Play to Win. Send Nets. Stop Malaria. — Org Uses Interactive Game to Build Awareness and Donations

Urging millions around the world to “play the game” and “deliver nets,” the UN Foundation’s Nothing But Nets(NBN) campaign just launched an intriguing interactive game to build understanding (in an incredibly fun way) of how insecticide-treated bed nets to prevent malaria get to users in Africa.

Deliver the Net” teaches users about bed net distribution and challenges individuals to deliver as many virtual nets as possible before the sun goes down and malaria-carrying mosquitoes come out to bite. Players are urged to “race the sun and hand out as many insecticide-treated bed nets as you can to African families. The more nets you deliver—before the mosquitoes come out—the more lives you save. Once you’re done playing the game, sign up for news about the campaign and a life-saving bed net will be sent on your behalf!”

This is one of the most ingenious nonprofit marketing campaigns I’ve seen, ever. Here’s why:

  • Launched at the beginning of the month, the game is a build up to World Malaria Day on April 25th. I can’t imagine a better attention-getter; and this generates donations too.
  • NBN sent an engaging, colorful email invite to get participation going with this clear subject line: Play to win. Send Nets. Stop Malaria.
  • The game is truly fun and engaging; learning is organic rather than pushed and so has greater staying power.
  • Providing your email address at the end of the game — when players “get it,” and enabling follow-ups from the campaign — generates a $10 gift to NBN from its partners. $10 covers the cost of purchasing a long-lasting insecticide-treated bed net, distributing it to a family in need and educating the recipients on its proper use. And, players are invited to donate additional nets, at the affordable price of @$10.
  • After providing your email address, you’re brought to an online video of a UN worker in the field talking about the project and challenges of the  difficult security situation. It’s on YouTube, so easy to pass on.
  • It’s a fun game that delivers a powerful impression at the end when you see the guy inside his tent, filming the video, with the generator running in the 110 degree heat. The video creates a real sense of what it’s like for African’s fighting malaria.

Just a few days post-launch, 2,673 players to date have generated a gift of a net to Africans, and understand how nets can combat malaria — all while having fun. Fun while learning; nothing’s better than that.

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Nancy Schwartz on April 8, 2008 in Advocacy, Case Studies, Fundraising: Innovations & Research, Nonprofit Communications, Unique Approaches, Web 2.0 | 1 comment
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  • Nancy, this is great. A great way to get the message out about World Malaria Day. I hope you dont mind me talking about this on my own blog.

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