From the moment attendees check in to your event, you want to capture their attention and provide an unforgettable experience. Ever considered turning your event into a series of games or challenges that encourage attendees to take desired actions and enhance their event journeys?

Enter event gamification. When you incorporate game-like elements and challenges into your event, you excite your attendees and encourage their active participation. It’s a creative way to transform your event and make it stand out from others in the nonprofit sector.

In this guide, we’ll explain why event gamification is so effective, how you can implement it, and provide some ideas to get started so you can reap the benefits of this event tactic as soon as possible.

What is event gamification?

Event gamification is the inclusion of game-like elements and challenges in your event strategy. As EventMobi explains, event gamification “repurposes gaming tactics for an event context, inspiring friendly competition amongst attendees and incentivizing active event participation.”

Gamification makes your events more fun and memorable for attendees, which allows your nonprofit to see better end results.

Why does event gamification work?

Whether you’re hosting an in-person or virtual event, gamification enhances the experience for everyone involved. By incorporating elements that make video games enthralling and immersive for players, gamification can do the following:The benefits of event gamification, as outlined in the text below.

  • Increase attendee engagement. Gamification gets attendees actively involved in your event. When they have a stake in your event’s games and challenges, they’ll be more engaged and motivated to participate.
  • Produce memorable takeaways. If you’re holding a conference or an event with educational sessions, gamification can help reinforce key takeaways. Attendees will associate the knowledge they’ve gained with the fun games they played, helping them remember important content you share.
  • Encourage networking. Let’s say you’re an association hosting an event for nonprofit professionals. You can help people get more value from the event by creating networking challenges that incentivize attendees to interact and learn from each other.
  • Enhance sponsorship value. Corporate sponsors can help take your event to the next level with valuable financial support. Make these relationships mutually beneficial by hosting sponsored challenges or branded activities that promote your sponsors to attendees.
  • Generate better attendee insights. The challenges you create can help you collect important attendee behavioral data and use it to improve future events. For instance, if your networking challenge had a high participation rate, you’ll know to include it in your next event.
  • Maximize return on investment (ROI). Ultimately, gamification helps you reach your event goals and optimize your event’s success. You can create challenges to support just about any initiative—from soliciting donations to increasing newsletter sign-ups—and heighten your event’s ROI as a result.

Event gamification works because it doesn’t just help your nonprofit raise more for its cause. It’s valuable for attendees, sponsors, and your organization, making your event a success for every participant.

How can you implement event gamification?

Now that you understand just how powerful gamification can be, you may be wondering how you can implement it for your event. With a clear strategy and the right tools, it’s quite simple to leverage event gamification.

Follow these steps to start immersing attendees in event gamification:

  1. Determine your event goals. Your event goals will pave the way for the gamification challenges you create. For instance, if one of your goals is to increase session attendance, you may create a challenge in which participants receive five points per session they attend.
  2. Select an event gamification platform. To introduce gamification into your event, you’ll need software that supports gamification features. If you don’t already use a dedicated event app, look for a solution that has gamification components like challenges, activities, points, badges, leaderboards, rewards, and progress tracking. Alternatively, you may opt for a gamification-specific platform if you find one that satisfies your organization’s needs.
  3. Develop game rules. Next, you’ll create game rules that define success for participants. You may assign different point values to different tasks, explain the mechanics of each challenge, and designate rewards winners will receive.
  4. Promote your game. Ensure as many attendees get involved as possible by thoroughly promoting your game. Before the event begins, Double the Donation recommends using marketing channels such as email, social media, and SMS outreach to get attendees excited about your event and its gamification elements. During the event, make sure it’s clear how attendees can participate.
  5. Distribute rewards. Once your event is over, keep the fun going by showcasing your game’s success on social media and distributing rewards. You may ask winners to submit photos of them with their earnings that you can share to recap the event and get people excited about the next one.

While the benefits of gamification are apparent to attendees who receive a fun and engaging event experience, don’t forget to communicate your gamification successes to your other stakeholders. Let your sponsors know what attendees are saying about their branded activities, and tell your board members if there are any additional resources you’ll need to improve the results of your gamification efforts next time.

Top 5 Event Gamification Ideas

So, you’ve developed your gamification strategy and are ready to dive into “gamifying” your event. Although the focus is on the fun for attendees, that doesn’t mean your event organizers can’t enjoy the planning process!

Figuring out how to engage your attendees in exciting games and challenges is inherently fun. Here are a couple of event gamification ideas to get you thinking:

  • Social media contest. Did you know that there are 4.8 billion social media users worldwide? Take advantage of these online platforms’ popularity with a social media contest. Have attendees post their best event photos to your special event hashtag, and reward the users with the most shareable or unique content.
  • Scavenger hunt. Encourage your attendees to explore your event’s venue with a dedicated scavenger hunt. You can either have them take pictures of each item or check them off a list.
  • Trivia. Test attendees’ knowledge of your organization, your cause, your nonprofit’s sector, or information they’ve learned at the event. Let them show their competitive sides by putting attendees head-to-head for prizes.
  • Networking challenge. As mentioned before, a networking challenge is the ideal way to encourage attendees to make new connections. You may offer five points per contact shared and ten points per one-on-one meeting set up.
  • Event bingo. Bingo is a classic game that you can transform to enhance attendees’ event experience. In each square, add an event-related activity or challenge. Then, give a prize to the first person to check off five activities in a row.

When it comes to event gamification, the possibilities are endless. To ensure your attendees participate, consider surveying them before the event to gauge their interest in certain games, challenges, and activities.

A nonprofit event organizer’s ultimate goal is to keep attendees engaged throughout the entire experience. With event gamification, you not only make your event fun and exciting for participants but also maximize your ROI. It’s truly a win-win-win situation: engage attendees, satisfy sponsors, and see real results that will ultimately have lasting effects on your mission and cause.