Social media activism gets a bad rap for being all talk and no action — but now there’s a way to both talk and act on one of the most popular social media apps around: Starting today, Instagram has launched donation stickers across the platform in the United States, allowing U.S.-based users to utilize the photo sharing app to raise funds for nonprofit organizations that support causes near and dear to their own hearts. The new fundraising tool was announced on Tuesday — and although it’s currently only available in the United States, Instagram has noted that they’re “working hard to bring the donation sticker to more of our global community in the future,” according to a statement provided to Bustle.
Instagram launched its Stories feature in August of 2016, with stickers arriving as a way to jazz up said Stories in December of that year. But they're not just pretty pictures; they do things, too. Since their initial launch, stickers with a wide variety of added functionalities have made their way to the app, including poll stickers, music stickers, and question stickers.
The donation sticker had a trial run back in February of 2019 as a way to integrate fundraising tools with Instagram. At the time, Mashable reported that the donation sticker could “only be used to benefit registered nonprofit organizations” — that is, it couldn’t be used for personal causes — and noted that no official release date had been announced. Indeed, as The Verge pointed out, Instagram (like most other social media apps and services) tests out new features all the time, with only a portion of them actually being adopted across the platform later on.
But although not all test features make the final cut, the donation sticker did — and now it’s here and ready for you to use. And the best part is, utilizing it is incredibly easy.
To start a fundraiser with the sticker, take or upload a photo within Instagram and tap the “Sticker” icon, just as you would if you were creating any old Stories post. But once you tap the “Sticker” icon, you’ll see a new option in the menu: “Donation.” Tap that, choose the non-profit you want to support, and customize the fundraiser however you like using the creative tools available through Instagram. Then publish your Story the same way you always do, and voila! Your fundraiser will be live. After the Story and its donation sticker are live, you’ll be able to see how much you’ve raised at any time by swiping up on the Story.
Meanwhile, if you see a donation sticker in a Story of someone you follow supporting a cause or organization you’d also like to support, all you have to do is tap the “Donate” button on the sticker and follow the prompts to contribute.
Worth noting is the fact that, according to Instagram, 100 percent of the money you raise through your donation stickers goes to the nonprofit you’re supporting. Many social media-based fundraising campaigns have been criticized in the past for taking a cut of the profits; in fact, Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, has been among those criticized, although Facebook eliminated platform fees for accredited nonprofit organizations in November of 2017 and for personal causes in April of 2018. (The platform fees originally covered things like vetting, operational costs, fraud protection, and payment processing fees. Fundraisers for personal causes do still have a small fee for payment processing and applicable taxes, but the platform fee has otherwise been eliminated.) The Instagram donation sticker, however, has no such fees; the money you raise will go directly to the organization you’re supporting.
Many organizations registered to participate in donation sticker fundraisers have spoken about the good they believe this new Instagram tool can do. “Instagram is one of our most active, diverse, and engaging social media platforms in our arsenal of tools for interacting with our community,” Black Girls CODE founder and CEO Kimberly Bryant said in a statement provided to Bustle. “We utilize Instagram as a tool for creative storytelling around our work with girls across the U.S. and beyond. The ability to connect to our community through pictures, video, and live posts provides a special connection to our tribe which translates concepts into tangible and moving experiences.”
The donation sticker, Bryant noted, is “a great addition to the platform and allows us the ability to move our supporters to action in a seamless and dynamic manner, as they are inspired by the stories of our tech divas.” She continued, “These tools turn intention to action and are indispensable to mission-driven orgs such as BGC.”
Similarly, Clay Dunn, Chief Communications Officer of No Kid Hungry, detailed the impact Facebook’s fundraising tools have had on the organization and praised the addition of Instagram’s donate button as a way to extend that impact even more. Through the launch of Instagram’s donation sticker in Stories and having more options for people to fundraise for causes they support like No Kid Hungry, we’re one step closer to a country where no kid faces hunger,” said Dunn in a statement provided to Bustle.
Organizations currently available to support in Instagram’s donation sticker options include Black Girls CODE, No Kid Hungry, the ASPCA, the Malala Fund, GLAAD, and the Nature Conservancy, among a wide range of others. No doubt more will join later on, too, so no matter what causes you care about, you'll be able to help do good.