This concept is the result of a Better Giving Studio 3-day collaborative sprint focusing on Small Dollar Donors. Riya Patel (Global Giving), Jessica Sloan (RaisedBy.Us), Rachel Klausner (Millie), PJ Rosa (DonorsChoose) and Katie Cowling (Facebook) championed this idea. You can read the brief the teams worked from for more context.
First time donors don’t always know which causes to support or how to give, which can make it hard for them to know where to start. Donors also want to know their donations have an impact, which is less likely to happen at lower donation levels. YouTopia uses game mechanics to help new and small dollar donors learn about cause areas that interest them and engage with nonprofits in those cause areas via challenges in the game.
YouTopia leverages research and gaming mechanics to keep donors engaged:
While YouTopia can appeal to middle-aged donors who get excited about new tech platforms and gaming, its main target is young donors who are just starting their philanthropic journey, either on their own, with friends, or through a workplace matching program. Donors like Brandy.
Brandy is a 17-year-old socially engaged high school student. She has a part-time job after school, so she has a bit of money to donate, but doesn’t know where to begin. A friend invites her to YouTopia. In the game, she can explore what other players have already built—virtual schools, hospitals, homes—and create her own avatar and donor identity based on causes she’s passionate about.
She chooses a virtual project, and earns tools and supplies to build it by completing challenges. Challenges include reading articles about nonprofits that support causes she’s interested in, making donations, volunteering, and inviting friends to the platform. Completing all of the challenges allows her to build her virtual YouTopia project. Throughout the game, Brandy can also see the contributions she’s making in the real world, as well as read about her impact. Plus she can join group challenges with other players who share her philanthropic passions, and view their collective impact.
By completing challenges that involve learning, volunteering, donating, and sharing, donors create tangible impact both in their virtual world of YouTopia and the real world. The wide spectrum of challenge options enables donors to engage regardless of their available budget or time.
Are you working on something similar? Have feedback to give us or insights that we should know about related to this exploratory concept? Did you test out this idea, and how did it go? We’d love to hear from you! Please write us a note at [email protected]
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.