Can't Register a Facebook Page Username?

Marketing October 05, 2009

Lori Halley

By Lori Halley

One of WildApricot's readers got in touch recently about a problem with getting a custom username for her organization’s Facebook Page. Just in case other nonprofits have run into a similar situation, Jenifer has kindly given permission to share her question and respond to it here on the blog.


As someone new to Facebook trying to set up a nonprofit page, I’ve spent hours trying to find the right apps and tweaking the settings. 

I’m stumbling over how to make:

Would you happen to know where I can find this information?  I keep ending up on creating URLs for usernames and profiles, which I believe are not the same thing.


There are two things going on here.

The first thing I noticed was that the username Jenifer was trying to register for The Donkey Sanctuary’s Facebook Page had  hyphens in it — and usernames can only contain alphanumeric characters (A-Z, 0-9) or a period (“.”). Try again, I suggested to Jenifer, but this time choose a username without hyphens.

But then I actually visited the Facebook Page, and spotted a second issue — The Donkey Sanctuary has just set up its Page, and it doesn’t yet have enough fans to qualify for a username.

Here’s what Facebook says about that:

Your Facebook Page must meet two requirements: it must have been live on Facebook prior to the May 31, 2009 cut-off date and have had a minimum 1,000 fans at that time. 

This limitation is temporary. All Pages created after May 31, 2009 or that had less than 1,000 fans on that day will be eligible to claim usernames on Sunday, June 28, 2009 if they have more than 25 fans.

Bottom line:

You need 25 fans to get a username for your organization’s Facebook Page. The username also has to meet Facebook’s guidelines:

  • Create a username that is as close as possible to your public figure or business name (e.g. AshtonKutcher, PizzaHut).
  • If you own the rights to a given name, make it your username so that others cannot obtain it.
  • Usernames can only contain alphanumeric characters (A-Z, 0-9) or a period (“.”).
  • Choose a username you will be happy with for the long term. Usernames are not transferable.
  • Your username must adhere to Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

For more information on getting a custom username for your nonprofit's Facebook Page, see Usernames: Facebook Pages in the Facebook Help Center.

Thanks, Jenifer, for sharing your question  — and good luck to the donkeys!


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  • Sage Dillon:

    We've got our custom username, but now we want to change it. Does anyone know if this is possible?


  • Lori Halley

    Lori Halley:

    Sage, sorry, no, you can't change your custom username once you've registered it. Here's the statement about it on that Usernames: Facebook Pages help page at

    "Once you have claimed a username by clicking the "Confirm" button, it is not possible to edit it, or to transfer your username to a different account on Facebook. Additionally, when an account is removed from the site, its username will not be made available to other users for security reasons."

  • Jenifer @ The Donkey Sanctuary, Devon:

    Hi Rebecca

    Thanks for keeping me sane after spending hours wandering around FB looking for the answer! You've been a great help.

    Since last in touch, I now have 45 fans, so can now move on to 'Now you can have a username for your Facebook Profile'.

    For non-profits, you don't need to set up a personal profile username, but click on the link at the bottom saying "Set a username for your Pages"

    Personally, I think this should be a little bit bigger than a small text link!

    Anyway, hope the step-by-step guide below will help others.


    Each Page can have a username

    Easily direct someone to your Page by setting a username for it. You will not be able to edit or transfer this username once you set it.

    Page name: --- Pages (default dropdown box)

              The Donkey Sanctuary


    I selected "The Donkey Sanctuary" and typed "TheDonkeySanctuary" before hitting the "Check availability" button.

    Popup box...


    TheDonkeySanctuary is available.

    Several things for you to remember:

       * You can't change the username of The Donkey Sanctuary once you set it.

       * You can't transfer the ownership of a username to another party.

       * You can't violate anyone else's trademark rights.

       * If you are acquiring a username to sell it in the future (squatting), you will lose it.

       * Usernames may be reclaimed for other unauthorised usages.

    Are you sure you want to set TheDonkeySanctuary as The Donkey Sanctuary's username?


    Pressed OK to go ahead...

    Got another popup...



    The username TheDonkeySanctuary has been set for The Donkey Sanctuary. Now you can direct your fans to


    Pressed OK...

    Now the big test...

    Thanks again Rebecca - will indeed stay in touch :-)


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