Meta makes fundraising easier ahead of Earth Day

A person holds up a phone showing the Instagram logo, with the Meta logo behind them.

Meta has announced new fundraising tools and educational initiatives in honor of Earth Day — the global climate awareness holiday taking place on April 22 — including expanded Instagram Reels options for more than 30 countries to participate in digital fundraising.

The tech monolith already has nonprofit fundraising options for Facebook and Instagram that can be used directly on a user's feed, on Instagram Stories, and through Instagram Live, but users can now fundraise directly in Instagram's short form video platform Reels. Instagram users can choose from more than a million registered charities in the app when using the Reels fundraising tool, and all funds go directly to the nonprofit selected.

The feature is rolling out to the United States and these select countries on April 19: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Meta also updated Facebook's Climate Science Center, a project aimed at educating users about the climate crisis and debunking climate misinformation, in collaboration with global organizations like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The page includes links to reputable sources on environmental science and climate change as well answers to commonly asked questions and misconceptions, climate quizzes, and recent climate news updates and research. Starting this month, the center will highlight climate action steps for individuals and add new data visualizations for country-specific emission levels. The company also added interactive wildlife conservation experiences for users of its virtual reality system Meta Quest.

According to Meta, four million donors have contributed to Facebook and Instagram fundraisers addressing climate change and environmental protection since the tools' inception, and they've raised more than $150 million to date. Over on Instagram, the most popular climate-related organizations with donors are The Ocean Cleanup, a plastic-free ocean nonprofit; the World Wildlife Fund, a nonprofit leader in global nature conservation; and the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a wildlife and habitat conservation nonprofit based in Kenya.

Of course, digital fundraising and virtual reality games aren't enough to combat our international climate emergency. There is a hope, however, that these tools may bring greater attention to nonprofits and activists leading the demands for a global response to our planet's worrisome state. And while individuals can only do so much, it still doesn't hurt to try — it might even help alleviate some of the climate anxiety a lot of us face. Fundraising options are available on almost every social media platform, so consider starting a couple drives for your favorite local climate champions this Earth Day. And don't forget to keep up the pressure on global leaders by participating in global protest movements, supporting climate change litigation, and voting for climate-attentive leaders.