Gaming Philanthropy: How Sports Fans are Driving Social Good

By Steve Hahn, president of AT&T Oklahoma
Apr 13, 2017 1:30 PM ET

Competition might be the spice of sports, but it’s good for charitable organizations, too. Brackets For Good aims to turn nonprofit fundraising on its ear through the concept of gamification. By tapping into the competitive spirits of “fan-lanthropists,” Brackets For Good provides charities with an innovative platform to raise funds, drum up excitement for their organizations and reach new audiences.

This year, we teamed up with Brackets For Good on their first-ever national competitive fundraising tournament. Brackets For Good U.S.A. pitted 64 nonprofits from 31 states against one another to compete for donors’ dollars, with every dollar earning one “point” to help them advance to the next round in a bracket-style competition.

After five weeks of heated competitive giving, Allied Arts, an Oklahoma City-based nonprofit and one of the smaller organizations competing in the national tournament, emerged as a true Cinderella story of the tournament. By rallying their community around a championship berth, Allied Arts raised $340,044  to earn the title of Brackets For Good U.S.A. Champion.

As president of AT&T Oklahoma, I was excited to see Oklahomans join in the opportunity to help one of our own succeed on this national stage. What was equally thrilling was seeing new fans and donors from across the country learn about and support Allied Arts’ mission and work to advance the arts in central Oklahoma.

That’s the brilliance of Brackets For Good’s approach: by giving through the competition, donors can help nonprofits achieve short-term outcomes —such as advancing to the next bracket — that can also fund and sustain long-term results for their cause.

Including the grand prize contribution of $100,000 from AT&T, participating non-profits raised over $1 million in the U.S.A. tournament.  Amazingly, 31 percent of donations came from first-time donors. Simply put, competitive giving helped everyone win.

At AT&T, we are always on the lookout for opportunities to help successful organizations reach new audiences and grow their impact. It’s one way we use the power of our network to drive social good. We’re proud to have played a part in helping Brackets For Good scale its platform so nonprofits all over the country could advance their important missions while inspiring new and existing donors in an innovative and fun way. And indeed, when it comes to social good, we’re all on the same team.