Average Alternatives

A Non-Average Birthday on Facebook

Since I’m neither a celebrity nor a pretty girl with sexy photos, the number of views I get on my Facebook profile on a normal day is probably zero. But once a year, I get lots of friends posting on my wall.

Yup, on my birthday. That one day I actually get noticed and stand out for a few short hours. I’m not going to lie, it’s really nice to get friends and families to shower you with attention even if it’s just 3 words: “Happy Birthday”.

Oh.. that’s only 2 words.

I used to have this policy where I reply with a personalised message to each of these birthday wishes. It took me hours to go through each of them and writing back something unique and relevant to them. I loved the process as it rekindles some of these friendship that I have lost touch with, especially those that I don’t see regularly.

Then, I got busier and it’s no longer possible to do those unique responses without neglecting other important things. So last year, instead of a unique response each, I thanked everyone in one long Facebook post.

This year, I really want to make it different. I want to do something that is not about ME.

So I posted on my Facebook wall asking my friends to make a donation instead of wishing me Happy Birthday.

Sounds good right? I started dreaming about how noble I will be to generate a huge amount of donations from dedicating my birthday to a good cause..

So after 24 hours and many likes on that post, I asked: “How many of you actually donated?”

The result: One.. Just one..

Note to self: Work on copywriting and direct response.

 What went wrong

Let’s see, why didn’t my “noble” act work the way I wish it would. Just like any good advertisement, the “reader” has to be engaged and moved to take action.

1) Lack of reason

Apparently, there is an obvious lack of reason for my friends to make the donation. Other than the fact that it’s my birthday, I can’t find another reason why they would have donated anyway.

What should have been done is to illustrate how much it would have meant to me. Perhaps a story from volunteering.

The minimum sum to donate was $10. Without a good reason, it might have been too much for most to part with their hard-earned money. I understand. Without passion towards a certain cause, $10 is too much. If I had framed it as “Help send a child to school with just $10”, it would perhaps garner a better response since it’s something worth spending $10 on.

 2) The Paradox of Choice

Notice that all I provided was a link, after you click through, this is what you see:


Problem here is that most people would have given up since they firstly do not have much reason to donate, and secondly have no idea WHO to donate to. The process of searching for a beneficiary looks confusing and I suppose most people gave up at this stage.

3) No signs of my participation

The ALS Ice Bucket challenge went viral for a number of reasons. One reason is that you earn the rights to get your friends to do it. Because you did it! The format is simple – you do something and earn the rights to nominate/challenge someone else to do the same.

While I have already made my contribution, I didn’t show it. So effectively, I don’t have the “rights” to ask for donation when I did not show that I have done it.

Alternatively, if I didn’t have enough spare cash to donate, I could have done a challenge to elicit for donations. Things like, I would cross-dress if we collect $X of donations or 20 push ups for every $10 donated.

In fact, I’m contemplating this: I’ll finish a bowl of piping hot Ramen noodles while sitting on a Gym ball if we collect $500 worth of donations for an old folks home.  What do you think? Should I do it?

Now, back to you. How differently would you have your next birthday? Or what impact would you have the next time you become a ‘celebrity’ for 24 hours? Or do you just want it to be an average, boring birthday, just like every other year?

Click the link below and get a checklist to prepare for your next Not-So-Average Birthday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *