What Wordle Can Teach You About Digital Fundraising

Sarah2022-03-11

The beginning of 2022 introduced us to the word game Wordle. The enthusiasm over these yellow and green tiles made us think: what can Wordle teach us about digital fundraising?

The beginning of 2022 introduced us to the grid of green and yellow squares that now dominates our social media feeds. In case you are not familiar with the online game Wordle, this viral guessing game has become astonishingly popular. The Wordle word challenge is to guess a five-letter word with six tries. The tile turns green when you guess a letter in the correct place. The tile turns yellow if you guess a correct letter in the wrong place, and gray if your letter isn’t in the word at all. 

Psychologists have said that Wordle is so appealing because it stimulates both the language and logic areas of our brains. Wordle, like all games, gives us a feel-good dopamine hit that allows us to feel pleasure and satisfaction in that moment. (Insider)

There is evidence that gift-giving behaviors release “feel good” chemicals in our brains. Dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin are the ultimate happiness trio. The benefits of these natural happy chemicals don’t stop at moods. Better sleep and digestion, increased motivation, reduction in social fears, enhanced trust and empathy, reduced pain, and quicker healing. Sounds pretty darn great! So if giving allows us to release all three chemicals at once, in the name of self-care, we owe it to ourselves to be generous.

The enthusiasm over these yellow and green tiles made us think: what can Wordle teach us about digital fundraising?

A Wordle is instantly recognizable. The minimalist image stands out in the chaos and distractions of our social media feeds. In its simplicity, the colors of the grid bring calm and comfort to much of the craziness we engage with on the internet. Our digital fundraising efforts are up against much of this same chaos.

How do we stand out? 

Take a few tips from the Wordle handbook and create recognizable branding and a simple donation experience for a more successful campaign. Build trust with your supporters by consistently showing up with an organized, simplified, and clear digital presence. 

Psychological research has told us that likes and comments on social media are a numeric representation of social acceptance. Social media “love” reinforces our brain’s reward system. Wordle has tapped into the social sharing science by creating a wildly simple way to share your own results on social media, through text, or by email. Sharing results brings out our competitive streak and encourages others to join in. 

The science speaks to the power of social sharing so don’t hesitate to use this knowledge to your advantage while planning your digital fundraising campaigns. Empower your supporters to start their own peer-to-peer campaigns that they can share on their social profiles. Make it easy for them to challenge their friends and family about making an impact. FOMO is powerful, and social sharing allows your supporters to create a buzz that will connect your cause with those who want to want to leave a lasting change in our world. 

Unlike other popular games, Wordle is easily accessible. All you need is a web browser. Basically, everyone can participate in this new word puzzle: no equipment, no gaming console, not even an app is required. 

The past few years drove digital media consumption to new heights, exceeding traditional media. We spend around a quarter of our day (that is half of our waking hours) taking in, interacting, and performing tasks digitally–your nonprofit’s supporters included. Having a website, social media presence, and digital donation experience are no longer nice to haves, they are an integral part of your fundraising strategy. Donors expect to connect with your organization and donate online just like they do for other digital interactions.

We like a challenge or an opportunity to flex our brain muscles as proven by popular games like crosswords, Sudoku, or the handful of apps you probably have on your phone right now. But often we don’t have time to solve the puzzle which leads to the initial challenge excitement fizzling out. Wordle combats this by lowering the barriers to playing: less than 10 minutes per day, and easily accessible via your preferred method. It’s easy to see why we’re all hooked. 

Make your digital fundraising as easy to agree to as Wordle. Create a specific challenge with manageable commitment for your digital fundraising campaign. Sharing the impact of the donation (the challenge you are taking on) is a way to connect supporters to your mission. Include a manageable commitment. This could mean creating a variety of donation amounts that suit your audience and donation frequency options like monthly, or one-time. Removing the barrier to entry for supporting your cause, just like Wordle has lowered the requirement to play, makes your mission more accessible. 

Wordle has built a community. When we repeatedly see the shared grid image we are reminded that there is a problem to solve. Even if you haven’t done your own Wordle of the day you instantly feel part of the group. The fact that we are all trying to solve the same problem brings us together. Much like fundraising, when you empower your community of supporters to help solve or tackle a big problem this brings people together. 

Whether Wordle has given us just the right amount of distraction in our day, the hit of feel-good chemicals, or a sense of belonging, we think it has taught us something about fundraising. If you are looking to step up your digital fundraising game Givecloud gives nonprofits the tools to do what they do best. This leaves you with more free time to do your daily Wordle.


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