I am super excited to tell you about GamesThatGive.
GamesThatGive is a new company that creates casual video games (Solitaire, Sudoku, etc.) where you earn donations for your favorite charity, for free, just by playing. I joined the team a year ago as an adviser, charged with recruiting charities to be a part of the site. I now serve as the company’s ‘Principal Evangelist,’ which means my role is to help introduce GamesThatGive to the world.
My goal with this post is pretty simple: I want to convince you that GamesThatGive has the potential to change the way charities use the internet to engage audiences and raise money.
Before I go any further, I want to be really clear: I have a personal interest in seeing the company succeed. I am a member of the staff (though my day job continues to be running my own communications strategy shop, little m media) and I ‘own’ a (very small) part of the company.
Even if I didn’t have a role in the company, I would tell you that GamesThatGIve is the real deal. I have been providing strategic support to charitable organizations about how to use the internet and technology to engage, educate, and ultimately mobilize audiences – and especially raise money online – for almost a decade. I have seen hundreds of ideas for new tools and technologies designed to help raise money for charities, none of which ever lived up to the billing. I have seen millions of dollars and countless hours wasted by organizations looking for a magic bullet solution to how to thrive in today’s connected society. So I think I have a pretty good sense of what works and doesn’t work.
This is not some crazy idea or gimmicky technology solution. I wouldn’t have signed on to this project if I didn’t think GamesThatGive was something special.
Here is how it works:
- You log on to www.gamesthatgive.net and start playing games.
- GamesThatGive charges sponsors to advertise in the games, and 70% of that advertising revenue goes directly to the charity that you’re playing for.
- The better you do at the games, and the longer that you play, the more you donate!
- That’s it. No catch.
GamesThatGive is going to have a huge influence on the charitable giving space for a few reasons:
1) People are already playing casual games, in big numbers, and for
long periods of time. GamesThatGive is simply seeking to tap into that
existing behavior to help raise money for charity.
- The more people log on and play, the longer they play for, and the better they perform at the game, the more donations they generate for the charity of their choice.
- Nobody wants ads ruining their game experience, so we make sure they don’t. Only one advertiser sponsors a player’s game experiences per session – that means one corporate logo appears in the background of each game. And the charities get to choose whether to receive support from an advertiser… if they don’t want a certain ad to appear alongside their brand, it doesn’t.
- Throughout the site, and embedded into the game experience, messaging is delivered about both the charities and the advertisers. Nothing is permitted that will interfere with the player’s enjoyment or play. But, in addition to learning about the mission and focus of the organizations that are partnered with GamesThatGive, users are able to learn about – and see firsthand — the impact of the donations they are helping to generate.
- GamesThatGive has invited some of the most well-known, innovative, and effective organizations to serve as charitable partners. The list of partner charities at launch include:
US Fund for UNICEF
The Wilderness Society
Ronald McDonald House Charities
Jumpstart for Young Children
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Association
The United Way
American Heart Association
These organizations aren’t just well known - they understand the potential that casual games offers, and want to explore new ways to delivering messaging, developing relationships, and generally supporting the people who are supporting them.
Perhaps most importantly, GamesThatGive has decided to keep the number of charities on the platform at any time limited. We have learned from the mistakes of the social and online platforms that have come before us, and we will not dilute the money raised by having too many charities participating. Charities are selected for their diversity and for their support of this innovative approach to fundraising. And while nothing is required from the charities, they know that by encouraging their audience to participate, they can raise more money to support their work.
That’s really it. I am confident that GamesThatGive can raise a lot of money, and I truly believe the model behind GamesThatGive will help change the way organizations look at how to use the internet and technology to raise money and engage their audience. Before we can change the world, however, we need something much more basic: you to play a game. So please, log on to www.gamesthatgive.net and start playing.
Brian provides strategic guidance and other support to organizations around the use of the internet and technology in order to facilitate communications, engagement, education, and mobilization. He is the author of Media Rules!: Mastering Today's Technology to Connect With and Keep Your Audience (Wiley 2007), and writes/speaks/works regularly on the issues involving the impact of the internet and technology on politics, society, and the media.
Email is firstname.lastname@example.org