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  • Writer's pictureIgor Radic

Gamification Tips for Non-profits and Charities’ Online Fundraising

Updated: Jan 24

Fundraising Gamification Tips and Tricks

Like so many for-profit organizations, the global pandemic significantly impacted the way charities and non-profits raise awareness and funds for their causes. Events have been either postponed or canceled altogether, directly affecting donations.

Even in the post-COVID-19 world, traditional event fundraising will probably not be back for a long time. This situation is only exacerbated by the fact that charities and non-profits were already facing stiff competition amongst each other for precious dollars pre-pandemic.

Many charities turned to online fundraising to fill the enormous financial gap, such as virtual peer-to-peer fundraising events, social media initiatives, and online auctions. While online virtual fundraising is a great strategy to leverage technology to compensate for the hiatus of in-person events, they alone may not be enough to rally supporters for your cause. After all, with lockdowns, work and family stress, as well as overall pandemic anxiety, many people have shifted their priorities towards other areas, like more self-care.

To stoke excitement and engagement for your online fundraising, why not consider gamifying your event or donation process?

What is gamification in fundraising?

Gamification is the strategic application of game-design principles to a non-gaming environment. Gamification leverages the power of psychology and emotional triggers to create positive user experiences.

Gamification in fundraising uses gameplay to incite people to learn more about your cause, change behavior, teach new skills, drive online traffic to your site, and of course, boost donations. In an era in which digital natives are constantly looking to be entertained and educated, fundraising gamification is an approach you should consider for your next online fundraising initiative.

Some of the top gamification techniques for non-profits and charities

In a nutshell, the only limit for fundraising gamification ideas is your imagination. Here are some successful gamification techniques used by non-profits and charitable organizations to increase awareness, engagement, interactions, and donations

Challenges and Missions

Setting up a challenge means that you set a specific fundraising objective that must be achieved within a given timeframe. You can encourage donors to create fundraising groups, for example, and dare others to beat daily goals. The virality of challenges, particularly through social media, can generate very positive results for your non-profit.


Matches keep the momentum moving forward when an individual or group performs a specific action. A case in point? Companies will “match” their employees’ contributions to a cause, turning a single $50 donation into a $100 donation. Matches are a fun way to bring people together for a cause that is also supported by an organization they work for or collaborate with.

Leaderboards and Progress Bars

Humans are naturally competitive. That is why leaderboards and progress bars can be highly effective engagement mechanisms in gamifying fundraising. Seeing how others are being more—or less successful—can motivate people to try and reach the next level. Indeed, with leaderboards and progress bars, vanity metrics are at play.

Badges and Points

Incentivizing people to donate or further educate themselves on a cause can supercharge a fundraising campaign. Gamified fundraisers will usually use points so that people can obtain a prize, whether physical or virtual. Badges, on the other hand, reward people for developing a skill or understanding a new concept.

It is important to remember that gamification in fundraising is not just about raising money. From an app researching cancer cures to raising awareness and getting help for homeless youth, these gamified campaigns were designed to achieve specific objectives. You can learn the fascinating ways five charities used gamification to expand their reach and message recognition here.

Tips for gamifying your online fundraising

When planning your next online fundraising campaign, immediately consider adding a gamification platform to your marketing tools.

One caveat: not all gamification solutions are created equally. Some can be very complex to set up and require specialists to develop the gamification process. Remember, complexity begets longer lead times. Others are too vertically integrated into a specific industry, like insurance, to understand the realities of charities and non-profits.

These are our tips for creating an appealing gamification strategy:

  1. Keep it simple. The key is to design a game that is easy to understand—but not quite as easy to play. You want to delight users to play for an extended period of time.

  2. Consider your players. Know your user personas inside and out. Not all of them have the same psychological needs, which will be critical in choosing the gameplay and rewards system. With the right gamification partner, you’ll be able to associate behavioral science with your target audience—and determine the most appropriate game mechanics.

  3. Detail the goals. Is your online fundraising initiative only about increasing donations, or do you want to create ties between your users and the cause? Do you want users to change behavior, such as pick up ocean plastic waste or quit smoking? Do you want to increase usage of a specific tool; for example, some non-profits encourage people to regularly monitor their credit scores and budgets to keep them from financial ruin.

  4. Think about virality. Gamification is meant to be fun. But it is also intended to be shareable to broaden your audience and increase awareness. Rewarding users for social media shares is one thing. However, if you can develop a genuinely entertaining or buzz-worthy game, you’ll go a long way in urging users to spread the word!

The possibilities for gamifying fundraising campaigns are endless. With a well-designed gameplay and the right marketing, forward-thinking charities and non-profits can gain an impressive competitive edge in terms of donations and supporters.

Gamification Funifier Octalysis

Igor Radić,

Funifier Partner & CEO



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