March, the maddest month of the year, and I’m not just talking about the weather. March Madness, NCAA’s annual national championship tournament for collegiate basketball, brings together sports-minded and casual viewers across the country to enjoy the tournament. Yet, what is interesting about this tournament above all others is the way it gamified its own tournament to engage more viewers. Individuals create brackets and join friendly bets to see how accurate their predictions are of each game played.
Gamification is nothing new in our society, yet it has taken a bigger turn in the past few years. With phone applications and other fundraisers using games as a means to get higher usage or higher donations, gamification works because it involves more people in the end goal.
We have also seen other industries piggyback off of the theme of March Madness brackets for their own topics. There are fundraising competition brackets between university newspapers and brackets for best Disney movies. March has become a promotional month and a marketing frenzy. So why don’t we see it in development?
Now, I’m not saying we should turn something as important as international development into games–that wouldn’t sit right with me or most people. However, with the pandemic, we have found that more people can be involved in development in an online environment or platform. Virtual international development may be more easily accessible, or at least more prominent, now than ever before.
Smaller projects, like the ones the Advocacy Project engages with, can utilize March as a way to reach donors and supporters in the United States. Additionally, we can find ways to engage more supporters in the United States through online events that piggyback off of the promotional month similar to other industries within the country.
There is a line that should not be crossed, however. International development works with real issues and real people, so creating a game out of it is not appropriate in my eyes. Yet, finding ways to utilize and piggyback off of existing promotional opportunities will be beneficial for small-scale projects to engage overseas, primarily in the United States, supporters.
March is madness, so let’s utilize it to support good causes.
Posted By Dan Alpert
Posted Mar 22nd, 2021