It's about a year since I first heard the term gamification. Here's the wikipedia definition if you've not come across it before:
Gamification is the use of game design techniques, game thinking and game mechanics to enhance non-game contexts
It's being promoted as the next big thing in campaigns and fundraising. If you get it right, it can be a brilliant way of engaging supporters.
The Guardian Voluntary Sector network recently held an excellent live Q&A on the gamification which included examples and tips.
Is gamification really the next big thing or have we actually all been doing this for years? Please share your examples and tips here to inspire others.
The agency Reason Digital have written up a great case study of the Living Streets campaign they worked on including how they used game mechanics. An interesting read.
Isn't 'gamification' just a fancy name for making a campaign fun and interactive?
The principles of gamification have been around for some time, but the phrase itself refers to the mechanis and psychology used in computer gaming which makes it addictive and engaging, or as sunnyday says, making something "fun and interactive".
There's a lot charities can learn from the mechanics and psychology of gaming, as well as "nudge" theory, to get people to take small steps to change their behaviour towards improving their own situation. In the real world, these include things such as the WeightWatchers points system, putting photos of lung cancer patients on packets of cigarettes or the "pennies" donation system of rounding up the cost of a pizza at Dominos in order to donate to charity.
You don't need to develop games to implement gamification, you just need to know how to nudge people into taking positive action, whether it's making a donation or changing their own behaviour.
If you're interested in learning more about gamification and the principles of game mechanics, I'd thoroughly recommend subscribing to The Gamification Blog (http://gamification.co/) and reading the book "Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wellbeing and Happiness"