Good Game Mechanics and Great Causes

/ 5 August 2020

Good Game Mechanics and Great Causes: What’s Next for Giving Assistant After Raising $5,700,000 for Nonprofits

By Daniel Talavera, Email Marketing Strategist at Giving Assistant

Joining Giving Assistant a few months ago, having spent the better half of the last decade marketing in the games industry, I was particularly attracted by the company’s use of motivational sciences and game mechanics to do good.

GivingAssistant.org makes it easy for shoppers to earn cashback on purchases, and to donate part of (or all of) their savings to good causes. Over $5.7 million has been donated so far.

People quickly understand the value proposition. That’s the easy part! The challenge is honing the experience to such a degree that people seamlessly benefit (and enjoy benefiting) from the platform whenever they shop online.

That’s where ‘gamification’ has played a really important part, and where we intend to push boundaries.

Famed podcaster Joe Rogan recently received criticism for saying that video games are “fun” and “addictive” but ultimately “a waste of time”. I disagree that they’re a waste of time (I guess I would), but we can at least agree that games are fun and ‘sticky’. The principles that make them so successful are not exclusive to gaming however, and can be applied in all kinds of industries.

For example; as humans we have an innate desire to progress, games are very good at recognizing mini milestones to keep people motivated and moving forward. When LinkedIn applied this principle and added a ‘progress bar’, it improved profile completeness by 20% across the board. Progress bars are now so common that someone even created a parody version which never ends just to show the strange allure.

At Giving Assistant, there are many opportunities to mark progress and achievement; such as recognizing how much someone has raised for a specific cause, demonstrating how donations have actually helped real people, and so on.

Such gamification mechanics are used quite widely to improve the overall experience: notifications pop-up to let users know about the donations others are making, which plays to ‘social proof’ behavior (humans tend to be heavily influenced by each other).

We have double cash back events that work in part due to the ‘scarcity effect’ (the less there is or the less time we have to get it, the more we want it). If people are dropping off, we can remind them how much they have achieved so far. Humans don’t like to give up on things we have already invested in. The list goes on!

These are all great and have helped shoppers to keep raising money for good causes, but the next step is taking things up a level (no gaming pun intended) and really pushing boundaries of what can be achieved. 

3radical specializes in game mechanics, behavioral sciences, and ‘earned data’ and we’re working together to improve the ‘stickiness’ at the beginning of our user journey and to cement real connections between users and our nonprofit partners. 

The point where users first sign-up is critically important. We want to establish sophisticated progression models that ultimately help individuals make best use of the platform for their specific needs, and to do that we need information.

The 3radical Voco platform perfectly suits that need because it enables us to attract and retain the attention of users through fun, interactive exchanges of value while ‘earning’ data that ultimately helps improve the overall experience. The absolute key thing here is that the data is ‘earned’. Given my personal background is in strategic email marketing, I’m very used to permission-based approaches, and I know how important they are.  An individual’s comfort around how their data is obtained and leveraged is fundamentally important. Each data point represents a real person.

In my experience, customers are willing to share their data if it is respected, only used in permissioned ways, and adds value to their day-to-day lives. That level of trust is earned by respecting their time, their space, and conducting business through an empathetic marketing lens. 

Giving Assistant has achieved a remarkable amount, but we recognize there’s room for further growth and opportunities to build deeper relationships between our product, brands, and nonprofits partners to the benefit of all. 

3radical is a partner that’s perfectly aligned with our principles. Together, we plan to help people save even more money, raise even more money for good causes, and make sure everyone thoroughly enjoys themselves in the process.

Read more in 3radical’s press release: 3radical Wins Contract with Giving Assistant

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