Gotta Catch 'Em All: Pokemon Go & Nonprofits

Have you heard of the newest phenomenon taking the world by storm? (If you haven’t, you probably live under a rock.) It’s Pokemon Go--a mobile app game where users roam the outdoors to catch Pokemon monsters. As you walk around, the game uses location services to create augmented reality of the little creatures.

And the game has gained some insane traction. As of July 8, the app has been downloaded on 5.16% of all Android devices in the US and is being used on average 43 minutes, 23 seconds a day (higher than Instagram, Snapchat, and Messenger!). Whether people are jumping on the Poketrain to feel that ’90s nostalgia or to get their steps in, Pokemon Go is being played by millions.

So, what the heck does that mean for your organization? Well, it’s one great way to raise awareness and attract volunteers.

Right in our back yard, Muncie Animal Shelter has got the right idea. They’re leveraging the game to encourage people to come volunteer. Walk a dog, catch some Pokemon!

It’s all about finding a creative way to mesh your cause with the game. Maybe your organization is hosting a fundraising or community engagement event. Consider investing a few bucks to drop a lure that attracts the monsters to your location for 30 minutes. Then you can take advantage of the increased foot traffic to share your mission. Here’s an example of how 3Wisemen in Broad Ripple did this.

If there’s a Pokemon Gym or Pokestop near you, let your followers on social media know. Just getting traffic near your organization can raise awareness of your cause. You might even be able to find a creature that’s related to your cause, and you can share that information with cute signage outside of your facilities.

Whether or not the phenomenon is here to stay, your organization should catch ‘em all while you can!