LH: KOM loves everything kind and good for the planet, so we’re loving the Facebook game, A Better World! Can you tell our readers a little about the game, how to get it, how to play it and how you came up with it?
A Better World is a virtual world social game on Facebook “Where All Good Deeds Are Rewarded and Real World Causes Are Supported”! The core mechanic of the game is “Do Good and Look Good” – players earn Do-Good Gold for doing things like sending get well notes to sick children, sharing acts of kindness, expressing gratitude, being positive, visiting friends, caring for their pet, sending hearts of love and friendship, and many other altruistic acts. Players can then use their Do-Good Gold to decorate their dream house and dress in their favorite fashions. And in A Better World the more good you do, the bigger your house gets!
All good deeds done by players also go toward meeting game-wide monthly goals that, when met, release funds to charities. Among the many causes we’ve supported, we’ve worked with: CURE International to enable 15 children to walk for the first time and 3 babies receive life saving surgeries; Operation Warm to provide new coats for 40 kids in need; Angels and Doves to provide materials and travel expenses for anti-bullying training in schools; The Miracle Foundation to provide a safe and loving home, clean water, nutritious food, high quality healthcare, and excellent education for an orphanage in India.
To date over 2.5 million people have done over 22 million good deeds in A Better World. You can play the game by visiting Facebook.com/ABetterWorld.
Our concept of a social game where a player could advance by doing good deeds in the real and virtual worlds grew out of what we saw was an implicit altruism in social games. People were sharing, gifting, and working together in games already, and we believed we could harness the immersive and interactive qualities of games to make a real difference in people’s lives. We felt that social gaming could make altruism and philanthropy both fun and addictive. We developed the term Cause Gaming® to refer to this combination of doing good and supporting causes from within a game.
LH: Are you guys super-techie or did you work with developers?
We have a ten year history of making uplifting applications to brighten the world. We have in-house expertise in developing web apps, and we’ve also worked with some outside developers.
LH: How do you select the causes that will benefit?
Our goal is to work with lean, tech-savvy, dynamic organizations with inspiring missions, low overhead, and sophisticated social media outreach. We also look for organizations that can provide us with specific and relatable outcomes that our partnership can bring about: e.g. 15 children walking for the first time, 40 children in need who can find warmth in the winter with new coats, etc. Our players want to know exactly the good they are helping to bring about in the world.
LH: How frequently do you switch up the causes?
We work with new causes every month.
Here are our 2014 partners to date:
January: Operation Warm – Chadds Ford, PA
Mission: Bring happiness and warmth to children in need with new winter coats
ABW Partnership: ABW provided funding to buy brand new coats for 40 children in need – many of which received their first new coat ever.
Find Out More: OperationWarm.org
February: Angels and Doves – Bloomington, Indiana
Mission: The mission of Angels & Doves is to end bullying – which can be done peer to peer.
ABW Partnership: ABW donated funding to provide materials and travel expenses for anti-bullying training in schools.
Find Out More: AngelsAndDoves.com
March: The Miracle Foundation – Austin, TX
Mission: The Miracle Foundation turns struggling, institutional orphanages in India into stable, loving, nurturing homes where children can thrive and truly change the story of their lives.
ABW Partnership: ABW donated funds to provide a safe and loving home, clean water, nutritious food, high quality healthcare, and excellent education for all the children in one orphanage.
Find Out More: MiracleFoundation.org
April: CURE International – Harrisburg, PA (hq) and Worldwide
Mission: Biggest provider of reconstructive surgeries for children in the developing world.
ABW Partnership: ABW did several campaigns with CURE over the years, donating funding that resulted in 15 children walking for the first time and 3 children cured of life threatening hydrocephalus. In April, 5 additional children walked for the first time in part due to A Better World’s players.
Find Out More: Cure.org
May: Cradles to Crayons – Conshohocken, PA
Mission: Cradles to Crayons provides children from birth through age 12 living in homeless or low-income situations with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school and at play.
ABW Partnership: A Better World will donate funding providing 100 children with backpacks full of clothes and books.
Find Out More: CradlesToCrayons.org
LH: Are there any age limits on the game or is it good for kiddos and parents alike?
Our ages range from 13 all the way up to 65 and older (Facebook currently limits membership age to 13 and up). We’ve been told many times that parents, kids, and grandparents, too enjoy playing together. It really is great game for the whole family.
LH: Any plans for future ideas in the same vein?
We have some really great and exciting ideas that unfortunately I can’t share here 🙂 Suffice it to say that you’ll see ToonUps in the mobile space sooner than later with an offering that will be at least as groundbreaking as A Better World, we believe more so. And A Better World on Facebook still has some tricks up its sleeve that you should see in the coming months as well. Our goal is to continue to push the envelop of digital doing-good. We say we want to be the “premier provider of do-good digital content for a digital generation,” and we mean it.
LH: I love that players can help the real world as they play in the virtual world. What resources can you recommend to our readers who would like to participate in this movement?
In addition to playing A Better World, people can listen to our weekly Internet radio broadcast, BetterWorldians Radio. While the game encourages people to do good while having fun, BetterWorldians inspires with the stories of the people making a big difference in the world everyday. Every week we speak with bestselling authors, film producers, TED speakers, happiness experts, and also everyday folks, people whose small acts make a BIG difference. We call them all “BetterWorldians.” You can listen to the live show on Thursday at 11am ET, and listen to past episodes, at BetterWorldiansRadio.com.
BetterWorldians Radio is hosted by the family team that created A Better World: Raymond, MarySue, and Gregory Hansell. To date the show boasts over 100,000 listeners and it’s growing rapidly.
Guests on our show have included:
- Lori Deschene, founder of Tiny Buddha
- Anne Beiler, founder of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels
- Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, happiness expert and author of Love 2.0
- Orly Wahba, founder of Life Vest Inside
- Jay Scott, co-founder of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation
- Benjamin Wagner, filmmaker of Mr. Rodgers and Me
Another way to participate in the movement is to view our video, Color Your World With Kindness, that we released as part of our global kindness challenge. You can watch it at ColorWithKindness.com. Over 140,000 people have watched the video, and anyone can help change the world by simply watching it themselves and passing it on.