The power of play for greater good: Gamification for NGOs and charities

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Navigating the non-profit marketing arena presents its own set of challenges. Whether your objective is to attract new members, secure donations, or help essential causes, the competition is robust within NGOs, both for the charitable and union sectors. Despite these challenges, some NGO marketers might be hesitant to embrace gamification, fearing it might compromise their serious brand image, especially when dealing with critical issues such as financial aid for children or workers' well-being. 

In this article, we aim to address these concerns and illustrate how gamification seamlessly integrates into NGO marketing strategies. By exploring successful examples, we demonstrate that incorporating playable campaigns for NGOs can yield significant results while maintaining the professionalism and authenticity of your organization's mission. Let's delve into the world of gamification for NGOs and explore its transformative potential for your cause.

1. Obtain new marketing permissions

Goal: Build a responsive contact list for targeted marketing communications.

NGOs, whether it’s charity organizations or unions, understand the importance of expanding their reach. Through gamified campaigns, such as fun wheel of fortune contests, or personality tests, NGOs can encourage individuals to willingly share their contact information and consent. This sets the stage for future communications, ensuring the NGO remains in the forefront of supporters' minds for future campaigns, offers, and activities.

Mødrehjælpen - How was your childhood personality test 

Mødrenhjælpen, a Danish social humanitarian organization dedicated to advising and supporting pregnant women and families facing difficulties. 

Campaign highlights:

  • Goal of the campaign: Secure marketing permissions & gather donations
  • Type of game: A personality test centered around the participants’ childhood “What type of childhood did you have?”
  • Game description: Questions related to after-school activities, Christmas memories, and family dynamics to shed light on childhood disparities. Ultimately, unveiled the nature of participants' childhood—safe, independent, or difficult.
  • Incentive(s) to participate: Participants had the chance to win flowers, aligning with Mødrenhjælpen's focus on engaging women and moms.
  • CTA: Asked for donations, focusing on “some children are not having the childhood they deserve”

DM fagforening - How well do you know Aalborg University?

DM is a Danish trade union for academics committed to supporting and representing academic professionals.

Campaign highlights:

  • Goal of the campaign: Engage students and gather marketing permissions
  • Type of game: Quiz - "How well do you know Aalborg University?"
  • Game description: Tested participants' knowledge about Aalborg and Aalborg University, aligning with DM’s focus of targeting future potential members. 
  • Incentive(s) to participate: 1000kr (approx. €135) in IKEA vouchers - fitting to the target audience of the quiz, students. 
  • CTA: After the quiz, participants were asked to fill out a registration form to be entered in the draw, but also confirming consent for marketing communications and DM membership offers.

2. Drive donations and memberships

Goal: Transform potential donors or members into active participants through engaging campaigns.

To convert potential donors or members into active participants, NGOs can utilize gamification with a focus on donations and memberships. By targeting audiences through email lists or interactive social media posts, NGOs can create campaigns that encourage donations or membership sign-ups. These gamified experiences turn the act of contributing into an interactive and fulfilling journey, strengthening the commitment of individuals to the organization's cause.

SOS Børnebyerne -  Quiz on inheritance law 

SOS Børnebyerne is a Danish charity foundation that aids the most vulnerable children.


Campaign highlights:


  • Goal of the campaign: Acquire new and valuable donations - particularly from older men and woman who do not have immediate heirs.
  • Type of game: Quiz on Denmark's inheritance laws.
  • Game description: Educated the older generation about inheritance laws, emphasizing the option to leave inheritance to a charity like SOS Børnebyerne through a notarized testament for people without heirs .
  • Incentive(s) to participate: Gain valuable knowledge about inheritance laws. 
  • CTA: At the end of the quiz, participants were given a free inheritance brochure, and offered support, and a free new will,  if they chose to include SOS Børnebyerne in their will.


Insinööriliitto (Union of Professional Engineers in Finland) - Engineering quiz

Insinööriliitto is a Finnish union dedicated to professional engineers.


