One Good Idea: Virtual Gifting
You probably know Facebook as a social-networking site that allows people to connect with friends, co-workers and classmates; upload photographs; share links and videos; and join community networks that mirror their interests.
But Facebook now is stepping into the fundraising field by allowing users to buy virtual gifts or icons to send to their friends to benefit charity.
Launched in February to coincide with Valentine’s Day, the Facebook Gift Shop began selling 28 icons designed by Macintosh Computer Icon Designer Susan Kare for $1 each. Members can give gifts privately or publicly. Public gifts go in the recipient’s Gift Box, and the message sent with the gift goes on the recipient’s Wall, i.e., Facebook profile. Private gifts go into the recipient’s Gift Box where they can be seen by others but do not reveal the gift giver.
To generate buzz about the icons, Facebook members were offered promotions such as their first gift for free or three icons for a dollar.
According to Meredith Chin, coordinator of corporate communications for Facebook, more than 7 million gifts were either given away or sold in February, with 50 cents of every icon sold going to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a network of breast-cancer survivors and activists devoted to eradicating the disease.
Chin says Facebook chose to work with Susan G. Komen for the Cure after it “discovered that the largest [user-organized] cause-related group on Facebook is dedicated to breast cancer awareness, with more than 800,000 members.”
“We used to do carnations and candy grams … around Valentine’s Day, and I just saw this as a great way to reach young people of America in a way that they communicate today,” says Carrie Hodges, manager of cause marketing and manager of the Facebook relationship for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.