Gamification for Nonprofits

What is Gamification and how can it change Nonprofit Platforms?

What is Gamification and how can it change Nonprofit Platforms?
Most of us have seen the images of an exhausted gym ‘goer’ on the stair climbing machine for what seems to be endless minutes, chances are we have been just that person. Another scenario, the option of taking the long stairway case or the ease of the popular escalator. If a task seems too daunting it is human nature to pick the easier of the routes.

Gamification used for Fundraising


Fundraising is no different, the thought of doing something good to better a worthy cause has probably crossed our minds and indeed we have dreamt of the emotional gratification it would lender. However, the task of doing so is overwhelming that our good intentions are often abandoned because of the mundane reality.


In an Obenplan metro station, located in Stockholm, Sweden, Volkswagen took “looking outside the box” to a new level. Setting up an experiment of how many metro passengers exiting the station would choose the stairs verses the escalators if it was the funnier of the two?
What Volkswagen did next was ingenious! They transformed a seemingly boring, and tiresome, staircase into a musical piano. With every step, up or down, staircase climbers became their own foot musician Mozart. The experiment worked so well that 66% of the people chose the option that required more effort, because it was FUN.


With our modern-day technology this no longer needs to be that arduous endeavor. Welcome to the new world of Gamification. I know, what is Gamification? You may have never heard of this term before. Gamification is simply the unification of gaming elements, fun things like earning points, achieving levels and the thrill of competing against fellow gamers, all tied into everyday tasks. Gamification takes those daily tedious tasks and makes them a game, it now becomes fun and therefore more productive.


Jane McGonigal, featured on TED Talk, describes it perfectly. “I have been making games online for 10 years. My goal for the next decade is to try to make it as easy to save the world in real life as it is to save the world in online games.” This is her major focus of her recent book Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. This is an example of Gamification!

Gamification Tools we use daily

Chances are you have already experienced the benefits, the fun, of Gamification. The tools and technology of the tremendously popular Apple Watch, has made your workouts way more rewarding and even fun. This is just one example of how Gamification has already influenced your life, and you didn’t even know it.

Gamification on Apple I watch daily movement

Gamification on Apple I Watch

So how does Gamification benefit the Nonprofit Sectors and Platforms? Simple, by utilizing tools of this current age, being relative to the technology and social media that dominate our society today. In two sentences from Steve Shattuck, Chief Engagement Officer at Bloomerang, “Games aren’t just for entertainment anymore. They can be vital to helping us reach our goals.”

3 Tips to Encourage Nonprofit Engagement

Let’s break how Gamification can fit into the Nonprofit world.

First, by making it rewarding. As mentioned before more and more everyday tasks in life will have gaming elements attached to them. Now apply that to nonprofit. What if your own donor database rewarded you with each new donor reached and each new milestone met? This would be instant gratification. Not to mention capitalizing on your emails based on open and click-through rates. Across all social platforms your success is based on the viewers you reach. Gamification can optimize this extraordinary opportunity and once again make if fun.

Second, by making it competitive. Most of us have some degree of a competitive spirit in us. Imagine applying that to your next fundraising project. Your donor could log in to a dashboard and track their past success, see what gifts they have earned and even compare their success to others. Again, we are an instant gratification society. How amazing would it be if your donors could monitor the effect their donation is having on a cause in real-time? This might even provoke the donor to give more. Gamification can provide this. It can also be of benefit to your volunteer base through using an app, much like apps available for fitness.

Third, by developing. There are already nonprofit organizations that have implemented the power of Gamification by creating games to support their causes. A prime example of this is in the medical research field. Gamification has been applied successfully to raise, at a much faster rate, funds to assist in the battle against AIDS, Cancer, obesity, hunger and so much more.


The possibilities are endless of how Gamification can benefit the world of nonprofit and make fundraising fun. Let’s turn those good deed thoughts into reality with Gamification and watch your platform succeed.

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