“Wait. You’re seriously going to try and convince me that sweaty, anti-social teenagers who sit in their mum’s basement for hours murdering each other online and screaming insults at their TV screens are the future of fundraising?”
Yes, I am going to do that. Because it’s this perception of gaming, and gamers, that is preventing charities from reaching a huge untapped audience of people who have time, passion, expertise and money.
Gaming is now one of the world’s biggest industries (if Grand Theft Auto V was a movie, it would be the third most expensive movie ever). And gaming is immersive, capturing hours of our attention in the way that no other media does (the average US consumer spends 23 minutes every day playing games). Games are part of our culture now, reaching across genders and generations (find me someone under 40 who doesn’t know who Mario is).
In the US, gaming charities like Extra Life and Call of Duty Endowment are springing up everywhere. Organisations like Zynga.org are channelling millions of dollars from gamers to charities every year. Ignoring gamers is a bit like ignoring people who watch TV, or who like exercise.
Gaming is BIG.
So what are the opportunities to channel some of the time, passion and money spent on gaming towards good causes? Or more specifically, your good cause?
Well, in my view, you have to start where gamers are. You have to understand their behaviour. And critically, what you do has to enhance their experience, not disrupt it or distract from it.
So whether you look at in-app purchases, a community fundraising initiative with gamers, or a partnership with a game studio, you need to find a story that fits. Give people an opportunity to play more, to make their gaming experience more meaningful, to put their incredible skill and expertise to good use.
How can you get it wrong?
Don’t make assumptions.
Don’t talk down to them.
Don’t expect them to buy into the same old proposition.
Don’t ask them to sign up to a Direct Debit.
And above all, don’t try and invent your own game.
And how can you get it right?
Do spend time in their world.
Do treat them with respect.
Do find out what they want.
Do find a story that fits.
Recently one game manufacturer offered a downloadable level in support of a charity. Gamers were offered the chance to buy exactly the same content at 99c, $9.99, or $19.99. Simple economics tells you that the majority would spend the least – and you’d be right. But 30% of people voluntarily paid the maximum price – 20 times more than they needed to.
Gamers have time and money. Gamers have hearts. Gamers are me and you. So why ignore them?
Reuben Turner is creative director of GOOD Agency. He will be sharing more tips and insight about fundraising and gamers, including what works and what doesn’t, during his session at the upcoming virtual fundraising conference Fundraising Online, hosted by The Resource Alliance.
Join thousands of fundraisers from all over the world in a virtual conference, sharing and learning about the latest techniques and trends to transform your fundraising. Two days, 16 sessions, and tons of inspiring speakers, this is the digital conference not to be missed. And it’s free – amazing value, right?
Fundraising Online takes place on 13 and 14 May 2015.
Two weeks to go – register for free here
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