Gamification: Incentivize Your Constituents to Act
Nonprofits can use these common impulses without building an entire gaming ecosystem. Activities as simple as displaying a thermometer to show how close you are to achieving a fundraising goal tap in to people's desire to "complete" objectives and be among "the best." So, too, do leaderboards showing "top fundraisers" in peer-to-peer platforms and use of regional language such as "63 people in [your city] have had their gifts matched." If you have the capability to use these kinds of techniques to help make your donors feel like your goals are their goals, they're great things to test.
You also can use these techniques to improve your advocacy results. Once constituents have taken one of your actions, show them the rest of the actions on that topic that they could complete. Show them the number of actions until they've "completed" all of them. Tell them where they rank across your entire list of supporters.
Giving supporters a "ranking" can be a great way to encourage extra action, but be careful not to offend anyone with a low ranking. Make top-ranking supporters feel great for being so active on behalf of your organization; it will make them want to continue to support you. But don't make less active users feel bad for the actions they haven't taken — this is one time in direct marketing that guilt works against us. Simply tell them how great it is to take more actions and how much those actions help the cause they support — and make it easy for them to act.
There are many elements to a successful game: an activity that people want to do, a way to make them feel good for spending time on it, rewards for spending that time and more. Good nonprofits already try their best to make their users feel good for their support, and they communicate smartly with those users so they come back to give more money and take more action on behalf of the cause.