What Fundraisers Can Learn from Video Games

There was once a time when video games were mostly just frustrating. Scripted, predictable, jump-here-jump-there games populating now mostly extinct arcades. Their sole purpose was to take your money as fast as possible. For a sense of what it was like, download a Pac Man app and imagine paying a quarter for every life.

But then something changed. Gaming moved from the mall to the living room. And with that move, the user experience took off. Intricate systems of rewarding play, documenting achievements and encouraging users to share their status would become the basis of a new generation of gaming, but the impact of these new technologies didn’t stop there.

Video games excel at keeping users involved and rewarding their play. These rewards may vary from virtual badges and special avatars to exclusive invitations and real-world merchandise. Reward systems such as these now encourage us to walk a few more steps, to learn new languages or to quit smoking. For years now, everyday activities were and are becoming more and more gamified.

Gamification and the reward systems the term implies have a role to play in fundraising, and fundraisers can take advantage of these systems to motivate and maintain their donor bases. The first step is establishing a digital presence, either through a website or app, or preferably both. Essentially, you need a way for users to sign up so that you can keep track of their progress, or in this case, donations.

Then you need a rewards system based on those donations. Perhaps users gain points for making a donation, or for encouraging others to make a donation. Or maybe users are rewarded for reaching certain milestones, such as $100 in total donations or making a minimum donation each month. The rewards can vary widely based on the nature of the fundraising organization, but the ability to accrue points and spend them on real-world rewards can delight your donors and extend your brand. Think merchandise!

The key to gamifying your contributions is tracking. Tracking donations manually can be a nightmare, but with Raise The Money’s best-in-class online donation software, tracking when and how much your donors give is the easy part. Use our Crowdfunding feature and allow your donors to become their own fundraisers, then reward users for inviting their friends and encouraging new donors. Setup and tracking are easy. Now the trick is taking those donations and creating a system of visible rewards. The best advice is to be creative and reactive to how your audience responds.
Allowing your donors to level up or gain points toward prizes or special recognition is a powerful incentive to stay active. The rewards that work best for your organization will vary depending on your focus. But whatever your goals, the fact remains… There’s a lot to learn about fundraising from video games.