Imagine if some of the $260 — the average amount spent on social games per year among those who pay– went to nonprofits. With more than one quarter of the 600 million social gamers paying to play, that's a lot of ka-ching for social good.
That's the concept behind Beekin, which is coming to your computer screens sometime next year. "They're the Farmville of philanthropy," said its founder Micheal Fox. No, not that Michael Fox; another Michael Fox, the one who is a former lawyer, founder of The New Life Project, an organization that raised money for the homeless and Humanitainment, a company that produced viral videos for the Obama campaign.
Instead of buying virtual tractors to build virtual barns, consumers will build a schoolhouse in Haiti, protect polar bears in the Arctic or provide meals to needy children in America.
Fox is ambitious: Within a year of launch, he wants to raise $1 million "by the greatest number of people in the shortest amount of time."
His goal is not unreasonable: 600 million people are gamers, generating $1.3 billion in 2010, an amount projected to increase dramatically. Why not tap some of that revenue for nonprofits?
Fox is operating at the intersection of social gaming, cause marketing and crowdsourcing. This is win-win for everyone. What surprised me is how the much the audiences who care most about cause-marketing — moms and Gen Y — are the same audiences who like social gaming.
Each project will have four partners: players, businesses, celebrities, and a nonprofit. Here's how it will work:
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