THE BLOG

$310,785 From Ramadan Fundraising Drive Proves the Charity of Mobile Gamers

14/08/2015 11:27 BST | Updated 13/08/2016 10:59 BST

The notion of giving to charity has changed with the advent of digital technology to the point that I am thinking of changing my homepage to that of Just Giving; the social platform for giving.

At any given time, and especially so in the summer, friends of mine seem to be undergoing all types of exertion to raise money for charity. Whether it's cycling, climbing Kilimanjaro, running marathons or more arcane pursuits such as naked walking, I'm happy to contribute to their efforts.

At some point, I am likely to be less passive in giving to charity and will embark on such noble ventures myself, but for now, I'm happy to let others do the working; I'm happy to feel better by just paying... or, more to the point, giving.

Whatever the reason, the upshot is that good causes benefit and while the nature of giving has changed because of technology, many things remain the same... not least giving to charity by pressing some buttons, instead of waking up some muscles.

One such element that has been steadfast in the Muslim World since Mohammed came in from the desert is the idea of Zakat where Muslims pay an annual tax to charity; it is also one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

This culture appears to have crossed over in the world of games, and mobile games in particular. During Ramadan, UK chat-based games platform Palringo ran a campaign by offering an incentivised promotion on one of its fishing games.

Through a mixture of offers such as special achievement, status and extra time limits, the Palringo community raised $310,785, a figure that will be shared and given to Islamic Relief Worldwide and Action Against Hunger.

With more than 40 million users and a significant footprint in the Arab world, the average spend on Palringo was $50 with one gamer contributing a staggering $14,000. Over the past three years the Palringo community has raised more than $800,000 for similar campaigns.

"Combining group messaging and gaming makes it a great tool for amplifying the charitable activities of users. This year we decided to add a charity twist to our fishing game as we knew that engagement levels within the game were already high and it would provide users with a fun way to compete while raising money for charity."

"We're delighted with the success of this year's campaign and are looking forward to developing the concept further next year and hitting the $1 million target in the fourth year of this work," said Tim Rea, Palringo CEO.

Mobile gamers are not the only philanthropic gamers if recent fundraising efforts closer to home are anything to go by. In the UK, this year's GameBlast15 event raised more than £120,000 over the course of one weekend to help severely disabled gamers play games.

Moreover, gamers' charity SpecialEffect is the only UK games charity that is dedicated to games and disability. One recent initiative was similar to that of Palringo's strategy in that it allowed gamers to donate monies from their 'in-game wealth' while playing games.

Finally, GamesAid is a UK games industry based on charity with an emphasis on children and young people. It distributes funds to a diverse range of charities and acts as a broker of charitable activity on behalf of the industry, taking advice from all sectors.

Last autumn GamesAid raised a whopping £438,000 for seven charities, a huge increase over the previous year's £260,000. In total, GamesAid has raised over £1.2 million since it was formed six years ago.

While digital giving has accelerated greatly over the past 15 years, it appears that humans, be they the Palringo mobile community, Kilimanjaro climbers or the members of GamesAid, continue to be charitable beings.

That may be all well and good, but I'm going to draw the line at naked walking and for now I'll stay on my sofa pressing buttons on Just Giving to assuage my slightly challenged conscience. Good luck to them all though.