Campaign highlights:


  • Goal of the campaign: Engage and educate engineers while gathering valuable details about their membership’s status and interest. 
  • Type of game: Fun quiz about engineering and engineers.
  • Game description: Explored the history of engineering with questions like “Was Imhotep the first engineer? True or False.” Each question, whether right or wrong, was followed by a short explanatory text. 
  • Incentive(s) to participate: Possibility to enter a contest to win an electric jacket worth €1,999. 
  • CTA: After the quiz, to enter the contest, participants were asked fto fill out a registration form, including a question asking about their interest in a membership, providing Insinööriliitto with valuable data for targeted follow-ups.

3. Get people to be educated 

Goal: Provide valuable education to donors, members, or the general audience.

Educating their audience is a crucial aspect for NGOs, and gamification adds an interactive dimension to this process.  For charities, the task is to enlighten both potential and current donors on the profound impact of their contributions. Simultaneously, other NGOs with member bases, such as unions for manufacturing workers, must deliver added value by educating their members on subjects crucial to their well-being. This may involve not only educating workers on their rights but also incorporating short quizzes on topics like factory security. The integration of gamification not only imparts essential knowledge but also transforms the learning experience into an engaging and enjoyable endeavor.

Scleroseforeningen - Myth quiz

Scleroseforeningen is a private organization that assists patients suffering from Multiple Sclerosis in Denmark. 

Campaign highlights:

  • Goal of the campaign: Educate the Danish population about Multiple Sclerosis and drive awareness toward the organization's initiatives.
  • Type of game: Enlightening quiz focused on Multiple Sclerosis awareness.
  • Game description: Participants were quizzed on various aspects of Multiple Sclerosis, such as available treatments and the organization's contributions to research. After each question, participants received feedback and explanations to enhance their understanding. 
  • Incentive(s) to participate: Participants gained valuable knowledge about Multiple Sclerosis and were encouraged to explore further resources if needed. 
  • CTA: The quiz seamlessly directed participants to discover more about a new bacteria discovered to create a vaccin against Multiple Sclerosis. Plus, it effectively showcased Scleroseforeningen's dedication to research and its mission.

IDA - Python quiz 

IDA is a trade union for engineers in Denmark. 

Campaign highlights:

  • Goal of the campaign: Engage engineers and test their knowledge of Python programming language.
  • Type of game: Fun quiz with 10 questions varying in difficulty, focusing on Python.
  • Game description: Participants faced a time-limited challenge, aiming to answer 10 Python-related questions in less than a minute. Immediate feedback, including explanations for incorrect answers, enhanced the learning experience. 
  • Incentive(s) to participate: The quiz served as an educational tool for engineers, offering valuable insights about Python without requiring registration. The absence of a registration form contributed to a higher participation rate.
  • CTA: Participants could retry the quiz at the end to get better score. 


4. Get people to keep engaging with your organization 

Goal: Keep their audience engaged by associating the organization with positive and diverse experiences.

While acquiring new members and donors, and educating them about their causes is crucial for NGOs, so is maintaining a continuous and positive connection with their audience. Beyond conventional interactions, NGOs can foster engagement by participating in diverse and less on-brand initiatives. This could include hosting seasonal campaigns like Christmas advent calendars, collaborating with local organizations during community events like the local football club, or even creating campaigns aligned with major sports events such as The Olympics or The Tour de France. By venturing into these varied situations, NGOs not only sustain engagement but also shape a positive and enduring association with their audience.

UNICEF - Christmas scratchcard

Unicef is a global humanitarian aid organization

Campaign highlights:

  • Goal of the campaign: Spread Christmas cheer, gain marketing permissions, and promote the option to buy Christmas decorations for the cause. 
  • Type of game: Scratchcard with a festive theme.
  • Game description: Participants engaged in a festive scratchcard experience, aiming to reveal three chocolates to enter the prize draw. 
  • Incentive(s) to participate: The collaboration with Peter Beier Chokolade, a Danish chocolatier added prestige to the campaign, and a chance to win 1500kr. worth of Christmas chocolates (approx. €200). 
  • CTA: At the end of the campaign, participants were presented with an option to purchase Christmas decorations, contributing to Unicef's cause.

