Virtual Opportunities

The whole world is on Facebook.  Or at least it seems so.

And the whole world is changing because of it – including how money is spent.  Since early 2008, we know that the Great Recession impacted every aspect of our lives.  From steep home price declines, to almost 10% unemployment, to staggering government debt totals, to decreases in charitable giving at levels never recorded previously.  In most respects, the reports detailing our circumstances would leave any reasonable person to believe the sky already has fallen.

However, the readers of The Far Edge of Promise know that I have written in support of the notion that charitable gift income results for any institution are far more a function of the planning, strategies, and care with which donors are engaged and far less a reflection of the larger environment.   In other words your approach matters more than the economy.

Of course, I get pushback when making this statement.  It is far easier to blame our less-than-goal-reaching results on something over which we have zero control.  And everybody knows that economy is horrible, right?  People just don’t have any money!

So, imagine my surprise when I learned that our friendly retailer, Target, will soon begin selling gift cards for something called, “Facebook Credits.”  According to the article:

Facebook Credits is a virtual currency redeemable for primarily in-game Facebook purchases. In Farmville, for instance, gamers can use Facebook Credits as a currency, in lieu of credit cards, to purchase additional items for their farms.

Here’s the deal,  people won’t simply be paying directly for their social gaming playtime, they will be buying virtual currency with real currency.

And the amounts being spent are substantial:

Social gaming is a relatively new industry with huge potential. More than 56 million Americans are now playing social games. By 2013, annual sales from virtual goods are expected to reach $6 billion.

Think about this for a moment:  This new industry, which has emerged during the Great Recession, is projected to produce sales on “virtual goods” totaling six billion dollars!  And the vast majority of that money, of course, will be spent in the world’s largest economy, the U.S.

But, the economy is horrible.   People just don’t have money.

The best development professionals are not worried about the Great Recession.  Instead, they wake up every morning passionate and focused on educating and engaging prospects in ever more compelling ways.  Their goal?  Inspire people and introduce them to joys of investing in transforming real lives. We already know people are spending $6 billion on virtual ones.

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