How to get the most out of Second Life for your non-profit

Most of my regular duties for Millions of Us revolve around — one way or another — building communities. I think non-profits involved in Second Life have an opportunity to really engage visitors and successfully evangelize their cause, not only using the platform as a mean to distribute information, but also as a means to form a network of support, raise funds, and provide experiental environments.

One really major question that non-profits should think about is this: What kind of 3D experience can my organization offer Second Life residents? That’s how you’re going to leverage this platform to its best and fullest extent. Providing information should be a part of any non-profit outreach, but it cannot, and should not be the only form of interaction. (To be blunt, “information only” sorts of interaction can be done more easily and quickly using a website by itself.)

So think about how to incorporate the information you want to impart to your visitors — and then brainstorm ways to present that information in a way that engages the shared 3D space of Second Life.

For example, if I were trying to raise awareness about hunger (in real life, obviously – avatars don’t need to eat!) I’d want to do more than just provide statistics in a notecard and offer a selection of informational graphics.

Maybe I’d try to create a HUD which mimics the physiological effect of severe hunger on avatar movement, or I could provide a set of avatar shapes from “normal” to “malnourished” so visitors could see first hand the ravaging effects of not getting enough food to eat on a human body. On a more positive note, I could organize a treasure hunt with canned food objects containing content-based prizes to encourage people to support their local food bank — you could even create a treasure hunt game with a leaderboard of the quickest to complete a course and/or a randomly changing play environment.

Sure, that kind of development takes technical expertise — but there are people inside of Second Life who know how to do all of this stuff. Don’t worry about the HOW of implementation. First, be visionary and think about the WHAT and WHY. Those are the most important questions to answer for your group’s participation inside of Second Life.

Written by: celebrity