Charity’s not all fun and games…

In the modern world, the charity sector has become a saturated market place. Competition for air time has never been higher, and with increased communication campaigns, the general public are becoming weary with donation fatigue. As a result, charities are embracing non-traditional forms of engagement. One interesting innovation in this area has been the charity sector’s use of gamification.

The following three exhibit brilliant, and very different, uses of gamification which extend beyond increased awareness.

The most recent example I came across was a ten day partnership between the SimCity app and WWF. This was a mutually beneficial prospect for both sectors. The charity benefits from an increased awareness amongst an increasingly disinterested sector and the game gains exclusive content tailored to suit their game. In this update you, as the mayor of SimCity, can build an ocean preserve area for whales, setup habitats for gorillas and create forest unique to your created environment. 100% of the proceeds of the app over the 10 days the partnership was running went to the WWF. This allowed both an enjoyable and increased gaming experience for the consumer and a simple method of donation.

Another innovative step in the gamification sector was the partnership between the RNLI and Minecraft. The RNLI partnered the gaming platform favoured by 7-14 year olds to explore how effective their favourite games could be to raise awareness of beach safety. Encouraging the age group to complete the RNLI Beach Builder Challenge, the RNLI challenged youngsters to create fun and dynamic beaches with all the necessary safety features recommended by the RNLI.  Using the Minecraft platform was a stroke of genius, as the game allowed education through fun in the comfort of the home.

Perhaps the most well documented use of gamification was the Cancer Research “Cell Slider” website. In this ‘game’, the general public were openly invited to use their detective skills to compare real cancer cell slides. The public loved it – over the 4 year lifespan of the website, far more than 2 million images were analysed. Perhaps consumers felt a duty to the cancer patients; perhaps the detective in them loved the challenge of ‘spot the difference’, it is difficult to know for certain which was more convincing. However the gamification made it easy for everyone to help ‘beat cancer’ hand in hand with CRUK in a real, helpful and direct way.

Each example portrays the different but very diverse opportunities that gamification can offer the charity sector. Interestingly all of the examples I have chosen are from the more ‘traditional’ companies, proving that there is opportunity for innovation from within every brand to reassess their offers and create fresh, new content to reengage their consumers.

Natalie Aylward

03.05.16