DM - Do you have imposter syndrome? 

DM is a Danish union for academics. 

Campaign highlights:

  • Goal of the campaign: Assist DM members in recognizing imposter syndrome.
  • Type of game: Imposter syndrome test with questions on a 1 to 7 scale.
  • Game description: Members engaged in a self-assessment test designed to gauge imposter syndrome susceptibility. Questions like “When others think I am competent and capable, I often feel that I have led them astray” provided insights into participants' perceptions. Upon completion, participants received a score and guidance based on their susceptibility level, connecting them with a comprehensive guide from DM.
  • Incentive(s) to participate: Self-awareness and tools for overcoming imposter syndrome, emphasizing DM's commitment to member well-being.
  • CTA: Participants were guided towards a DM resource for further support. 


5. Collect valuable data 

There is another equally crucial aspect NGOs should focus on—collecting valuable data. Delving into the intricacies of your audience, understanding their preferences, the motivations behind their donations or memberships, and why they chose your organization over others, provides invaluable insights. This trove of information serves as a powerful tool to finely tune your marketing communication and ensure personalized engagement.

Another very important reason behind data collection involves gauging the comprehension levels of your organization's initiatives and product offerings. How well does your audience understand your mission and the initiatives you organize? How well do they know the impact your organization is doing? And which part are they unaware of? 

Nabohjælp - The ultimate neighborhood friend’s test

Nabohjælp is a Danish organization dedicated to preventing small crimes and burglaries in neighborhoods across Denmark. 

Campaign highlights:

  • Goal of the campaign: Educate and raise awareness about the role of neighborhood friends while collecting valuable data.
  • Type of game: "Your ultimate neighborhood friend’s test" - a quiz to gauge the understanding of neighborhood friend responsibilities.
  • Game description: Participants tested their knowledge through a quiz designed to inform about the role of a neighborhood friend. Questions covered aspects like the process of becoming a neighborhood friend and associated responsibilities. By participating, individuals not only enhanced their understanding of the mission of the organization but also contributed to Nabohjælp's data collection efforts, aiding in refining future campaigns and public awareness initiatives. 
  • Incentive(s) to participate: By correctly answering 7 out of 10 questions, participants qualified for a chance to win a coveted Neighborhood Help sign, a powerful tool for preventing burglaries. 
  • CTA: A registration form to participate in the contest to win a Neighborhood Help sign. 


CNV - Interactive poll about the future of education 

CNV is a trade union in the Netherlands.

Campaign highlights:

  • Goal of the campaign: Engage teachers and gather insights into their perspectives on the future of education.
  • Type of game: Interactive Poll about the future of education. 
  • Game description: Tailored for teachers, this poll delves into crucial aspects of the future of education. Participants answer questions such as "As a team, we make good agreements to distribute the workload equally," comparing their responses with peers and gaining valuable insights into what their peers thought.
  • Incentive(s) to participate: Opportunity to win a 25€ gift voucher at Plus, the ability to see the results of the poll to compare your answers with your peers. 
  • CTA: At the end, teachers were told about CNV responsibility and engagement to protect their right, and they were asked to connect with the organization if they wanted. 


Ready to use gamification for NGOs? 

Embracing gamification can be a game-changer for NGOs, offering innovative ways to address their unique challenges. From expanding reach and securing marketing permissions to driving donations and memberships, educating audiences, and collecting valuable data, the transformative potential of gamified campaigns is evident.

The examples showcased demonstrate how NGOs can successfully integrate gamification into their marketing strategies without compromising the seriousness of their mission. Whether it's Mødrehjælpen's poignant childhood personality test, SOS Børnebyerne's insightful quiz on inheritance laws, or Unicef's heartwarming Christmas scratchcard, each campaign serves as a testament to the power of gamification in engaging and mobilizing audiences.

For NGOs ready to embark on their gamification journey, Playable offers a comprehensive platform to create interactive and impactful playable campaigns. Ready to elevate your NGO's engagement and impact? Take the plunge today and book a demo with Playable. 

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