What to do about Facebook group members who ask for money or gift cards
Have you ever gotten a post like this…?
From a member with a name like… Nana Pierre and a totally impersonal profile pic like this?
And a featured image that looks like it’s directly from Google maps?
(Seriously. This is the picture.)
Not to mention her name tugs immediately at the heartstrings. “She” is probably a 19 year old male scammer living thousands of miles away from my local community group’s town.
Nana has no personal images on her profile, no public information, no friends, nothing… and about 3 days after gaining admittance to my group, she was asking for money.
I just don’t buy it.
Do you allow people to ask for money in your group?
Here are some possible ways to address the ask:
1. You are very familiar with the member and decide to permit them to ask for money.
You may have met in person, and they’ve been a group member for a very long time. They contribute regularly and you trust them. They’ve never asked for money before and you might even be able to verify their hardship (for example: an accident, a house fire, etc.).
2. You are semi-familiar with the member and you reach out to them personally to get more information.
Perhaps your group is a health support group and somebody needs assistance for a medical issue. In this case, you might reach out to the member via private message and attempt to use your good judgment in making a decision over whether or not to allow the post.
3. You completely prohibit members from asking for money.
You can do this directly in the rules:
Sample text: No asking for money and no GoFundMes. We occasionally make exceptions for residents. PM an admin (or email us at GROUP@YOURGROUP.COM to inquire).
Or you can make an official announcement. Here’s some sample text:
GROUPNAME is intended to be a group where (INDICATE GROUP’s PURPOSE) can come together as a community to support one another.
We allow (POST TYPES: requests for referrals, general discussion, etc.)
As admins, we strive to keep this group a reliable and safe place for every one of our members.
And we know that sometimes our members fall on hard times… who hasn’t?
But there is a fine line between telling or venting a hard times story, and fishing for money and/or items. We admire so many of you for your generosity and willingness to quickly jump in and help out. But, sadly, there are deceitful people who will lie to try to tug at the heartstrings of the kind and generous members of this community.
In order to best protect all of our members, we will decline posts that we feel are worded in a manner that indirectly or directly request money or items.
We will do this without exception.
Members are always permitted to offer any free items or any form of assistance that they are comfortable offering (IF YOU ALLOW THIS).
Thank you for your understanding and being a member of this amazing community.
(ADD NAMES IF YOU DESIRE)
If this is a new rule…
I would suggest changing the rule and then making an announcement, which you might want to pin to the group for a bit, to make sure everyone sees it.