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3 ways to gamify your online fundraising


In this post, we'll take a look at three types of gamification that have been used to increase participation and engagement in digital appeals.

These include:

  1. Matches & Challenges
  2. Using leaderboards
  3. Offering prizes

Gamification refers to the use of fun elements, typically associated with game playing, that can be used to increase the excitement you feel when participating in a fundraising or engagement activity. Over the last few years, we've really seen the use of gamification grow through crowdfunding and giving day appeals, regardless of if the donor is individually rewarded with a prize or purely thanked for their involvement.

#1 - Matches & Challenges

Most popular within a giving day appeal, matches and challenges provide a fun and engaging way to keep the momentum moving forward as you near closer to individual and overall goals for the day.

Matches, are used to double (or triple) the value of another donors gift. For example, instantly turning a £20 donation into £40 - until the matched funding available has reached its limit. They're also a great way to kick start a giving day and can really encourage your warmest and most engaged donors to make their gift early on in the day. This in turn can then inspire others to follow their lead.

Challenges are another giving day favorite, where unlike matches they are conditional on a certain participation goal being achieved before the additional challenge funding can be unlocked. For example, if you were hoping to use giving day to engage with a certain group of alumni (based on subject, location or graduation year) setting a challenge is a great way to ensure their involvement on the day. As the engagement in the challenge grows more and more alumni will be tempted to give in hopes that their gift will contribute towards more funding. Maybe even being the one to complete the challenge themselves. As numbers creep nearer to the goal, those who have already given may also take matters into their own hands, taking to social media and email to encourage others to get involved with the game.

Take a look at Keble College, Oxford's most recent giving day where they used challenges to encourage and gamify giving.

#2 - Leaderboards

Who doesn’t love some light competition? Leaderboards have been used by video games creators since 1978 (à la Space Invaders) to increase player acquisition, engagement and retention. (For more detail on the psychological nitty gritty of how leaderboards and competition work, check out this presentation.)

If your school or university has a history of internal competition between houses, colleges or even sports teams, adding a leaderboard to your digital appeal can be a great way to use gamification to increase its success.

Similar to challenges, leaderboards encourage both giving towards, and sharing of, the progress made so far by like minded donors. Take a look at this example from Emmanuel College, Cambridge where they used the areas supported by the giving day to spur on a bit of a competitive spirit.

#3 - Prizes

Another way to incentivise donors and ambassadors alike is to tie the act of sharing to a potential prize. The prospect of a reward is an excellent motivator and rewards keep people going, encouraging them to get the greatest reach for your campaign.

Messiah College recently ran a Giving Day, and recruited their most active social media alumni as ambassadors. Those who generated the most clicks to the campaign won prizes such as Amazon vouchers and T-shirts.

Hopefully these examples are a useful way of demonstrating just how gamification can supercharge your own giving campaign. If you’d like to talk it through ideas you are considering for your next digital appeal, please get in touch!


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