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Social Good Gamified: The Global Citizen Festival

Charity is constantly being re-defined as Millennials find their foothold and discover the ability to make change, despite pockets suffering from debt. We let you know that nearly 9 in 10 gave at least once to a charity in the past two years, but to inspire repeat giving from this generation, organizations must do more than advocate for their cause and send out blast emails once in a while. Combining Millennials’ affinity for music festivals and the chance to make an impact, last year’s Global Citizen Festival was a prime example of Millennial-tailored philanthropy. The event drew 60,000 newly appointed “Global Citizens” to Central Park’s Great Lawn for performances from Neil Young, Foo Fighters, and The Black Keys, as well as speeches from global dignitaries, which were also live-streamed to 15 million people around the world. Did we mention that every ticket was free? As the annual festival kicks-off for its second year this weekend, we are taking a look at the Global Citizen Ticket Initiative, the brainchild behind the concert, and how the social good platform has been expertly engineered to not only attract Millennials, but inspire them to action.

Straight To The Points
The over-arching message communicated by the Global Citizen platform is to put an end to extreme world poverty within a generation. It starts with Global Citizen’s slogan: “Take Action. Earn Points. See Impact.” A tagline that might sound like it was written by Tarzan is extremely effective, focusing first on the gaming aspect of this program to reel in Millennials. To earn points, Global Citizens can watch videos (+1 point), share articles to social networks and blogs (+1 point), take quizzes (+3 points), sign petitions (+3 points), and send emails to government representatives (+5 points). Once participants have earned 8 points, they have the chance to win double-pass concert tickets to the festival, with the ability to enter multiple times to increase the chance of winning. The system is simple, accessible, and makes attending the concert into a gamified act of good. The reward also seems attainable—chances to win tickets are high and the organization continues to dole them out at every turn. This year’s festival boasts a line-up of Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, John Mayer, and Kings of Leon, artists people would go great lengths to see. For a free set of tickets for two, all that the project asks for is an estimated thirty minutes of active participation in education and awareness. We know that Millennials are prone to hybrid activism, more likely to save to the world on the side, so using charitable acts as an entry-point to the real prize, free festival tickets, is a magnet to the cause and an added bonus for participants.

Activism’s One-Stop-Shop
Millennials aren’t necessarily willing to keep up with a slew of causes, whether due to the time commitment or because it communicates a lack of identity. Through the ticket initiative, this demographic is introduced to a host of subject areas such as gender equality, environmental sustainability, disease, and child mortality, as they pertain to extreme global poverty. The educational materials are presented in dynamic formats and connect directly to their technological lifelines, incorporating social good seamlessly into the Millennial world.

For Millennials, By A Millennial
The goal to end extreme global poverty by 2030 was first conceived by Hugh Evans, an Australian Millennial, who started taking action at just 14-years-old after experiencing life in the slums first-hand. We often say that it takes a Millennial to know one, and as the founder and CEO of the Global Poverty Project, Hugh has created an organization that speaks directly to this generation, in their language and on their channels. The 2013 Millennial Impact Report cites connection via technology, sharing in “micro” ways, peer influence, and hands-on action as determinants of Millennial engagement with charitable causes. They also want to make an impact, something that the Global Poverty Project capitalizes on with their festival ticket initiative.

Power In Digital Democracy
Though most Millennials don’t have the money to fund a cause and contribute in a way deemed meaningful by old standards, they do hold the power of connectivity, and share above and beyond any other generation. Evans notes that practices of years past, and even old terms like “charity,” won’t pave the way for new changes, but that digital democracy is the future of charitable giving, and the key for this generation to influence a lifestyle change for the 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty. Giving young adults the opportunity to directly contact state Congress and Senate leaders makes the actions feel more substantial and gives the entire movement a tangible purpose for those taking action.

Feeling The Social Good
There is a lot of what “could be” when we talk about Millennials and Plurals, and platforms like Global Citizen turn that into reality. This generation wants digestable information at their fingertips, education masked with an experience that they can talk about, document, and share, fused with sponsored merchandise, and unlimited access via live-streaming and ticket exchanges. Paying for a concert is much different than earning your right to go, and the Global Citizen Festival is a chance for members to not only say they went, but to feel like they made a difference.