Serious games go beyond enjoyment to achieve a higher goal, such as education, training, or behavior modification. They engage players and drive them to learn or accomplish certain tasks by utilizing game mechanics and design ideas.
Serious Games for a non-profit have been employed in a variety of contexts, such as healthcare, education, and social effect. Fundraising games and gamification applications have proven to be crucial tools in recent years for increasing awareness and providing enjoyable incentives for people to give in important causes. One of the most common approaches is game broadcasting on prominent networks such as Twitch and Youtube. One such webcast collected more than $10 million for the World Central Kitchen, an organization that assists communities affected by natural catastrophes.
In this blog, I’ll talk about how video games may aid non-profits and charities in a variety of ways and across a wide range of businesses. We will discuss how charity game streaming has altered the definition of fundraising. Finally, I’ll go through some major instances and case studies of video games.
How Serious Games Can Assist You in Your Mission
Serious games have the potential to attract and engage a huge audience of both gamers and non-gamers. Millions of people play video games every day, making them a popular source of entertainment. Charities and non-profits may reach this large audience by repurposing current games or developing unique games customized to their organizations’ goals. Based on my experience and some recent studies, here are some ways games might help with games for a non-profits:
Players can be incentivized to pay money or perform other activities that promote the charity’s objective by playing games. A game, for example, might provide in-game incentives or milestones to players who give to charity, interact with an organization on social media, or perform other real-world duties. These incentives might encourage participants to act and contribute to the cause.
Games are intrinsically entertaining and have the capacity to hold people’s attention for long periods of time. Not-for-profits can keep people involved and invested in their cause by developing interesting, instructive, and interactive games.
Serious Games may elicit an emotional response from players by placing them in the shoes of people impacted by the problem. Immersive experiences in games may help players realize the real-world effect of a cause and encourage them to act. Bury Me, My Love, for example, is an interactive fiction game based on real-life experiences of Syrian refugees. The game provides players a sense of weight to their choices, and its real-time approach immerses them in the character’s journey.
By imitating real-life circumstances and encouraging players to make decisions that support the non-profit’s aims, games may be developed to affect players’ behavior. Games may help players understand the impact of their decisions and inspire them to continue making positive changes by offering feedback and tracking progress.
Serious Games are original and distinctive in their ability to capture and replay tales and experiences, making them an effective tool for raising awareness and reaching a wider audience. According to a 2022 IGEA research, 74% of Australians believe games link people. Not-for-profits may use the power of social networks to magnify their message and inspire others to participate by including social sharing capabilities into their games.
By adding contribution systems directly into the game, games may be utilized to collect charitable donations. Don-Ay is a game in which every in-game action, from ordinary play to watching advertising or achieving accomplishments, earns points that may be converted into genuine donations. Not-for-profit organizations can also collaborate with game developers to produce limited edition or exclusive games that can be sold or auctioned off to earn funds for their cause. Subnautica, like the famous game, held a special event to collect donations for the Ocean Cleanup Foundation.
Serious Games may be used to educate people in a fun and engaging way about complicated subjects or themes. Not-for-profits may assist build awareness and comprehension of their cause by reducing difficult topics down into easy, engaging experiences.
For non-profits aiming to incentivize action, increase awareness, alter behaviors, and generate funding for their cause, games may be a valuable tool. Not-for-profits can build immersive, engaging experiences that motivate people to get involved and make a difference by exploiting the unique properties of gaming.
Charity streaming and why it’s gained popularity
Game streaming have become a popular technique for the games for a non-profit organizations to collect donations. These streams feature content producers streaming their gaming online and urging viewers to donate to a certain cause. Here are some of the reasons why gaming broadcasts are an efficient method to generate donations for charity, as well as some instances of popular charity streaming and the amounts raised.
Reach: Game broadcasts may reach a large number of players and fans who are enthusiastic about certain games or issues. Streamers may advertise their broadcasts and urge their fans to give by leveraging their notoriety and social media presence.
Serious Games broadcasts are very interesting and may foster a feeling of community among viewers who have shared interests. Streamers may increase donations while also creating a lively atmosphere.
Game broadcasts are a reasonably inexpensive method to raise charity cash. To get started, all you need is a computer or console with a camera, an internet connection, and a broadcasting site like Twitch or YouTube. However, better cameras, illumination, and extra monitors are required for higher quality streaming. Streaming allows anybody to engage and support a worthy cause while also being cost-effective depending on your audience and set-up.
Examples of popular charity streams and how much they raised:
Saint Jude PLAY LIVE is an annual fundraising event that invites gamers to stream their games in order to earn money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The event raised more than $13 million for the hospital in 2021.
Extra Life is a 24-hour gaming marathon that generates donations for children’s hospitals throughout the world. Since its start in 2008, the event has raised over $70 million, with individual broadcasters raising ranging from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars.
Zeldathon is a charity marathon centered on the Legend of Zelda series. Zeldathon has earned approximately $2.5 million for numerous organizations over the last decade, including Child’s Play and Direct Relief.
For good reason, fundraising through gaming streaming has grown in popularity in recent years. Because of their capacity to reach a large audience, engage viewers, and generate donations at a cheap cost, gaming streamers have become an effective method for non-profits to raise funds and promote awareness for their causes.
