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3 Ways Gamification Can Help You Reach (And Retain) Your Donors


If you think the nonprofit tech landscape is nothing but CRMs and data analysis, think again. Games—specifically social games—are growing more popular as tools for driving donor engagement, and it’s not hard to see why. You may have heard of gamification in the for-profit and educational sectors, but here are three key advantages that gamification can garner for your nonprofit.

  1. Increase engagement

At its core, gamification is the process of turning an otherwise routine procedure into an exciting, interactive experience. By encouraging donors to compete with each other, nonprofits can incentivize donations, and even make donations part of the game.

Take Sidekick Cycle, a simple, addictive physics game available for the iPhone. Unlike games such as Candy Crush, the more users play the game, the more money they generate for World Bicycle Relief. Players get to indulge their competitive streak guilt-free, and organizations can generate funds and raise awareness for their nonprofit. Talk about a win-win.

  1. Expand your sphere

Check your Facebook notifications. How many Farmville requests do you have? For-profit game designers have already capitalized on the massive viral potential for social games—and nonprofits can, too.

Free Rice, one of the first free-to-play charitable games, benefited from huge word-of-mouth popularity and viral sharing. All those clicks have real-world benefits: Since 2007, Free Rice has collected almost 99 billion grains of rice, which is enough to feed 5.2 million people. Not too shabby for a simple “time-waster” web game.

  1. Go deeper with data

It's nearly impossible to market your nonprofit without knowing who your prospective donors are. That's where data comes in. When people play social, online games, they’re often generating enormous amounts of usable data about their charitable interests, behaviors and preferences. That's information your nonprofit can use to hone marketing and outreach, resulting in increased donations and higher ROI. The for-profit sector has been buzzing about the analytical possibilities of combining gamification with big data collection, and it's time nonprofits considered it as well.

The Takeaway: When it comes to donor management, all work and no play puts nonprofits at a disadvantage. Fun and games are powerful tools for driving engagement, collecting donor data and improving your reach.


Josh Mait

The preceding is a guest post by Josh Mait, Chief Marketing Officer at Relationship Science LLC (RelSci). He is responsible for guiding the overall marketing strategy and its application across all communication channels for the 2013 launch of the ‘ultimate business development tool'. Prior to RelSci, Josh was Head of Marketing at Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG) where he was responsible for organizational brand strategy, sales enablement, visual and verbal identify and online and offline campaigns and communications. Previously, Josh held the position of Chief Strategy Officer at Tattoo Brand Strategy. At Tattoo, Josh ran new business efforts and strategy development for all client relationships for brands like Cadbury, Starbucks, CNN and Chanel. Before joining Tattoo, Josh was Director of Marketing at Sullivan in New York. Josh has spent his career understanding and developing the consumer and client relationship. Josh is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. He lives with his wife Kira and their two children in Brooklyn.

Topics: Impact Donor Relations