The phrase “charity begins at home” is a lesson we should all take to heart. Now a familiar function on Facebook makes performing that act of love a little easier.

Two weeks before their birthday, Facebook users are accustomed to seeing a message in their news feeds giving them the option to create a fundraiser for their special day. Options include any of the 750,000 U.S. nonprofits available for fundraising on Facebook, and the creator’s friends receive a notification inviting them to support the cause in honor of their friend’s birthday.

But what many don’t realize is you also can select a local charity instead. Type in the name of your favorite local nonprofit to see if it already has a Facebook page or do a search for “Lufkin” to pull up a list of nonprofits to choose from, including Love INC of Lufkin, Christian Men’s Job Corps of Lufkin, the Humane Society of Angelina County, the Lufkin High School Alumni Association, Impact Lufkin, the Lufkin Adult Learning Center, Concerned Black Men of Lufkin and many more.

Lamenting the lack of donations previous birthday fundraisers had generated and hoping for a way to help a little closer to home, one of our editorial board members recently typed in “Neighborhood Strong” while setting up her birthday fundraiser and was pleased to see the nonprofit was a choice. Even more heartening, after setting it up the night before, she woke up the next day to see the default goal of $200 was just $10 shy of being met. By the next day, donations had already surpassed the goal, so she increased it in hopes of inspiring further support. Previous fundraisers for national charities hadn’t yielded anywhere close to that level of support over a full two-week span.

Facebook charges no fees for donations to nonprofits and all funds raised go to the nonprofit of your choice. If the nonprofit is a 501(c)(3) in good standing with the IRS and has not specifically applied to use Facebook’s fundraising tools, the donations will be paid out through Network for Good, the default payout organization, within 45-75 days after a donation, depending on enrollment.

Once a month, Facebook disburses donations to Network for Good, which then disburses those donations to the nonprofit the following month. So a donation made on Facebook in January, for example, will be paid to the nonprofit on March 15.

For more information about how to complete your nonprofit organization’s application to use Facebook’s fundraising platform, go to

Here are some good reasons for donating locally from an article on social impact platform Encast:

■ Local, small charitable organizations tend to have lower overhead costs than global organizations. With a local organization, chances are your donation won’t go to support a six-figure salary for the CEO of a large nonprofit.

■ You can walk in and see their facilities. When the charity is based in your community, you can reach out and see the work they are doing.

■ When you give locally, you can literally view the impact of your gift.

For more ways to help local organizations, look for our monthly “Nonprofit Needs” page in our upcoming Weekend Edition.