Increase Volunteer and Donor Engagement Using Gamification
Posted Thursday, May 14th, 2015 by Verified Volunteers Staff
“Gamification? What’s that?”
You may be asking yourself this very question. But, even if you haven’t heard the specific term, you are surely familiar with the idea.
At its core, gamification can be described simply as the combination of gaming elements with everyday tasks. The idea is that, if people can see and measure their progress towards small milestones, they will feel motivated to push themselves to the next level or achievement. There are all kinds of ways this could be executed. Gamification could incorporate a points system, use fun milestones, or include a progress meter to encourage participants to do what they want them to do – donate money, share a story on social, you name it.
One product you likely have heard of – perhaps even used – an excellent example of gamification. It’s the FitBit. FitBit wearers are challenged to achieve specific activity goals, making exercise into a competition and making an arduous task a little more enjoyable.
Or perhaps you are familiar with a viral video released by Volkswagen not too long ago. In it, a staircase immediately next to an escalator (placed in a train station during the rush hour commute) is transformed into a piano. Each key on that piano, when stepped on, elicits an audible note. How fun is that? As a result, far more commuters opt for extra cardio over a quiet ride on the escalator.
How Nonprofits Can Utilize Gamification
It’s fun to think about the various ways the nonprofit sector might use gamification – to fundraise, to attract volunteers, and to keep volunteers engaged. 3 Ways Gamification Will Change The Nonprofit Sector discusses specific ways gamification could be utilized by nonprofits:
Gamification could make its way into nonprofits via the data management tools that they use daily. The addition of gaming elements would make administrative or tedious tasks less drab. It could potentially have a positive effect on staff satisfaction, volunteer retention, data accuracy – and even the consistency with which users across the organization use available tools.
- Fundraising Campaigns
Fundraisers have long used gaming elements like progress meter tracking and team challenges to raise money. But this idea can be taken a couple of steps further. Perhaps a ‘donor dashboard’ – where a donor can see their donation history and compare themselves against other donors in the community – could be designed. A system like this would provide nonprofits with the perfect avenue for sharing donation impact. Clearly communicating impact with hard and fast numbers would go a long way towards inspiring communities to band together to achieve milestones…and raise lots of dollars for a cause they care about.
Games have already made their way into the nonprofit sector in a variety of ways. They help to encourage volunteerism and financial contributions. But Gabe Zichermann from Gamification Corporation believes the gamification movement can help nonprofits bring in a whole new kind of donation: an intellectual donation. Intellectual donations can be integral in helping nonprofits solve truly complex problems. Says Zichermann, “While most organizations use their internal stakeholders to ideate solutions, we have developed a highly successful methodology that allows groups of individuals to play a game to help nonprofits solve their most vexing problems.”
Extending Gamification to Volunteers
The idea of incentivizing actions is not new. Organizations, schools, parents – everyone has used the promise of a reward to motivate those around them to accomplish specific tasks. But think of all the possibilities when it comes to gamification and volunteer organizations:
- A tracking system could be utilized to encourage volunteers to donate more hours.
- A points system could encourage volunteers to sign up for less desirable roles or shifts.
- Tracking elements can be used throughout each step of the volunteer screening process. As a volunteer progresses through the application process, to the interview, past a volunteer background check and on to training, they could earn credits at various milestones towards a prize or token of recognition.
Those are just a few ideas. How else do you see your organization using gamification? Experiment by adding a new component to your volunteer program, and share the results with us! Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to share your success stories!