13 games that non-profits are using to make an impact
Several video games have leveraged the power of play to promote awareness, educate the public, and finance charities and social causes. Here are a few instances of games and gamification initiatives that have helped non-profits achieve their goals:
The United Nations World Food Programme hosts a quiz game called Free Rice. For each right answer, the equivalent of ten grains of rice is provided to individuals in over 80 countries across the world. To far, Free Rice has contributed over $1.8 million in rice, with over 800,000 gamers participating in daily questions. This is a straightforward method for engaging an audience and gaining support for a cause across numerous media.
This smartphone app allows you to select any charity and begin fundraising by exercising. Walking, jogging, and even dancing are examples of activities. There are over 40 organizations to select from, with causes ranging from children to animals to the environment. Players may also challenge their friends and family to workout goals in order to generate more money and spread the word about the charity. Charity Miles and its members have together collected over $2 million for worthy causes. This app is an amazing illustration of how gamifying a recreational activity can provide excellent outcomes!
This simple simulation and handicraft game is all on saving and maintaining bees. TNgineers, the game creators, intended to build a game that illustrates players the value of bees to the ecosystem in an interesting and semi-educational context. Because bees are as useful to gameplay as they are to real-life habitats, a part of the game’s sales are donated to worldwide beekeeping and conservation organizations. APICO has helped these organizations by raising tens of thousands of dollars.
Sharmila is a training game developed by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to help better educate its staff and collaborating partners on the need of applying a humanitarian protection lens to their work and strengthening accountability to impacted communities.Sharmila’s goal is to increase understanding and awareness of these sometimes difficult-to-understand humanitarian protection and accountability ideas in order to improve their use in WFP programs.
Alba: A Wildlife Adventure
This open-world adventure game centers on little Alba’s good actions and conservation efforts while visiting her grandparents on a Mediterranean island. UsTwo Games is dedicated to reducing their carbon impact, largely through their games. While Alba already includes strong conservation themes, the creators have pledged to plant a tree for every copy sold. They have planted almost a million trees thus far!
Chernobilyte is a survival horror game that has a downloadable digital pack to directly benefit the victims in Ukraine. The downloaded bundle includes four distinct posters and costs $3.99 each pack. The Pure Heart Foundation, a non-profit nonprofit organization focused on humanitarian help and youth programs, receives 100% of the revenues from this pack.
This smartphone simulation game depicts the life of an Australian park ranger in a semi-realistic manner. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) sought to highlight young people throughout the world Australia’s rich biodiversity. KangaZoo educates players on how to take acts that promote good environmental and social change. This game is a wonderful illustration of how organizations can use compelling media to incentivize action and raise awareness of critical topics.
CHANGE: A Homeless Survival Experience
Members of Delve Interactive, the game’s developers, almost became homeless before coming up with the idea for this game. It is, in their words, a hate letter to the world’s growing apathy to the homelessness epidemic. The game’s options are raw and honest, and may be emotionally draining at times, making it a very effective technique of engaging and transforming players. Delve Interactive has vowed to donate 20% of the game’s proceeds to organizations that work to end homelessness.
XEOPlay sought to make a game that allowed players to have fun while also effecting real-world improvements. Tilt World, a game whose objective is to solve climate change by just ’tilting’ the device, helped them achieve this. The actions of the games are replicated in We Forest, which aims to plant a million trees in Madagascar. XEOPlay hopes to effect change by developing more play-sourced games for change.
Half the Sky Movement: The Game
In collaboration with Games for Change, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) produced these three minigames for International Development. Each game focuses on important issues such as maternity and child health, as well as females’ education and empowerment. The games were given to create awareness and education in India and East Africa.
ICED: I Can End Deportation
Breakthrough, a human rights organization, developed this game to raise awareness about immigration concerns. The game places the player in the shoes of an illegal immigrant and tasks them with navigating the complicated immigration procedure. ICED highlights how human rights organizations may use new media to promote and create public awareness. The game features over 100 student and community groups as partners, reaching over 28 million individuals.
Wooftrax is a game-like software that turns dog walks into contributions. The app has worked with several organizations and animal shelters, all of which are in need of assistance. This ‘dog-powered’ fundraising concept is one method to provide a simple solution for charities and organizations wishing to fundraise while also providing chances for social sharing. The app provides 11 to 25 cents each mile walked to any charity; these donations come from private sponsors and businesses who want to support a worthy cause.
Crab God is a strategic simulation game about revitalizing and rebuilding ocean biodiversity. The game is based on a semi-realistic representation of the ecosystems and webs that connect marine life. The participants are urged to consider their options in order to retain a sense of equilibrium in the face of possibly unpleasant reality. The game also emphasizes micro-donations to encourage users to make real-world contributions.
The Power of Play in Serious Games
Developing a serious game for a non-profit organization may be a gratifying experience for all parties involved. We can design a game that successfully raises awareness about crucial social issues and drives good change in the world by working together.
Finally, serious games have the ability to engage, educate, and persuade players to take action in support of social and environmental problems. Video games and gaming streams may also help charities and social causes raise a lot of money. Charities can collect donations, influence public opinion, or move toward their objective by capitalizing on the popularity of video games and employing game mechanics to incentivize beneficial behavior.
As a professionals in serious game development we are enthusiastic about assisting and developing Serious Games for a non-profit organizations in achieving their objectives via the power of play. You may reach out to us using the contact form to discuss how gaming might help your cause.