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Donor Participation Project

Fundraising Through Gaming: Tips from the Experts

Fundraising through gaming and Esports is a growing trend that many nonprofits are eager to tap into. According to experts Diego Scharifker and Dan Long, gaming fundraising has the potential to reach new audiences and raise significant funds. However, it requires careful planning and the right approach to be successful.

Leadership buy-in

Scharifker, former corporate fundraising officer at the USO, says obtaining buy-in from leadership is the first step. Educate them about the size and impact of gaming audiences to address stereotypes. Gaming is mainstream, with the average gamer age 33 and nearly two-thirds of adults gaming regularly. fundraising success stories and the potential to reach younger donors can help build their support.


Long, community manager at the St. Baldwin Foundation, stresses that building community is key. Use platforms like Discord to connect with influencers and their audiences. Schedule regular community events to strengthen relationships. Consider an ambassador program to work with influencers closely tied to your mission.

Emotional ties

While big names may raise awareness, the size of someone’s following alone does not determine fundraising success. Emotional ties to the cause matter more. Work with influencers genuinely passionate about your nonprofit’s work. Their authentic stories will resonate far more with audiences than fame.

Give back

Matching gifts are a useful incentive, as donors see their contributions doubled. Start with a feasible amount based on your current fundraising, and scale up as community support grows. In-kind donations of gaming equipment or experiences also work well for prizes and events. Keep your nonprofit mission central, not cash or prizes.

Successful campaigns take time.

Start small, learn from mistakes, and build upon wins each year. With the right community and corporate partnerships, gaming can become a powerful tool for fundraising and beyond, as nonprofits and companies work together to achieve shared goals. But like any skill, mastering gaming fundraising is a marathon, not a sprint.

View the full recording of this session in our Resource Library.

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