Help by Gaming

I'm not big into video games. My inner- (okay outer) nerd is into enough dorky stuff. But a lot of people love playing games online, and that's great. Here are a few games that let you help worthy causes just by playing!

  • Free Rice is a vocabulary game that donates rice to those in need through the World Food Programme.
  • Games that Give offers a whole list of games you can play, all of which let you give to charitable organizations by playing.
  • Joy Kingdom lets you allocate money to organizations that help animals. Ellen Degeneres helped to develop this one.
  • WeTopia is a Facebook game that helps real children while you play.

Where Does the Money Really Come From?

These games cost nothing to play, so who's actually donating? From what I can tell, the giving structure for these kinds of games is pretty simple. Advertisers pay money to have their ads featured on the game pages, or other sponsorship and marketing platforms, and that money pays for the games' development and the donations. So really when you're playing, you're just telling the advertisers where to donate their money. I'd prefer that the donors just give the money outright, but from a marketing perspective I can see that it's a great way to connect with an audience to increase awareness about a brand's charitable giving. Sojo Studios is the developer behind both WeTopia and Joy Kingdom. According to this article from Kotaku,
"Sojo's formula is pretty simple. Half of the profit from in-game purchases and advertising revenue is applied towards the various charities. Through choices made in game, you decide how your portion of that is distributed." 
And the Games that Give website states "GamesThatGive combined gaming with charitable giving to create the leading platform for engaging brands' customers in charitable activities."

Not into games either?

Care2's click to donate programs are even simpler. You literally just click to allocate funds to certain organizations. I like to add the links to my various online profiles and email signatures to encourage people to click!