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Five Ways to Use Gamification in Your Fundraising

Five Ways to Use Gamification in Your Fundraising

“You simply must walk through the shopping mall. There are so many things that you will see that you didn’t even know you needed!” That legendary saying by my father-in-law will live on in infamy in our family. For those of us who aren’t lookie-loos this probably sounds funny. It did to me. Until . . .

When the world changed in 2020, even if you didn’t like to shop, when you were told that we couldn’t go shopping at a store and were told to stay at home—that’s when it got real for a lot of us. What luxuries did we enjoy that we couldn’t have now? What are things that we didn’t even like that we now longed for?

According to JP Morgan, vitamins, household cleaners, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, hair color and coffee sales soared. What didn’t sell were cosmetics and sun care products because people didn’t put on makeup or take vacation trips.

We tried to find ways to keep ourselves and our families occupied. Many of us started working jigsaw puzzles, playing board games, and watching streaming movies. When the weather got warmer, we inundated the bike stores buying new bikes and fixing up our old ones.

When my checkbook started looking anemic, I realized this game was about to come to an end and I needed a less expensive one to play.

That’s when I realized that there were lots of webinars being offered all over the country and many of them for free. I could learn how to paint, go on an archeological dig, play bingo, participate in a scavenger hunt, or even take part in a live auction and have fun bidding against other people.

Similarly, for nonprofits, online gamification became a new way to engage donors. It didn’t have to be for someone to win or lose the game, but just fun. When nonprofits started having virtual events and their auctions started raising more money than in-person, I realized this is a new way to engage people.

Here are ways to put gamification into your fundraising without having to put together an in-person event:

1. Quiz—Create a quiz and have people guess the answer. Give a prize of a $5 coffee gift card or online store gift certificate. Be sure to collect their contact information. Instead of a fundraiser, this may be a way to engage new donors.

2. Find-a-Grave—A historical society had a hillside with graves that were overgrown with grass and brush. They had a “Find-a-Grave” contest. They gave them the names of people who were buried there. When they uncovered the headstone, they took a photo and submitted it. The nonprofit awarded prizes. Everyone paid a fee to participate and then they held a virtual silent auction before and live auction after the contest ended.

3. Cow Patty Bingo—Eagle Valley Land Trust arranged a Cow Patty Bingo. They divided a piece of poster paper into squares that people write their name on and give money for the number of squares. And then wherever Bessie does her business at a specific time, that person wins a portion of the prize, and the remainder of the money is goes to the nonprofit.

4. Bingo—You may have heard of Purse Bingo where designer purses are auctioned off. But instead of the “prize” of a purse, use high-end jewelry with ZGIVE’s turnkey auction. People get attached to certain pieces of high-end jewelry that they can’t wait to bid again when they receive notification that they were outbid. This creates a game as it raises money for your nonprofit. It is simple. ZGIVE does everything for you except market it to your donors.

5. Pull—You could offer a Holiday Wreath, Gift Basket or Jewelry Pull. You invite your donors to donate a certain amount to receive a beautiful hand-crafted wreath.

Could you give your donors an experience that they didn’t even know they wanted or needed and your nonprofit raises money in the process? Let’s all find a way to help engage our donors by participating in the fun that our nonprofit offers and help them become advocates and super fans!

Note: ZGIVE has developed a turnkey auction called Ready Auction™. It is so easy. The items are already populated. ZGIVE has written all the emails, designed the social media graphics, they host the platform and mail the items. All you need to do is market it to your donor base, on social media and in your newsletter. How fun and easy is that?

Introducing Guest Blogger, Robin Thompson. She is a professional fundraising consultant, trainer and coach. Robin managed over $17 million in assets as Executive Director at a university. As Vice President of a prominent foundation in Vail, Colorado, Robin and her staff were responsible for raising over $10 million annually. She successfully designed and implemented a $3.9 million Comprehensive Campaign and closed two debt reduction campaigns, each one raising several million dollars in less than one year. Robin has built endowments from less than $100,000 to over $2 million in short periods as well.


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