The gamification of fundraising

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Team DonorDrive

Team DonorDrive

This article is from our State of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising 2018 Report. Get the full report free.

At DonorDrive, we built our software on the idea that fundraising is more successful when we make it enjoyable. A number of years back, our developers looked to video gaming for inspiration in what engages people and landed on the idea of adding Achievement Badges to DonorDrive. What’s an achievement badge? Just like moving up a level in a video game, it’s a reward: visible of recognition for what peers accept as excellent behavior.

Gamification works for fundraising because we’re all gamers

Your participants likely already know the value of badges from playing video games. We traditionally think of gamers as male teens, but that’s far from true. The data shows 4 out of 5 households have a video gaming console and 3/4 of us game. The average gamer is 35 years old. The most frequent gamers are 43-year-old women. Also, women who play video games now outnumber males under 18. The avid gamer is likely to be the person next to you on the bus playing Candy Crush Saga on their smartphone.

Why is gamification having such success in fundraising? Gaming instills in us a value to winning and achievement. DonorDrive’s Achievement Badges have proven to be fun motivators for everyone who fundraises.

The benefit of badges

There’s been much research about badges (researchers call them “micro credentials”) and gamification. Studies reveal badges work as a form of motivation in many environments and currently are having much success in education. Research, including what we’ve conducted at DonorDrive, shows that badges:

  • Are fun to work towards
  • Are gratifying to achieve
  • Give us pride in earning
  • Raise our own performance expectations
  • Make us more committed to our goals
  • Encourage us to set new goals once a badge is achieved
  • Encourage others to become fundraisers
  • Elevate our status among fellow fundraisers
  • Encourage fellow fundraisers to achieve what we’ve achieved
  • Reinforce their own value in achieving

Badges help grow event culture

Achievement Badges are built into of DonorDrive and provide a reward system that grows in perceived value each year they’re offered. Participants see others achieving badges and they want that success for themselves. Likewise, the accumulation of badges creates a status that must be earned. Like the culture that video games nurture, we’re seeing a fundraising culture grow around badges, building a bigger sense of community around the event itself. Badges are fostering loyalty to events and ultimately to organizations.

Extra Life was one of our first clients on DonorDrive to use Achievement Badges. It was a logical fit for this 24-hour gaming marathon that benefits 170 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Michael Kinney, Senior Director of Extra Life & Digital Fundraising, sees these badges as having a big effect on success:

Achievement Badges have allowed us to virtually incentivize our participants for little-to-no-cost, while at the same time helping us encourage participant behaviors that we know will make them more effective fundraisers for our cause

In 2017, the 24-hour Extra Life gaming marathon raised over $10 Million.

We know that a key factor in the growth of peer-to-peer fundraising is when events create a sense of community. Achievement Badges are a cost-effective way to help grow that sense of community with no extra time required by staff.

Ready to learn more about how DonorDrive can help you?