This month in Facebook virtual challenges… June 2022

Dan Papworth-Smyth
4 min readJun 28, 2022

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

Lots to chat about this month so let’s get right into it…

  • Macmillan are the first charity I’ve seen using the power of celebrity to drive recruitment for their latest Facebook challenges (one of three they’re recruiting for this month). Wim Hof, the Iceman, has posted a Reel on Instagram to his 2.6m followers to encourage them to take part in the Macmillan Cold Water Challenge which at the time of writing has had 237,000 views.
  • Blood Cancer UK have been taking a different approach with their Facebook challenge recruitment this month, using Facebook’s Instant Experiences functionality to recruit people and drive them to their challenge Group, rather than through lead forms. Leukemia Care are another organisation I’ve seen testing an alternative route, sending people directly to create a fundraiser with GivePanel rather than sending to the Group first. They’re both really interesting approaches and always great to see things you can test and tweak to potentially get increased performance from your campaigns.
  • Meta have published a new case study about American breast cancer charity Susan G Komen’s work with GoodUnited using Facebook Fundraising and Messenger together with ‘Recurring Notifications’, to create what is essentially a mailing list to continue using Messenger to speak with supporters on an ongoing basis instead of email.

‘We know through our data from A/B testing that those who opt into Recurring Notifications and engage with [Susan G] Komen through Messenger come back to support future challenges and raise more on average’
Ben Jones, Director of Optimization at GoodUnited.

  • At Breast Cancer Now, our partners at Trinny London have been taking on our latest challenge (10,000 Steps a Day) and engaging their community to fundraise. Trinny Woodall herself has been posting videos on her Stories about how she’s getting on.
  • In terms of numbers for this month, I’ve only seen 36 Groups this month on Facebook, which is the lowest since February 2022. While there has been fewer Groups, they’ve also been smaller too — with this month’s average down at 2,300 members (only three new event Groups this month has made it past 5,000 members as opposed to seven last month).
  • There have been some really interesting challenges out there though, from GOSH testing a time-sensitive ask around the jubilee weekend, to Shelter’s upcycling challenge, hula hooping with Macmillan, The Children’s Society and Sands with gaming ones, and two ‘plank for [animal]’ challenges in the form of pups and pangolins!
  • On Sands’ gaming challenge, I saw on LinkedIn from Chiara at Sands that their cost per lead for the challenge is 14% of what it was for their walking challenge which is amazing to see as more charities explore this space for fundraising. With around half of all challenges each month being walking or step ones, the competition is far more present than for other areas.
  • I’m anticipating August will be quieter again for Facebook challenges similarly to how it was in 2021 (I found 11 challenge Groups that month), but it’s looking like the challenges that do take place are going to swing massively towards swimming. 75% of challenge Groups I can currently see set up for next month are for swim challenges, with events already set up for Cancer Research UK, Bowel Cancer UK and Pancreatic Cancer UK. This may change as we head into recruitment, but I can imagine this being a push to capitalise on the summer holidays.

Thanks, as always, for reading. If you want to go back and check the previous updates here are May, April, March and February.

p.s. I’m currently recruiting for a Digital Marketing Manager to join my team for 12-months. Applications close this Sunday (3 July) so do take a look if you’re interested or know someone that might be.



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.