GamesThatGive: You Play, Charities Win

Online Gaming Startup Rewards Users With Donations to Causes

By Published on .

Cie Nicholson
Cie Nicholson
You may feel guilty, but you still play that quick game of Solitaire or Sudoku for a break during the day. Now, you can alleviate the baggage. Longtime marketing exec Cie Nicholson tells how.

It is no secret that advertisers are struggling to find new, creative ways to get their messages to the right audiences. With the economy sputtering and both consumer spending and confidence down, many consumers no longer trust advertising, and some make conscious efforts to avoid promotional messages all together.

Charities face many of the same challenges. Today's media (and economic) environment makes it both more challenging and more costly to reach prospective supporters and engage them. Beyond needing to break through a crowded information marketplace, charities must educate people on their issues if they expect them to make a commitment.

Like others, advertisers and charities are trying to tap the power of new media as a way to attract interest, build communities, disseminate information, interact more directly with their audiences and drive action. But much of what they are doing gets lost among the thousands of competing marketing messages directed at consumers daily.

Enter GamesThatGive.

GamesThatGive is an online startup that offers casual games people can play for free and also raise money for charities.

GamesThatGive offers a different approach for advertisers and charities: tapping existing consumer behavior, leveraging the benefits of cause marketing and providing opportunities for users to learn about and engage with products and causes. It is more than a gaming site; GamesThatGive has the potential to change the way charities and advertisers approach communications.

How does it work?

The longer a user plays and the better they perform at the game, the more donations they generate for the charity they choose. Advertisers sponsor each gaming session, but their branding and promotional messages do not disrupt game play. Everybody wins.

A few other important details:

  • GamesThatGive offers a simple model. GamesThatGive directs 70% of all advertising revenue to charities. Do the math -- that's a lot of money.
  • GamesThatGive taps existing behavior. Moms, dads, teens, college students, boomers, C-level executives – many people are playing online casual games in big numbers and for long periods of time. There are more than 100 million unique monthly casual gamers in America, and they spend on average more than five hours a week playing casual games. That's more than the time spent per week on social networking sites or watching online video. GamesThatGive turns that time into real dollars to support the charities we all care so much about.
  • GamesThatGive is fun for users and an effective advertising channel. GamesThatGive offers popular casual games such as Blackjack, Gems, Solitaire and Sudoku -- and adds a new game monthly. It's a safe, appropriate place for delivering advertising messages to consumers of all ages. Users continue to receive advertising messages the entire time they're playing and donating.
  • GamesThatGive is partnering with well-known charities. GamesThatGive has partnered with the American Heart Association, Do Something, Feeding America, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Jumpstart for Young Children, Mercy Corps, U.S. Fund for UNICEF and other innovative, successful charities. More important, having learned from the example of other social and online charitable platforms, GamesThatGive is limiting the number of charities invited onto the platform so that it can have a significant impact for all its charity partners.
  • GamesThatGive has top-tier brands as advertisers. GamesThatGive offers advertisers an all-new, built-from-the-ground-up, custom promotions and couponing in-game message-delivery platform where its advertisers can target by demographic, game, charity—and soon by time of day. Domino's Pizza, Dial soap, Quaker, Propel, MasterCard, bottled Starbucks Frappuccino, Best Buy and Pepsi have all signed on.
  • GamesThatGive is already successful. Early results have confirmed that consumers are not only willing but excited to play free games that generate donations to their favorite charities. Each user visits the site about twice per day, and the average time spent on-site exceeds 10 minutes—more than 2.5 times the benchmark for similar-sized, casual gaming sites. The model is clearly a compelling one for consumers.

GamesThatGive is a new opportunity for advertisers to demonstrate their support for charities to the more than 100 million American consumers playing casual video games every month. GamesThatGive offers charities a way to partner with top-tier brands, while delivering information about their missions and focuses to prospective supporters. And it offers users a fun and rewarding experience.

That's it. There's no catch.

Now, go play!

Cie Nicholson serves as principal strategist to GamesThatGive. She has more than 20 years of marketing experience, most recently as senior VP-CMO of Pepsi-Cola North America.
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