Supporting charities in spaces that you care about is always something worth doing, but it’s not exactly easy trying to pick through every single one, especially if you’re looking at gaming charities. There are a nearly endless number of charities and groups you can donate to and make a difference.
All of these options are like a double-edged sword. On one hand, there are a ton of ways to give back to the community in a way that you enjoy, which can help you resonate with the program. On the other hand, it’s hard to verify that your money is going to a good cause. The internet’s great, but there’s no shortage of scams around.
With the right amount of research, there are plenty of great ways to spend your hard-earned money and support groups that do what they say. These five gaming charities aren’t the only ones out there, but they’re great groups to support whether you’re a gaming aficionado or noob.
Stack Up is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that focuses on helping veterans with the power of games. The group uses what it calls “geek culture” to combat suicide rates of U.S. and Allied veterans in four major ways:
- Supply Crates: These are “care packages” that include everything from consoles and games to gaming gear that are given to veterans as well as deployed troops.
- Air Assaults: Stack Up gives veterans the opportunity to attend gaming events with all-expenses-paid trips.
- The Stacks: Teams of people get together and work with veterans in their local communities.
- Overwatch Program: This is Stack Up’s 24/7 support line to help veterans with immediate mental-health problems.
Veterans are the priority for Stack Up, and it even found ways to get around the coronavirus pandemic to continue helping people. The organization also updates pretty constantly, showing what its spending goes toward and the veterans affected. The group’s tax forms are viewable here, giving the organization credibility and security. There are also dozens of stories from people who have interacted with the gaming charity on Great Non-profits.org.
There are a variety of different ways to support Stack Up, so it’s a great option whether you’re looking to write a check or spend some time with the community.
Safe In Our World
Safe In Our World is a registered charity with the Charity Commision in the United Kingdom that’s centered around creating an inclusive space within the gaming community for those with mental-health struggles. To do this, the organization provides training that is related to mental health, such as history lectures on how mental-health discrimination has affected society, “awareness courses” that give explanations and ways to cope for healthy minds, and even first-aid courses targeted towards mental health.
The group also raises money. In fact, they’ve raised over £140,000 for the mental-health industry that helps them run various programs, like its blog that brings awareness and insights to the gaming industry and the crisis support line on its site. They’ve also had things like streaming events in the past to celebrate milestones and provide a place for people to relax.
The #LevelUpMentalHealth program for businesses in the gaming industry also comes from Safe In Our World. Companies who take this challenge work to have a mental-health support system in their organizations while joining Safe In Our World as a partner. Individuals can also donate to the cause directly.
Disclaimer: TechRaptor is one of the founding partners with Safe in Our World.
Gamers Outreach is a 501(c)(3) charity that focuses on bringing hospitalized children recreation through video games. The goal is to create an environment where play is considered a part of children’s care, and the organization does this by funding hospitals with gaming equipment and training on how to use it. As a whole, the charity wants to create a sense of normalcy for hospitalized children because of how scary and isolating being hospitalized can be.
GO Karts, or Gamers Outreach Karts, are games on wheels that can be rolled from room to room and are one of the ways the group helps. Gamers Outreach also distributes Save Points, which are sort of like vending machines that give video-game-related prizes to kids going through treatment. Volunteers are also a big part of the organization with a program called Player Two. The group also has a Portal program, which is software to help hospitals keep track of everything from Gamers Outreach.
People can donate money or gaming consoles, host fundraisers, sponsor a GO Kart, or even give crypto and checks to the charity. Gamers Outreach has a 100% rating on Charity Navigator, and it also posts its annual reports for everyone to see online.
According to AbleGamers, those with a disability are more than half as likely to be socially isolated than those without a disability. That’s why the 501(c)(3) public charity is dedicated to creating inclusive environments in the gaming community and bringing gaming to people with disabilities. The charity does this by focusing on five different things:
- Peer Counseling: This is a way for people with AbleGamers to connect to people with disabilities to understand the needs that exist to help each individual feel welcome.
- Engineering Research: The Engineering Research pillar works to overcome technological challenges to fit every need the charity encounters.
- Community Development: The goal of the Community Development pillar is to create inclusive environments within the gaming community, whether that’s working with conventions or streaming to connect people. This pillar is also focused on changing the narrative and ending the stigma surrounding people with disabilities.
- User Research: Where Engineering Research focuses on hardware limitations, User Research focuses on software limitations that exist in the gaming industry.
- Professional Development: This pillar specifically works with developers to create games that are accessible to everyone in the gaming industry.
There are a variety of ways to donate to AbleGamers, including charity streams, monetary donations, or even donating hardware. There are also Amazon and eBay affiliate links you can use to give back portions of what you spend on those sites. AbleGamers has even partnered with Gamers Outreach to create specific GO Karts for kids who need special accommodations because of a disability.
AbleGamers has a 97% rating on Charity Navigator, so people can feel secure that their money is helping those with disabilities.
Extra Life is a 501(c)(3) organization that's focused on fundraising for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals by working with the gaming industry specifically. This can be with people giving money, streamers using charity links on their streams, or people donating their time in one of the Guilds around them. These Guilds focus on fundraising and raising awareness at industry events while spending time with children at local hospitals. There are also ways for those who enjoy tabletop games to join in on fundraising.
One of the big ways that people help is by signing up for a Game Day, which means that they commit to playing games and asking for donations during that time. This can take the form of streaming, whether it’s just to friends and family or on a platform like Twitch. There are plenty of resources the group provides to help with this, like overlays. The charity does a lot for the people who support it with things like a private Discord channel and rewards for certain fundraising and donation milestones.
Considering the charity specifically works with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, all of its contributions can be found in the hospital network’s annual reports.
These five charities aren't the only ones in the gaming space doing amazing things, but they're a good place to start donating money. There are many others that do similar things and are just as reputable, such as Games For Love and Special Effect.
Some charities also have gaming-related sides, like the Red Cross' charity livestreams. There are also events and massive streams in the gaming industry that you can donate to, such as Games Done Quick. There's plenty of places that are willing to do some good with your money as long as you're ready to give it!