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VR + Nonprofit = Success!

Updated: Nov 11, 2021

Note: This is a follow-up post to our May blog post, "VR and Nonprofits - Proof in Action," that highlights data from a Nielsen study on virtual reality and the many benefits to nonprofits. We highly recommend you read it if you haven't already!

Fortune recently published an in-depth article about nonprofits using VR successfully to increase engagement and donations.

A few select bits from the article:

"According to Facebook’s Shifts for 2020: Multisensory Multipliers report, 48% of virtual reality charity content viewers were likely to donate to the causes they experienced. These supporters were also likely to donate more than those engaged by other forms of media."

"Brain imaging studies at Peking University highlight VR’s ability to directly impact the neural substrates in the brain associated with pain and empathy. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Xiaosi Gua and Shihui Hana induced increased activation in the ACC/paracingulate and the right middle frontal gyrus by having subjects look at painful images in VR. In essence, the total immersion of the medium tricks human brains into actually feeling the virtual experience."

A few of the projects mentioned and the successes associated with them were:

  • Clouds Over Sidra - one in six people who saw the experience donated, which is twice UNICEF's normal rate.

  • Stanford University’s Jeremy Bailenson showed that participants were twice as willing to help a color-blind person when they experienced seeing the world through reduced pigment vision.

And while this wasn't in the article, I wanted to highlight one more very notable success story! Charity: Water showed a VR experience at their gala and donors committed to giving $2.4 million, much more than Charity: Water had expected. During a visit to Charity: Water's office, one donor, who had already committed to giving $60,000, watched the film and was so moved by the story that he gave $400,000 instead. So just from one donor they earned almost 7 times more than they were expecting. The ROI on VR for nonprofits is just so much higher than traditional media!

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