Virtual Reality (VR) is the next big thing for fundraisers

All not for profits with a mission and an ask, need to be convincing storytellers. Genuine storytelling provoking empathy and engagement is the aim to inspire long term donors and advocates for your mission.

The last 12 months has seen a rebirth of storytelling campaigns through ‘Virtual Reality’(VR), changing the way we tell stories in a way that hasn’t been experienced by donors previously. Amnesty UK, UNICEF Canada, and a handful of international not-for-profits have used VR and seen their donor engagement increase.

UNICEF360°, is a campaign of films providing an immersive view on the lives of vulnerable children and their families. The virtual reality film can be seen using a basic cardboard virtual reality viewer, a smartphone, and a viewing app. The phone slides into the cardboard box viewer and users move their head to control their perspective.

In 2015 Pencils of Promise created a VR experience for supporters attending a celebrity-studded gala in New York hosted by Pencils of Promise. Party goers were shown the children whose lives they had changed for the better. The 90-second film showcased the learning environment before the building of the school (the viewer is situated outside, under a tree and also in a rough shed like shelter), then transitions to the new school building funded by Pencils of Promise and the visible change it had on the children and the community. The VR film added to the gala’s success of raising over $1.9M from supporters that night.

Virtual Reality content is becoming more accessible as inexpensive cardboard viewers are available for purchase from Amazon. Other tech companies are in the process of releasing updated and more portable VR visors targeting the ‘gaming’ market and beyond

Virtual Reality is not a trend prediction, it’s how we will be telling stories as part of a comprehensive communications and marketing plan.