This February, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) turns 19 years old. For nearly two decades, PanCAN has been dedicated to working with a nationwide network to advance research, support patients and create hope for those affected by pancreatic cancer. None of this would be possible without the thousands of donors and corporate partners who generously give anywhere from $25 to $25,000 and even $25 million.

Now, donating to end the world’s toughest cancer is easier and more convenient than ever before thanks to a new tool on the world’s most popular social media site, Facebook.

Happy Facebook Birthday to You

Facebook users can choose from 750,000 U.S. nonprofits to donate to. PanCAN is one of them.

The new Facebook fundraising tool allows users to create a fundraising page and ask friends for donations to their favorite nonprofit.

Since it started, Facebook fundraisers have helped raise more than $500,000 for PanCAN, which helps the organization tackle this disease on all fronts: researchclinical initiativespatient services and advocacy. It also moves PanCAN toward the 2020 goals of raising $200 million and doubling the five-year survival rate.

Here is the experience of a few birthday Facebook fundraisers:

  • “When I turned the big 25, I began the year that marked 10 years without my mom. Though she hadn’t been with us for a long time, she had a 16-month battle with pancreatic cancer, a long and admirable battle at the time. Ten years ago, most other people diagnosed with this cancer had a handful of months left in their lives. I am greatly thankful that my mom had the time she did, and that I got to share that time with her. During her fight, she used the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and their support, advice and care made such an impact.” – Sarah Pfeifle, turned 25 on Sept. 23, 2017
  • While birthdays are the highlight of Facebook’s fundraising tool, users can actually set up a fundraiser for any special occasion, from graduation to an anniversary.

  • “Don’t be afraid to have realistic goals in the beginning. You can raise the goals later if you want. I asked for $200 to begin with and made that within 24 hours. I then raised my goal to $500 and that was reached a few days later. I raised it to $700 and kept going until I eventually got more than $900. I’m not sure about the psychology behind it, but I feel that the more realistic the goal, the more apt people will be to donate. After a decent amount has been donated, and the goal raised reasonably, people will continue to donate to help close the modest gap between where the donations stand and the new goal.” – Alger C. Newberry III, turned 32 on Oct. 15, 2017
  • “Pancreatic Cancer is no joke. In 2016, the disease moved from the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S. to the third, surpassing breast cancer. They predict that by 2020 it will be the number two cause of cancer death. It’s not hard to donate $1 that you might end up losing in the wash anyway. At least this $1 will go to a good cause and not a lost cause.” – Brody Patterson, turned 23 on Jan. 12, 2018

How Can You Donate Your Birthday to PanCAN?

  1. Go to Facebook fundraising
  2. Enter “Pancreatic Cancer Action Network” in the search bar
  3. Enter the amount you’d like to raise and the deadline to donate
  4. Give your fundraiser a catchy title and tell your story
  5. Select a cover photo
  6. Click the “publish” button

4 Ideas for an Effective Facebook Fundraiser

Ask friends for an exact amount. For example, instead of a birthday lunch, ask 10 of your friends to chip in $5 apiece.

  1. Make your birthday (or special occasion) the actual deadline to donate.This requires some planning ahead but can be useful if you still need to meet your goal. You can use messaging to bridge that gap, for example:“Hey guys! Today is my birthday and I’m still $80 away from my $350 fundraising goal. Instead of buying me a birthday coffee, would you donate to PanCAN instead?”
  2. Share your story. Donors may be more inclined to give if they understand your intentions. Why PanCAN? Who are you doing this for? Telling your Facebook network your personal connection to pancreatic cancer can help you meet and even exceed your goal.
  3. Ask for an exact amount.While some friends may be compelled to make large donations, asking all your friends for a small donation might be more manageable, such as:“Friends and family: You know what’s better than birthday drinks? Helping find a cure for pancreatic cancer. Instead of happy hour, please consider giving $5 to my Facebook fundraiser for PanCAN.”
  4. Use Facebook to spread the word. Once you’ve created the fundraising event, be sure to share it with friends. As the deadline approaches, consider sending additional messages one week out, a few days out and on the actual deadline day.

Wage Hope Your Way

Brody Patterson used his birthday to raise money for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

What if you don’t have a Facebook presence? We’ve got that covered! Wage Hope My Way is PanCAN’s personal fundraising platform and allows anyone with an internet connection to set up a fundraising page for their athletic event, tribute page, special occasion or any other creative idea. Once the fundraiser sets up his or her page, they can tell their story, post pictures and update donors with fundraising info.

Just remember that any fundraising you do on Facebook cannot go towards PurpleStride or Wage Hope My Way. If you want funds to go towards those fundraisers, it’s best to send donors a direct link to those pages.

There are lots of ways to help PanCAN fund awareness, research and patient services. Check out PanCAN’s Ways to Give for more information.