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Young adult men.

Good fun to be with, but tricky recruits for traditional charity fundraising.

We wanted to test whether gamifying giving might engage young men in giving for Red Nose Day 2013, by creating ‘Britain’s Biggest Fart App’, a smartphone based game which enables you to make a friends phone fart (whilst making an SMS donation to Comic Relief ).

The simple answer is yes.

Downloaded 100,000 times for Red Nose Day, 60% of game players were under 30 and 53% of them men and almost half were first time fundraisers.

You might also be interested in the science of farts.

What is gamification?

Gamification is defined as ‘the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts’. In our experiment it was all about making something that our target audience of young men found unappealing (fundraising) into something more engaging (farts).

It’s about putting your users needs first. Engage people with something fun and they’ll be more prepared to consider and act on supporting your needs. It’s a win win.

You might be interested in how we used street magic and magicians to make street fundraising more engaging in Newcastle.

Where is it useful?

From making tax returns more interesting to building online communities to fundraising, gamification techniques, rewards and recognition are everywhere – and they are a key part of the digital landscape.

It can be used to make mildly interesting or onerous tasks more fun or it’s also great for engaging new audiences, who maybe don’t traditionally engage with your charity’s message or area of activity.

It’s not something frivolous. These days it’s a key part of digital design and essential for any charity wanting to engage with under 40’s. There are just too many competitive, engaging, involving digital experiences on offer to bother with ones that aren’t engaging.

This geek site asks people to provide advice and ‘rewards’ them based on the quality and frequency of their advice

Foursquare rewards and celebrates users who ‘check in’ regularly.

Even facebook tells me what percentage of my profile I’ve completed and congratulates me when I’ve finished (giving my life data to them!).

How do I do it?

The first thing is to understand your audience’s viewpoint – we discovered young men liked farts more than fundraising.

We did it by ‘quick and dirty’ concept testing by putting ads targeted at this audience on facebook and seeing what they clicked on. Farts got a much higher response than conventional charity ads.

Make the behaviours you want to encourage rewarding.

We wanted to incentivise people to keep playing (and donating via SMS), so we created a reward structure – unlocking surprise special edition farts (see our ‘Science of Farting blog) and by recognising achievement with a local area ‘fart rank’ and a national league table of the ‘Top Farters in Britain’).

fart  fart2

Playing a game on your own isn’t fun, so design it social.

The core of the game was about sending an SMS (which triggered a donation) to a friend, which would make their phone fart. The fun was in the reaction between friends – and the battle to stay on top of your rank.

Once you’ve done that, you’ve created a positive playful supporter relationship.

TheGivingLab offers innovation consulting, consumer research and digital design to help charities change and grow. Contact us: change@thegivinglab.org

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