What Does Pokémon Go Have to Do with My Organization?

Pokemon Go

Are you seeing a stream of new faces in your building, searching for elusive invisible creatures with their phones?

People everywhere have jumped on the Pokémon Go craze—a smart phone app that uses your actual surroundings to create a scavenger hunt for Pokémon. How can you capitalize on this unexpected traffic without losing your focus?

Pokémon Go is getting people off their chairs and out exploring their neighborhoods. Many nonprofits have been pre-identified in the game as ‘gyms’ (where users compete for points and power) or ‘pokestops’ (where they can acquire special items).

If you are one of these lucky locations featured in the game, you are no doubt are seeing a lot more foot traffic to your space.

Nonprofits ranging from museums, gardens and parks, even those without a location have joined the fun.

Here’s some ideas for tapping into the phenomenon:

  • Download the app and post a photo on social media of the different Pokémon that may spawn at your location to attract visitors.
  • Welcome your visitors and give them a reason to come back when they’re done catching. Use that opportunity to share your mission and core cause to those who normally wouldn’t have stopped by your organization.
  • Different Pokémon spawn at different times of day, so encourage those Pokémon Trainers to come back often!
  • Invite your visitors to take a selfie with the Pokémon they caught at your location and post it on their favorite social media.
  • Some third-party apps are finding creative ways to integrate giving with Pokémon Go: WoofTrax combines walking your dog with donating to animal shelters and Charity Miles has created a Pokémon Go Challenge to encourage users to earn money for charity while out searching for monsters.

Anytime people show up at your door—for whatever reason—it’s an opportunity to build awareness for your cause. And if you can connect Pokémon to your mission in a humorous way, so much the better—people will remember you.

But don’t expect a lot out of this. It has all the markings of a fad. What happens when people have found all the Pokémon? Well, just maybe they’ll know their neighborhood better and will gravitate toward the places where they received a warm welcome. Plus, to power up their Pokémon they’ll need to collect as many as they can. They may revisit your location to gather more of a specific type of Pokémon, and if your location is a gym, these players will have to return to the location to defend their title as Gym Leader.

Gamers arriving at your location searching for Pokémon are probably not focused on supporting charities. But if you engage in the fun with graciousness and a sense of humor, you’ve taken that first crucial step in building a relationship—making a good first impression. Some of these folks may come back after they are done ‘catching them all,’ to learn more about what your cause. Then you can really start to build the relationship and help them connect to your mission.

What is your response to the Pokémon Go craze?

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