask friends and family to support a cause so important to you. PHA has two programs that are similar to Facebook Birthday Wishes: Web of Friends, which gives you a personal fundraising page where you can share your PH story and ask others for donations to PHA, and In Honor of Our Lives, a special program for incorporating PH fundraising in personal milestone celebrations.

To learn more about Facebook Birthday Wishes, Web of Friends, In Honor of Our Lives or the many other ways you can help raise funds for PH research and patient and family services, contact Maggie Bahrmasel at or call 301-565-3004 x756.

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The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) awarded PHA the Abbey S. Meyers Leadership Award in 2012 for outstanding service to PHA members in advocacy, education and other key areas.