From bingo games in the rec hall to Girl Scout cookie sales to the Jerry Lewis telethons, charitable giving has been “social” in many ways. Today, major social gaming, virtual worlds and social media companies launched Points for Pakistan. In the wake of flooding that has rendered more than 20 million people injured or homeless, an impressive collaborative of more than a dozen leading technology companies are participating in this campaign to educate the users of social games, virtual worlds and social media websites about the disaster, as well as to facilitate donating funds for humanitarian relief with one click.
Points for Pakistan a program that targets more than 200 million active monthly users on the sites of IMVU, RockYou, Playspan, Playdom, NHN/ijji, KlickNation, Nvinium Games, Roiworld, 101 Apps, Blue Frog Gaming and Fish Wrangler.
Users can earn credits or virtual goods by participating in a Peanut Labs online survey that asks them how familiar they are with this summer’s flooding, provides links to learn more about the disaster and directs them to donate to Points for Pakistan aid programs administered by the American Red Cross, Oxfam America and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees flood relief programs.
A number of companies have pledged additional support to the campaign through matching donation pledges, direct grants, and special Pakistan-branded virtual goods. The campaign also has the support of nonprofit industry groups including Women in Games International.
The data collected from Points for Pakistan’s user survey will be useful for employing social media for humanitarian causes, said Ali Moiz, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Peanut Labs, which is administering the campaign. “When we understand how users learn about global events, and how they make decisions about charitable giving, then we can do a better job of leveraging social technology to do good in the world.”
Participating companies formed the Points for Pakistan campaign in response to the scope of the flood’s destruction and the potential power of engaged social media users. “Social media users spend several hours each day participating in online communities and volunteering their opinions about brands and products. With Points for Pakistan we have an opportunity to harness their engagement in response to overwhelming need,” said Cary Rosenzweig, CEO of IMVU.
According to United Nations estimates, flood damage already has surpassed that of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, 2005 Kashmir earthquake and 2010 Haiti earthquake combined. Officials predict the flood’s total economic impact to exceed US $40 billion.