Instagram Testing ‘Personal Fundraisers’ Right In The App
Look out, GoFundMe.
Instagram announced Tuesday that it’s launching a new capability called Personal Fundraisers. Beginning with a small test for Android users in the U.S., U.K., and Ireland, and eventually coming to iOS, Instagram users can start a fundraiser that personally benefits them for a host of eligible reasons, including medical emergencies, hobbies, business support, and more.
Facebook, which owns Instagram, already allows for personal fundraisers on its platform. Nonprofits registered as businesses on Instagram can also already use their profiles to raise funds through a donation button, a donation sticker for stories, and live fundraisers in stories. The test means fundraising now comes to profiles that aren’t registered as businesses.
Instagram launched the new donation option with a video exemplifying several types of personal causes: a “digital tip jar” for a coffee shop; a fund to support a racially equitable art project. Instagram will have to approve the fundraisers. However, the eligible categories are pretty broad, and it’s easy to see how the button could turn from altruistic to narcissistic in the hands of certain social media personalities.
Still, need is very much there amid the COVID-19 crisis, as businesses and individuals turn to their communities for financial help to stay afloat. Facebook says people have donated over $100 million since January for coronavirus-related causes. Donations have also surged to support the Black Lives Matter movement and racial justice.
Other digital companies have met the moment with new fundraising tools, too. Yelp partnered with GoFundMe to integrate a donation button directly into the platform. That landed the company in some hot water when businesses that never signed up for donations found the button on their business pages; Yelp responded by making it opt-in.
Having donation options directly within the Instagram app makes the process of getting money to the causes you care about that much more seamless. But the integration could be bad news for GoFundMe, which says it’s “the #1 fundraising platform.” Perhaps not for long.