Instagram Launches Live Fundraising Platform

Users of Instagram Live can now raise money for their favorite causes, starting today. The unveiling comes a year after Facebook announced a donation sticker for Instagram Stories.

Instagram Live, like Facebook Live, allows users to broadcast live from their smartphone. With social distancing during COVID-19, Instagram reports a 70-percent increase during the past month of people using Instagram Live, from hosting dance parties, to conversations with others, to rap battles.

To use Live Donations, tap the camera in the top left of the Instagram feed, or swipe right in the account feed. Tap “Live” at the bottom of the screen, select Fundraiser, and then choose from a list of nonprofits to support. Users will be presented with nonprofits “Responding to COVID-19,” such as the U.N. Foundation, CDC Foundation and UNICEF USA, as well as charities “Suggested for You.” There are more than 1 million charities from which to choose.

Once a user begins a Live broadcast, they can see how many people are supporting the fundraiser and the amount of money raised in real time. Just as with Facebook Fundraisers, processing fees for donations via Instagram Live are covered by Facebook, so 100 percent of donations go to the selected charity.

Tap “View” to see a breakdown of donors and individual contributions. You can also thank them in real time by tapping “Wave.” People also can “go Live with” another person, or bring in different people to host a telethon-like fundraisers while they’re Live.

Instagram partnered with Brazilian community illustrator @leonatsume to create a custom “I Donated” sticker. Anyone who creates or donates a Live fundraiser or uses the donation stick in Stories will unlock the special sticker for a select period of time. Accounts you follow who use the sticker or donation sticker will be added to a shared story at the front of the Stories bar for a limited time.

Public figures and creators are going Live throughout this week to raise awareness and support causes.

The charities available to donate to via Instagram Live go through the same process as that are available on Facebook. To be eligible, charities must:

  • Be a 501(c)(3) organization registered with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  • Have a tax identification number. Organizations with fiscal sponsorship do not qualify to use Facebook Payments to receive money from donations
  • Have a bank account registered with a licensed financial services institution. Bank account details, including the bank name, bank account holder’s name (organization’s name), and a legible and official bank letter or statement dated within the last three months
  • The date of birth and address of the charity’s CEO or executive director.

Instagram isn’t nearly as popular as Facebook or Twitter among the average nonprofit’s supporters and donors but has been among the fastest growing in recent years. For every 1,000 email addresses, nonprofits had an average of 83 Instagram followers, according to the latest M+R Benchmarks Study, released earlier this month. By comparison, nonprofits had an average of 496 Facebook fans and 221 Twitter followers for every 1,000 email addresses.