Last week we explored the beginning of gaming as a new channel for charitable fundraising. We pointed out that with the popularity of smartphones and tablets people have access to the internet and apps all the time and that gaming apps are one of the most popular ways to pass the time on these devices. The rewarding nature of gaming, the fact that they can be shared quickly amongst friends and family, and how fun they can be all contribute to the popularity of gaming and how suitable they are as vehicles for fundraising.
Here are three game fundraising stories that have all made successful usage of linking in-game actions with micro-donations:
MiniMonos’ tag line is “Love to play, love the planet” and so they created a virtual game world for children. In this virtual world, children can explore and learn about social responsibility and sustainability. The world is a social one where the kids have avatars that interact and befriend other players whilst playing various games and activities. By purchasing virtual goods and produce in the game world, the children are actually contributing and providing a clean water supply for fellow kids in India. Other rewarding charitable projects include helping endangered wildlife such as adopting orangutans and supporting tigers in the wild. Inversely, there are in-world rewards for real life eco-projects taken on by the kids to help the environment such as recycling or planting trees in their communities.
Share A Slice of Hope
This success story is a partnership between social gaming giant Zynga and food chain Pizza Hut. The purpose was to raise funds for the World Bank’s 2011 World Hunger relief campaign. Limited edition in-game purchases of virtual items sponsored by Pizza Hut were made available to players of Zynga’s games. This included popular games such as Farmville, Cityville, and Empires & Allies. An example of one of the limited edition in-game purchases was a blue horse-drawn cart filled with vegetables and stamped with the World Food Programme initials. This item was available to players of Farmville and it contributed $5 USD per purchase to the relief efforts. All proceeds were donated to World Bank’s campaign to reduce world hunger.
Play Mob is a start-up in the UK that raises funds for charitable organizations via virtual in-game purchases. They have created an online platform called GiverBoard and it enables the purchase of in-game items in already existing games to convert into real world donations to a particular charity. An example would be the mobile role playing game Parallel Kingdom’s efforts to raise money for orphans in northern Kenya affected by drought. Players of the game were given the option of purchasing for their game avatar a virtual Soup Can Hat using in-game currency. In real life, each in-game purchase translated to being about a donation of $5.50 USD. Also, the GiverBoard platform monitors the overall amount of money raised for the campaign and allows players to track their overall contributions.