What Nonprofits Can Learn at Games for Change Festival | Beth's Blog

What Nonprofits Can Learn at Games for Change Festival


Note from Beth: Back in 2007,   I presented and attended at the Games for Change Festival.    Over the past few years, games and mobile platforms have become more and more important for nonprofits to pay attention to for their communications strategy.   The annual festival is an excellent opportunity to hear from the field’s thought leaders and see innovative approaches.

What Nonprofits Can Learn at Games for Change Festival by Jeff Ramos

The 8th Annual Games for Change Festival takes place on June 20 – 22 in New York City. As the leading global advocate for making and supporting games created for social impact, we want to share some of the exciting events at this year’s Festival that we feel will resonate with nonprofits.

On Monday, June 20, of the festival features two daylong workshops about the power of games. Nonprofits will be most interested in “The Case for Social Impact Games” track, where four case studies of social impact games touching on hyper-local community building, national civic engagement, international development issues and psychological health are addressed through collaborations between game designers and various social change institutions. Each case study will be presented by the designers and their implementing partners. Together they will offer up a wealth of knowledge on how and why their games were created and what can be learned from the process. It’s a rare occasion when one is able to hear the perspectives of the non-profit/funder and the game designer speaking together about recent projects. It’s also an amazing opportunity to hear from key leading funders of games including the MacArthur Foundation, Knight Foundation and the World Bank Institute.

Kicking off Wednesday’s activities will be Pulitzer Prize winning author Sheryl WuDunn (Half the Sky), who will be leading a keynote conversation with Laura Pincus Hartman of (Zynga.org ) and Pierre Guillaume Wielezynski, the Head of Web at the World Food Programme.  Together they will discuss how entrepreneurs, philanthropists, academics, and business leaders can leverage popular media channels, be it games or social media, to address pressing social issues.   Games For Change also provides young game designers the opportunity to put theory into practice. The winners of the Real-World Games For Change Challenge will present the results of the first public run of their game “Commons

Around the world, the Games for Change community is creating multiple projects that capitalize on the power of mobile.    Speaking directly to this topic is the “Rethinking Mobile” panel that will showcase five, upcoming mobile projects that everyone needs to have on their radar in the coming months. In addition, the “Games for Change Around the World” panel will discuss the efforts of the three current Games for Change international branches in Latin America, Europe, and Korea. The leaders in all three communities will share projects that they are currently developing and the audience will gain deeper knowledge of game design techniques from other countries. Lastly, the “Trends in Gaming” series of micro talks will focus on everything stated above from the use of mobile platforms, games involving direct action, and utilizing social networking games on Facebook to drive causes and create change.

June 20 – 22 is fast approaching. We invite everyone to check out the Games for Change Festival website and explore the content that will make an impact on you. To connect with us before, during, and after the Festival, you can find us on Twitter and follow the Festival hashtag #G4C2011.

A special offer for Beth’s Blog readers: Tweet your best ideas, in 140 characters or less, for a social impact game by May 27 with the hashtag #G4C2011. We’ll be offering 5 complimentary passes to the most innovative ideas! We’ll tweet our results after Memorial Day weekend.

As the Community and Content Manager at Games for Change, Jeff Ramos builds his organization’s presence online through social media and blogs and at various community events.

6 Responses

  1. Susan McPherson says:

    Great piece, Beth. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Nelson Layag says:

    Thanks for the report out. I hope there will be some info on the case studies The Case for Social Impact Games post conference (or recordings/slides). What an interesting session and I would love to be there (alas cannot). I still have fond memories presenting the organizinggame.org and meeting folks at one of the first G4C.

  3. I like very much this mention of games with the ability to change the world. Games are probably the best way to learn and interactive games are really a powerful medium for the children of the Fourth Revolution!

  4. Read was interesting, stay in touch……

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  5. Josh Spiro says:

    Great preview of last year’s Games for Change Festival. Are you planning on attending the Games for Change Festival this year? This is going to be my first year attending (as a volunteer) but I’m already psyched about the great speaker lineup and they’ve announced and about the broader lessons for nonprofits I’m sure I’ll encounter there.

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