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AmplifyATX: Gamification of Giving Days

Five days before SxSWi 2013, I Live Here, I Give Here launched, Amplify Austin, an online giving campaign to raise $1 million in 24-hours for 300 Central Texas nonprofits. By using gamification strategies – financial incentives, an online platform and social media training – the campaign ultimately raised $2.8 million online in 24 hours for 320 nonprofits. Our panel features the program designers in Austin who can share their experiences and lessons learned.

Amplify Austin employs best practices in the growing Giving Day trend as reported by the Case Foundation ( These events feature a finite giving period, a group of mobilized nonprofits, and an incentive contest structure. As the Giving Day model matures, the success of Amplify Austin should increase, in line with the trajectory of other Giving Days throughout the country. Amplify Austin, 2014 is 6:00 pm March 20 – 6:00 pm March 21.

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  1. How long did it take for you to prepare? We learned of the idea in the summer of 2011, but didn’t actively begin organizing our initiative until January, 2012. We talked to a handful of other cities that had created and launched Giving Days. We then evaluated best practices, identified critical success factors and developed a strategy for Austin.
  2. How did the $160K incentive match pool add to the program? Knowing that each dollar was amplified by the $160K incentive match pool helped motivate the community to want participate, because each person’s individual gift was stretched. By reviewing other giving days, we’ve since learned that the larger the incentive pool, the more enthusiastic a community is to participate. We are working to increase our incentive pool for Amplify Austin 2014.
  3. How did the gamification work? Gamification was offered by granting $1K each to the 2 nonprofits that raised the most dollars and secured the most donors each hour. We also granted 4 $5K gifts to the nonprofits that raised the most $$ before midnight, most $$ overall, most donors overall and those that had the most individual fundraisers. The gamification provided the nonprofits with motivation to create strategy and determine how and when they asked their current donors to give in 24 hours.
  4. How did you leverage social media in regard to community engagement? First, we created our own social media following. Second, we provided social media training for the participating nonprofits. Third, we encouraged the nonprofits to mobilize their donors using social media.Finally, we helped the nonprofits tell their story using social media that ultimately built capacity.
  5. What will you do differently for 2014? The nonprofit gamification will stay the same, but we now know that the greater the incentive match pool, the more willing to participate a community is, because their dollar is stretched. As a result, we are looking to increase the match pool and recruit more business fundraisers to stimulate friendly competition within the ranks of Austin. In 2014 we aim to raise $4M in 24 hours for 400 nonprofits beginning 6:00 pm March 20 – 6:00 pm March 21.



Karen Frost, Sponsorship Sales Executive, I Live Here, I Give Here®

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