Troubleshooters: Non-profit seeks help to access funds raised on Facebook

A local non-profit reaches out to the Troubleshooters for help after finding out they can't access money raised online.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Fundraising on social media is growing in popularity. People have raised billions of dollars across Facebook and Instagram.

But one local non-profit found itself missing thousands of dollars in donation money and then got locked up in Facebook's bureaucracy, requiring the Troubleshooters' help to get it out.

"I can sleep now. I can sleep pretty good now," said Louisa McLeod of Bensalem, Bucks County.

That's after McLeod said a local non-profit called The Christmas Gala helped pay her overdue electric bill.

"I'm very grateful and I'm very happy that there are people like her out there," said McLeod.

Cheryl Campbell founded the Bristol-based organization in 2009 to assist seniors with everyday essentials and emergency needs.

"My team would make 150 bags and would drop them on the doorknobs of the elderly," said Campbell.

The Christmas Gala relies on donations and, like many charities, one way it raises money is through Facebook. Fundraising is now free on Facebook, as well as Instagram, and is growing in popularity.

By March 2021, people raised $5 billion for charities on those platforms. By December 2021, over $6 billion have been raised.

"Facebook is really cool. They have a donate button," explained Campbell.

It worked for The Christmas Gala for years. But then in October 2021, Campbell discovered $7,700 of The Christmas Gala's Facebook donations never made it into the charity's bank account.

"It turns out that we never went into Facebook and changed our checking account with them so they could deposit the money to us," she said.

So Campbell changed it, but still couldn't get the donations. She said for four months she emailed Facebook and sent every document the company asked for but still no deposit and no one to talk to on the phone.

"It's mind-boggling that there's no resources to reach out to them. There's nobody, they literally tell you 'we don't talk to anybody,'" she said.

That's when she contacted the Troubleshooters for help.

Facebook told Action News that when Campbell updated the banking information, it failed to save that information and it apologizes.

After the Troubleshooters got on the case, The Christmas Gala also finally got all of its money.

"So that is just amazing. I cannot thank you guys enough for helping me," she said.

Campbell said she does plan to continue raising money through Facebook but there are a few lessons we can all take away from this.

Number one: check your accounts regularly so you can immediately flag missing payments.

Number two: understand how to get quicker payments. Payouts via Facebook Payments are processed every two weeks, Network for Good processes payouts between 45-75 days and PayPal Giving Fund between 15 to 90 days.

And in case you're wondering, Facebook does vet nonprofits and looks at documents to ensure they are in good standing with the IRS or global equivalent.

It also has a review process designed to identify and remove potentially fraudulent fundraisers.

And when you click that donate button rest assured the individual creator of the campaign never has access to the money that's raised. It is disbursed directly to the beneficiary organization.
Copyright © 2022 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.