February 25th, 2019

You’re probably familiar with augmented reality if you played Pokemon Go—the hit application that had users looking at their phones for strange beasties while bumping into trees and walls. In the first month of its release, the Apple App Store recorded over 100 million downloads and introduced mixed reality to the world.

But virtual reality requires more than just a phone’s camera, even though you can buy a Google Cardboard viewer for a couple of bucks. It takes compelling content, the most difficult hurdle to bring supporters into the middle of the action.

UNICEF has used virtual reality to demonstrate life in a refugee camp. UNHCR, Greenpeace and other nonprofits have used virtual reality in their street side face-to-face campaigns, placing goggles on passing individuals to show what it’s like on an overcrowded boat in the Mediterranean trying to reach safety, protections for wildlife and environments, or other mission work.

The widespread availability of 360-degree cameras allows both professionals and laypeople to try their hands at bringing a fuller experience to life.

Demonstrating the impact of donor support in a real-life experience can be a great close-the-loop application. Most recently, Smile Train (a MarkeTeam client) produced two interactive virtual reality messages, each following a child with an untreated cleft from identification, recruitment, travel to a partner hospital and then free cleft repair surgery. VR goggles were mailed to key supporters with instructions and the link to the website for viewing. (View the journeys of Nisha and Vikas)

The widespread availability of 360-degree cameras allows both professionals and laypeople to try their hands at bringing a fuller experience to life. Once the content is developed, it can also be viewed on a regular phone, laptop or desktop—not quite the full VR experience but still very compelling.

The US Postal Service is offering a 2% postal discount for all mailings that have a virtual or augmented reality component from March 1 through August 31. Although the discount is minimal, if content is already available, simply adding a QR code or other technology trigger to a mailing that launches the experience could provide a boost to your results by taking your supporters closer to the action!

Blog written by Anna Katherine Yarger | Account Executive