The pandemic has increased the demand for non-profit services while putting a strain on their finances and staff. Fundraising efforts have been either postponed or cancelled altogether, which has had a direct effect on donations.
What can history teach us about surviving this crisis, and are there solutions to help organizations cope?
Before the pandemic, charities were already fiercely competing for the funds they needed to carry out their missions. The pandemic has only made the situation worse. More and more charities have turned to online fundraising, auctions and social media. While these strategies tend to compensate for the lack of presence at events, they are not enough to build support in a sustainable way.
So, what can we do about it? Two avenues are worth looking at. One is to approach companies differently by making a cause a central part of their mission, the other, which follows, is to use gamification to encourage their employees’ community action by making it fun.
The process can be initiated by an organization or even a government. Let’s take the example of gender-based violence and femicide, which is a fight particularly close to my heart. I will not dwell on the figures as they are appalling…(For those who wish to have an idea, they can consult this link).
The organization (or the governement) proposes a program for companies to enable their employees to take action by raising funds for projects addressing this issue. This is the first step.
Once a company has bought into the idea, the next step is to mobilize its employees and make sure they are motivated to act. This is where gamification kicks in.
What is gamification? It’s the strategic application of game principles to an otherwise non-game environment. Gamification harnesses the power of psychology and emotional triggers to create a positive user experience and in this case to motivate employees to do more for the common good.
Gamification could take many forms.
For example, it could be creating a challenge by setting a specific fundraising goal that must be met within a given time frame. Employees/donors/fundraisers can be encouraged to create fundraising groups and challenge their colleagues to beat them. The virality of challenges, especially through social media, can generate very positive results.
Matching is a way to encourage people to give more. A concrete example? Companies can “match” their employees’ contributions to a cause, turning a simple $50 donation into a $100 one. Matching is a fun and effective way to bring people together for a cause that is also supported by the company they work for or with.
Leaderboards and progress bars
People are naturally playful and love competition. That’s why leaderboards and progress bars can be very effective engagement mechanisms. Seeing how others are doing more or less well can motivate people to try to reach the next level.
Badges and points
Getting people to donate or learn about a cause can give a fundraising campaign a boost. Points or badges can be awarded to the most active donor or person to encourage them to do more.
It is perhaps worth noting that gamification does not stop at fundraising. It can also be applied to research. Gamification has had the effect of making dramatic advances in AIDS research. By allowing scientists to interact with others working on the same topic, it has been possible to create an environment conducive to collaboration and competition. Not to mention that gamification can help you boost your sales. Some companies have seen their sales increase by more than 125% thanks to gamification.
However, adding gauges or badges is not enough. Not all gamification solutions are created equal and some can be very complex to implement.
If you’re up for it, get some help from experts. Both to develop an impact strategy and mobilize your employees around your mission, and to implement the optimal gamification strategy to help you reach your fundraising goals.