The following is a guest post from Judith Bourdeau, Bentz Whaley Flessner’s Corporate Services Manager.
Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., known for its development of the online game, World of Warcraft, recently announced the upcoming availability of an in-game pet, the Cinder Kitten. Players of the game can adopt the pet for a $10 fee, with 100% of the funds going to support the American Red Cross’s Superstorm Sandy Response.
Non-profits who tap into these kinds of unique corporate fundraising dollars can win big. The Make-A-Wish Foundation received $1.1 million in 2010 when World of Warcraft players around the world purchased a similar in-game pet, the Pandaren Monk. In 2011, $1.9 million was raised for Japan earthquake and tsunami relief with the offering of the Cenarion Hatchling pet.
Donations to these community causes are indirectly encouraged through in-game achievements for number of pets adopted and the status symbol of having one of these “vanity pets” at your side during game play. “I’m collecting the pets anyways, so why not choose one that helps others?” said Julie Amundson, World of Warcraft gamer. Others use the pets as a virtual bumper sticker of sorts to declare their support for the named charities.
The social aspect of massively multiplayer online (MMO) gaming means conversations take place that are outside the realm of the game. The pets stimulate discussion about worthy causes and remind players that they are a part of a greater global community.