Zynga & World Food Programme Team Up to Fight Hunger

FishVille WFP GlobesWorld hunger is an ongoing problem all over the globe, and according to the World Food Programme (WFP), countries such as Cameroon are in dire need of help. With around 16 million people, 40% are living on less than one U.S. dollar a day To help fight the issue, social gaming company Zynga is stepping up to the plate.

Within three of Zynga’s larger titles, players can purchase virtual goods that feature the WFP’s symbolic red plastic cup, which represents the organization’s various school meal programmes. A portion of each proceed will then go to helping feed school children in Cameroon.

Among the game’s offering the WFP-themed items will be FishVille, Roller Coaster Kingdom, and YoVille. Below are the purchasable items for each game:

  • FishVille: Users may purchase a WFP Glitter Globe for 25 Sand Dollars (FishVille’s virtual currency). 50% of each transaction will go to WFP.
  • Rollar Coaster Kingdom: Users can purchase a WFP cup ride for 25 Coaster Cash, with 50% of the revenue going to WFP.
  • YoVille: Users may purchase a Camaroon-themed food platter using 10 YoCash.

This marks yet another humanitarian move on the part of Zynga as a part of their efforts in “transforming the world through games.” Previous efforts included donations from FarmVille farmers to help feed children in Haiti – which has earned over $700,000 – and the YoVille campaign to sell virtual pet bulldogs and tabby cats in order to help the San Francisco SPCA. That initiative has raised $90,000 since Spring 2009. See more about these programs at Zynga.org.

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7 Responses to “Zynga & World Food Programme Team Up to Fight Hunger”

  1. Simon Wakefield says:

    The problem with these Charity Items from Zynga is that they are effectively abusing the Charity in question to make themselves profit.

    Now these items aren’t free for Zynga to add but the two items in Farmville raised Zynga $700k in the very short time they were available. I don’t have figures to back this up BUT I would hazard a guess thats alot more than any other new item that was available for Real money would generate in that time as they played on the Charity factor. The Charities don’t deserve to be treated this way, if something is created especially for charity then after the cost of that item have been covered the MAJORITY of the cash should go to the charity rather than the a business making a profit out of it. They could have given 80% or 90% and still covered their costs and given a lot more to the charities

  2. Eric Eldon says:

    Simon, this is a very interesting issue and one that is much bigger than Zynga’s virtual goods.

    There are a wide range of for-profit companies that work with charities in order to improve their own public image or otherwise make money. Still, these companies also bring in some additional money for charities. Is Zynga et al creating a net gain for the world by working with charities? I think probably.

    Also, there’s the issue of how effective and/or altruistic charities are in the first place. Certainly, the WFP is doing good work — I’m just bringing up this point to illustrate how complicated the nature of “charity” is, regardless of what companies like Zynga do.

  3. Simon Wakefield says:

    Sure most companies who give to charity profit from in in some way. However when it usually comes to items to raise money for charity either its an existing item and they give a percentage of their sale profits OR its a special item which the company is only taking a percentage.

    Zynga do neither, they are holding onto half the income of an item created for charity. Thats really not charity but profiteering. Its morally corrupt and unethical (although its Zynga so that should be expected)that abuses charity to get people who won’t usually buy virtual items to spend a significant more than the average user spends on normal items.

  4. Eric Eldon says:

    Simon, I’m still not convinced that Zynga is doing anything too different from lots of other people by theming something around charity.

    For example, here’s a closer look at Product Red: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product_Red#Criticism

  5. Social Gaming Roundup: Saving the World, WoW in China, Mystery Fundings and More says:

    [...] the pressing issues. Along with games such as Food Force, Half the Sky, and the myriad of recent Zynga charity benefits in games, hundreds of thousands of people are being educated and moved with games which Alan [...]

  6. Social Gaming Roundup: Helping Haiti, Tracking Farms, Korea, and More says:

    [...] like everyday people that aren’t in the Red Cross are contributing as well. In light of their recent charitable causes, Zynga is offering “limited edition social goods” within its top games of FarmVille, [...]

  7. Zynga Runs Virtual Goods Charity Campaign to Aid Gulf Coast Oil Spill Victims says:

    [...] time Zynga has participated in such charities. Notable contributions of the past have been their partnership with World Food Programme to fight hunger in places such as Cameroon, its Sweet Seeds program that helped feed children in [...]

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