Online Fundraising
December 16, 2021

Fundraising through Online Charitable Gaming: 3 Key Takeaways for Nonprofits

COVID-19 has forever changed the dynamics of fundraising. What used to be a primarily offline industry—powering forward through galas, dinners, and events—now thrives on online fundraising efforts. We are living in a world where physical fundraising events are no longer viable (or 100% safe). As a result, online fundraising has gained momentum and it has been a key element for the increase in donor retention as well.  

But the pandemic is not the only factor pushing people online. The change can also be attributed to the advancement in technology and internet accessibility. People are now more inclined to interact with charities online—just like they do with their favorite brands, and even friends, and family. The question is how can your charity or nonprofit organization make full use of this opportunity?

In this article, we will shed light on some popular online charitable gaming methods and how successful implementation can increase your ROI and grow your donor base in ways that are super cost-effective.

What is online charitable gaming?

Online charitable gaming refers to any type of online gaming organized with the intention to raise funds for a nonprofit or charitable organization. Raffles and sweepstakes are two of the most popular ways to raise funds through online gaming.

50/50 Online Raffle: As the name suggests, the 50/50 raffle’s prize pot—funded through ticket sales—is split between the winner and the charity. The winner is selected through a draw. The 50/50 online charity raffles are typically repeated every month which helps build momentum and increase participation. This also increases the size of the prize or ‘pot’ which encourages more people to participate to win life-changing amounts.

Sweepstakes allows nonprofits and charitable organizations to go big with their fundraising efforts, often country-wide. The best way forward is to partner with a licensed sweepstakes organizer like Ascend, who understands the different regulations governing each state or country and can operate the sweepstakes at a large scale level.

Catch the Ace is known by several other names including the Queen of Hearts or Chase the Ace and is a multiple-draw lottery that runs for 52 weeks or until the Ace is found. The proceeds are collected via ticket sales. Each weekly draw sees a winner get a portion of the prize money. The winner also gets a chance to pick another card from a single deck of 52 cards in the hopes of winning the cumulative jackpot. If the chosen card is not the Ace then it is removed from the deck and the proceeds are rolled on to the next week. 

Related: An Introduction to Online Gaming-based Fundraising for Nonprofits

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Key takeaways for your nonprofit

Here are three key takeaways to help  you organize your first online gaming raffle or sweepstakes:

1. Know the difference between raffles, sweepstakes, lotteries, and gambling

Raffles: Online raffles, such as Catch the Ace and 50/50, use computers and technology to sell the tickets, pick the winners, and distribute prizes. When organizing online raffles, organizers ensure that all the tickets sold should be entered in the draw which increases the odds of winning. This is unlike a lottery where the winning ticket may not be sold. 

Lotteries: To run a charitable lottery, organizers are required to have a valid license. And like a raffle, lotteries allow players a chance to win a percentage of the ticket proceeds. For both charitable lotteries and raffles, the target audience is interested in winning a prize while donating to a noble cause.

Gambling: Gambling is where participants willingly take the risk of (often) big financial losses to win. Revenue generated from gambling does not support nonprofit causes or charities. But unlike charities and raffles, the outcomes are not entirely based on luck, and instead, have something to do with the participant’s skill and knowledge of the game. Gamblers only have one intention and that is to make a profit for themselves.

Related: Difference Between Online Lottery, Charity Raffles and Gambling

Sweepstakes: Sweepstakes, on the other hand, resemble online raffles in how tickets are sold and winners selected. But in order to participate in a sweepstake, a contestant may not be required to make a purchase or donation. This is where sweepstakes differ from other online charity games. Alternatively, participants may be required to watch a lengthy video, share a social media post, or fill out a survey, etc. Sweepstakes can only be run via a licensed entity. Broadly speaking, people are usually willing to purchase tickets for sweepstakes if it is organized for charitable purposes.

Related: Fundraising 101: Difference Between Online Charity Raffles and Sweepstakes

2. Online charitable gaming is a cost-effective way to increase ROI and grow donor database

Online charitable gaming offers a great and cost-effective alternative to having physical fundraisers. They also have a much higher ROI. Online gaming events do not require physical venues, food, parking, printed tickets, have lower operating and admin costs which translates into bigger savings. 

Above all, those with tight schedules don’t miss out because most online charitable gaming raffles such as 50/50 and Catch the Ace have longer durations of at least a month. Apart from the lower financial investment required, online charitable gaming events need much less time and effort to set up and run. 

They also offer a great way for nonprofits and charities to grow their email database and generate a much greater impact. They allow nonprofits to widen their reach and regularly communicate with their existing and new donors via targeted email communication. This naturally improves their relationship with their donors and also allows nonprofits to capture new email addresses when running new online events thereby boosting their database. 

Related: How to Build a Donor List with Virtual Fundraisers

3. Having the right implementation partner is key

Running a successful fundraiser is easy, especially when you have the right implementation partner working closely with you. With a trusted and full-service partner like Ascend, you have access to the technology and expertise needed to successfully implement impactful online charitable events. Ascend’s end-to-end service helps you manage marketing, promotions, and licensing while creating stable, predictable, and recurring sources of income consistently. 

Virtual fundraisers are a great way to step up your fundraising game while also having a bit of fun. It’s a way to expand a nonprofit’s reach, grow their donor base, and increase their ROI while providing a winning framework for success. Most people want to win life-changing amounts while contributing to a great cause. So why not give it to them?

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