SF Bay protector non-profit Save the Bay takes a slightly different route to traditional donation soliciting - a simple game for site visitors to play.
Charities and non-profits have been leveraging social media for some time now, but the strategy has largely to promote a message to reach potential contributors. However, Oakland-based Save the Bay is using interactivity to engage visitors in a new way, and for each visitor to play their browser-based Battle for the Bay game, two Save the Bay members will donate one dollar.
Taking the monetary pressure off the common person is a welcome relief, and the game provides relevant trivia that shows why the area is such a valuable resource. So not only does the group get extra money from this campaign, hopefully players will also give, now that they have a non-solicitation and plenty of context.
While Save the Bay has general goals of restoration and protection of SF Bay Area wetlands and organism populations, the game gives additional historical information through different levels, each its own decade. From the 1960's urban sprawl to contemporary Cargill Inc development in Redwood City, Battle for the Bay brings both fun and attempt at empowerment to citizens.
Sites such as Change.org rely on an established dynamic of solicitation that is basically the 20th century model of mailers and street solicitors translated into e-mail and Facebook feed announcements. While this type of presence is important for the causes themselves, it does not take the category further in terms of innovation - it just makes it more convenient, both to spread the word and to ignore it.