Why PCCY is hosting a first-of-its-kind Minecraft-themed fundraiser - Generocity Philly

Funding

Aug. 24, 2017 1:27 pm

Why PCCY is hosting a first-of-its-kind Minecraft-themed fundraiser

Public Citizens for Children + Youth is meeting parents and their kids where they are: playing video games. Here's what other nonprofits can learn from the event.

Members of PCCY's Minecraft Leader Team.

(Courtesy photo)

If you’re acquainted with a kid — any kid — you’ve probably heard of Minecraft, the build-your-own-world video game that’s sold 122 million copies and partly owes its massive popularity to gamers who play live on YouTube and other social media sites.

Public Citizens for Children + Youth (PCCY), the 37-year-old multi-issue child advocacy organization that lobbied for the passage of the city’s controversial beverage tax, picked up on that trend. It’s now using it to fundraise for a new PCCY grant to bring teacher-led tech projects into Philly schools, similar to its Picasso Project grant program for the arts, as well as for the organization’s advocacy work.

The nonprofit aims to host 1,500 kids age 5 to 17 — plus their families — for a massive block party this September at University of the Sciences. Called Block by Block Party, the event will feature three sessions of collaborative gameplay plus the more standard block party fare such as vendors, STEAM programming and Minecraft Karaoke. (OK, not so standard.)

So far, the PCCY team has seen enthusiasm from their target attendees: “Kids literally start shaking when I hand them the flier,” said Executive Director Donna Cooper.

From our Partners

The idea for having a Minecraft-themed event came from the PCCY team chatting with the kids in their own lives about what they’d want to see. They also did on-the-ground research by attending Oaks, Pa.’s Minefaire (like Comic Con for Minecraft fans) and formed a Minecraft Leader Team made up of 18 kids who inform the day’s plan.

Gaming is “a unifier,” Cooper said — interest in it spans racial and economic lines — and this game in particular “isn’t about killing someone, it’s about building something,” which she sees as analogous to PCCY’s policy work.

The event is a form of peer-to-peer fundraising à la Bread and Roses Community Fund’s Giving Projects or the Susan G. Komen Philadelphia Race for the Cure through which participants ask, yes, their peers to financially support their involvement.

Beyond buying a $35 ticket, non-participants can donate so others can attend Block by Block, or kids can fundraise their own way to the event through PCCY’s website: “Building agency very young is part of what we’re trying to do here,” Cooper said.

<em>PCCY's Minecraft Leaders Team teaches Mayor Jim Kenney how to play the game. (Courtesy photo)</em>

PCCY’s Minecraft Leader Team teaches Mayor Jim Kenney how to play the game. (Courtesy photo)

While most of PCCY’s fundraising work involves chatting up high net worth individuals, Cooper said this event aims to reach a new, and arguably more important audience — the families for which PCCY advocates.

It makes sense: Catch the kids’ attention with the game they love, draw their parents in with an event, sell them on your mission and gain some new advocates. It’s about “marrying who we are and raising money” at the same time, Cooper said. (The fundraising goal? A cool $200,000.)

Nonprofits can take note of one of Cooper’s biggest lessons from planning Block by Block: Think creatively about how to design an event that’s both close to your mission and capable of building new partnerships.

Because this event is attractive to PCCY’s target demographic, the opportunity exists to educate attendees on PCCY’s advocacy work. Minecraft is for children, by children. It’s a more organic fit than, say, a fundraiser run.

It’s also attracted likeminded partners PCCY didn’t know existed before.

“When you start doing things in the technology space, you meet a lot of new Philadelphians,” Cooper said. “The benefit of the Minecraft event is we’re meeting all sorts of tech companies, gamers, who we would have never met if we did a run.”

Get tix -30-
LEAVE A COMMENT

From our Partners

Nonprofit pros honed their entrepreneurial skills at the recent Tech in the Commons

Keeping homeowners safe in their homes and stabilizing neighborhoods

This Foundation CEO has worn many figurative hats. And one extraordinary literal one: a crown of onions

SPONSORED

Generocity Philly

Systems blocking people from self-sufficiency

Philadelphia, PA

United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey

Social Venture Partners Associate

Apply Now
Center City Philadelphia

The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia

Programs Manager, Creative & Innovative Businesses

Apply Now
Philadelphia, PA

Community Legal Services, Inc

Aging & Disabilities Unit Paralegal- Two (2) Job Openings

Apply Now

How Project HOME’s college access program provides a head start

‘Your average resident doesn’t understand what a nonprofit board does’: A Q&A with Julie Zeglen

They’re 49% of Kensington-Harrowgate, but their voices are mostly missing from the Safehouse debate

Philadelphia

Fairmount Ventures Inc

Research Assistant (Part time)

Apply Now
Philadelphia

Fairmount Ventures Inc

Project Manager – Consultant

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Generocity