When Gaming Meets Charity: Raising Awareness Instead of Just Funds

When Gaming Meets Charity: Raising Awareness Instead of Just Funds

May 20, 2015

/ by Tin Salamunic

Over the past year there have been some amazing charity campaigns in the gaming industry through DLC, in-app purchases and also via Twitch live streams. Gamers have helped raise millions in funds and therefore supported causes from providing life-saving hospital equipment to planting trees. Gaming is now an effective place to raise funds for your favorite causes.

Something that you’re less likely to see inside of a game these days is an awareness raising campaign that sets out to inform and educate players with helpful information about a cause or charity. The award winning multiplayer fantasy game RuneScape offered a memorable example of such a campaign. The online roleplaying game supports United for Wildlife, a collaboration between seven of the world’s most influential conservation organizations brought together by the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, to help promote the protection of rhinos in the wild.

For two weeks RuneScape players had the opportunity to learn about the animals’ plight as they answered a series of one-a-day questions. By answering three questions successfully, the player unlocked a white rhino and with ten questions, the player received a rare black rhino. As an additional feature, two young conservationists lent their voices to be used for special in-game characters. They provided facts and help to further explain the plight of rhinos in the wild to players as they moved about the game.

Ros Aveling, deputy chief executive of conservation charity Fauna & Flora International, explained why she sees this partnership as a perfect match. "Innovative approaches to reaching a younger audience, who are traditionally hard to engage in conservation, are vital to the success of United for Wildlife and to the protection of critically endangered wildlife,” said Aveling.

Young people are not typically known to donate, but perhaps the gaming industry can raise funds from this burgeoning target market to make an impact for charities by building loyal support from an early age. Many of these new PC gamers are beginning to use providers such as paysafecard - who do not require bank accounts or credit cards to pay for their games. Perhaps now that charities have learned how to engage young people in this new way, they can also think about how to facilitate their donations better using payment methods like paysafecard.

The campaign’s results were outstanding: over 57 per cent of RuneScape’s daily players participated in the campaign and over 1.3m questions were answered. RuneScape said that the player’s feedback was predominantly positive - some even signing up to support rhino charities. These numbers are significant and really show the potential that these gaming projects could have in engaging a new audience in a cause.

A campaign like this has the chance to change and inform opinions on a huge scale. This doesn't mean that raising funds isn't a great way of giving support, but raising awareness is equally important and there is doubtlessly a lot of room for that within the gaming industry.

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