This month in Facebook virtual challenges… August 2022

Dan Papworth-Smyth
5 min readAug 31, 2022

Observations of what’s going on in the world of Facebook virtual challenges

  • The big news this month is that Meta are officially rolling out their native Facebook challenges platform! This marks a huge change for the how the platform is embracing this method of fundraising given the millions and millions being raised globally this way.
Screenshot showing a totaliser on Facebook of an amount raised, a target an the number of participants

What does this actually mean though?

  • The ability to create pre-populated challenge-specific fundraisers on Facebook without needing a third party for ‘one-click’ forms, or an API integration. All making it much quicker to get yourself started and give these challenges a test if you haven’t already done so.
  • Ensure all your participants have correct end dates and branding for their pages to maximise their fundraising and reduce multiple pages. Something that can make a massive difference, and reduce frustrating messages when peoples’ pages close early.
  • Have a live totaliser for your challenge Group (like the one in the image above), so the whole team can see progress and work towards a shared goal. Groups can be so important in terms of instilling the social proof and team mentality.
  • As part of their playbook, Meta lay out the plan for how to run these fundraisers yourself, right the way down to the recruitment using Ad Manager, as well as user journey and timeframes.
  • You need to be on the New Pages Experience to be able to access this. This can be a tricky transition for a Page, particularly in terms of staff access to it, so it’s worth ensuring that this is done with plenty of time ahead of setting up your challenge so you’re not juggling any issues alongside running the event.
  • All of this doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t also look into platforms than can add value around thanking, group management, data collection, merchandise forms, etc. as those will remain valuable areas that not everyone has the resource to handle the whole challenge alone.

You can download the full playbook here.

  • In other news, this month I’ve seen an increase in total challenge groups (highest since June), and membership increasing after August’s dip. That said, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a new Group with more than 10,000 members, so congratulations to Great Ormond Street for their squat challenge reaching 16,500 members.
A pie chart showing the split of virtual challenge events: walk has 42%, run 16%, fitness 16%, swim 8%, other 8%, cycle 5% and craft 5%
  • While I’m mostly talking about September challenges that have been recruiting, it’s already shaping up to be a HUGE October with at least 31 events Groups already out there (almost as many as all of August, and September hasn’t even started yet). I wouldn’t be surprised if this is one of the busiest months we’ve seen given that usually ahead of the start of a month I see a third to a half of challenge Groups created, so I think there’s a lot more to come!
  • There are some great tests out there this month, from Refuge with an Ironwoman challenge (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run) alongside baking and push ups, a variety from Teenage Cancer Trust (see later in this post), and some cool sounding step challenges and more dancing ones too.
  • Speaking of tests I always love seeing them out in the wild, and this one from BHF really intrigued me when I was targeted by the adverts but couldn’t find a matching Group. It looks like it could be a great way to build an early retargeting list for a challenge not yet launching, but will definitely be interesting to see the learnings they’re gathering and how it’ll shape their next event(s).
Screenshot of ads from BHF on Facebook for an October running event which is in testing
  • It’s interesting to see Facebook challenges popping up in unexpected places, like this squat challenge from JDRF over on LinkedIn now. Will we start to see more challenges marketed cross-platform? Always keen to hear about how others are opening up that recruitment to audiences elsewhere and bringing them back to Facebook.
Screenshot showing a post from JDRF on LinkedIn advertising their squat challenge on Facebook
  • Some interesting insight from the Australian market from GivePanel, who shared on LinkedIn that when they looked at the top 10 challenges by income raised in 2022 so far, 21.7% of income came from dog walking challenges, 19.4% from 10,000 steps a day challenges, and 19.3% from planking challenges. Sit ups and crunches made up the smallest proportion of income in those top events.
  • Something very exciting has been seeing Sands’ WhatsApp stewardship with the team at SocialMind for their current dog walking challenge. There’s been a lot of talk over the past months about the value that SMS and WhatsApp can bring to a journey, so it’s great to get to see such stewardship in action. The ability to include a lovely video from a member of the team working on the event is an ace touch, and while it’s recorded for everyone still feels very personal and special.
Screenshot of a WhatsApp conversation as part of the stewardship for Sands’ dog walking challenge
  • Lastly, I spotted these great new challenge designs from a friend at Teenage Cancer Trust for their challenges for September. It’s great to see design like this really helping to make events stand out from each other in this busy marketplace, particularly as it becomes increasingly common for charities to have two, three, or more challenges active at the same time.
Artwork for three Teenage Cancer Trust challenges including crafting, dip a day, and skipping

That’s it for another month, thanks as always for reading and sharing. In case you’ve missed them, here’s July, June, May, April, March and February’s blog entries.

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Dan Papworth-Smyth

Head of Digital Engagement at @BreastCancerNow, formerly of Breast Cancer Care and @TeenageCancer. Sometimes I take photos too. Views are my own.