How Serious Games Can Help with Online Fundraising

How Serious Games Can Help with Online Fundraising


If you could apply a game-based approach to nonprofit fundraising online, would you? Online fundraising is a continuous challenge for nonprofits, competing with each other for donations through e-mail or on websites. Serious games in online fundraising events provide motivating ways to raise money for causes and connect with others.

A leading event fundraising platform, Crowdrise, includes gamified approaches on its platform. Individuals or teams use the website to raise funds for charitable or personal causes. The site shows amounts raised, numbers of donors, and goals for fundraisers. Users may also enjoy opportunities to gain points on their profiles as they participate in Crowdrise fundraisers.

Crowdrise includes various game elements, such as leaderboards that display how the competition stacks up. Bonus Challenges are another interesting feature, as well as results tracking features. The site provides inspiration to people interested in fundraising, who may choose to hold contests or offer creative incentives. In addition, recognition is given in continuously updated stats on donors and comments.

Gamification appears in numerous online fundraising events. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which began in 2014, received significant attention and raised an impressive amount for the ALS Association. This challenge involved social incentives, such as bragging rights and connecting with others. It also presented the challenge of completing the ice bucket task.

In 2013, a Facebook game called the Half the Sky Movement experienced impressive results. The game, developed in partnership with Zynga, gained thousands of players in the short time span of 3 months. The game format for this movement involved an online adventure where people invited friends to join.

Approaches to using gamification in online fundraising involve features found in traditional board games or video games. Examples of game elements include points, badges, teams, and rewards for achieving specific goals. It also involves a friendly level of competition. People who participate may enjoy the recognition. Team members may enjoy connecting with other like-minded people who are passionate about a cause online. In many instances, people enjoy spreading the word about fundraising games or competitions through social media.

It’s possible to engage people through serious games online in ways other methods don’t. Gamification provides a structure to the fundraising objectives that otherwise sometimes get lost in people’s minds. According to the article “Is Gamification the Future of Philanthropy“, the design of the game is probably just as important as the fundraising event. If the format of the fundraising event compels users to participate and invite others, the effectiveness likely goes up. It’s important to consider human behavior with games, as well as short-term interest versus long-term dedication to a game.

Many nonprofits will likely continue to use gamification in their online fundraising efforts. Even if games aren’t solely used for online fundraising, game aspects can still be applied. This includes incentives such as access, power, relevant rewards, and social benefits.

Credit image: Pixabay



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