Gaming and charity have a long-time relationship. From church run-Bingo to celebrity poker, people have long sought to leverage their social and leisure time for good. Advancements in technology have allowed us to kick this up a notch and create a whole new kind of social activism. Instead of taking it to the streets we are taking it to the web. Not only meeting people where they live, nonprofit organizations are entering the game and becoming part of the story. Socially active gaming even offers a measure of relief for those who feel a twinge of guilt when they sit down to play and that inner-voice starts in, "I could be doing dishes, laundry, changing the oil in my car." Doing good while enjoying some much needed down time or sharing our lives online is a healthy shift in our culture that will help alleviate suffering while reminding us once again how truly connected we all are.
As part of FarmVille 2, Zynga's latest game, the month of November included a bold partnership with Water.org to accelerate worldwide access to safe water. The four-week campaign kicked off on November 8 and includes three limited edition water-themed items for purchase within the game. Zynga and Facebook plan to donate 100 percent of the limited edition items purchased to benefit the work of Water.org in providing access to safe water to communities around the world. Players will be able to support others while helping their own in-game farms flourish by purchasing Water.org themed jerry cans, pumps and sprinklers, all of which will come with valuable in-game water that allows players to grow more crops for animal feed and crafts. As of this writing Zynga's Farmville2 campaign is expected to help more than 14,000 people gain access to safe water for life.
Facebook also announced that they were adding nonprofit organizations to their Gifts platform, the social platform's recently launched product that enables real-time gift giving through Facebook. Recognizing that millions of us want to connect the charities we support to the celebrations we share with friends online, we're excited to join the American Red Cross, Blue Star Families, Boys & Girls Club of America, DonorsChoose.org, Girls, Inc., Kiva, Livestrong Foundation, Oxfam, RAINN, and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in the introduction of charitable giving through Facebook Gifts.
Charity alone cannot solve any one crisis and technology enables us to connect to the causes we support in new and exciting ways and truly gives everyone an effortless way to support those in need.