Charities, like businesses generally, have learned to ride the web to raise meaningful funds as old ways changed. But now there’s an entirely new idea around, a game in a way that the National Lotteries and the Health Lottery are not. It’s called Jaro.
Jaro? Sounds Weird
But it isn’t, really. Simply, it stands for ‘Join All and Remain One’.
It’s a new take on big lotteries with a mix of skill and chance and computer games and harnessing the power of the world wide web. It costs just $10 to play and you get to choose how much of the fee goes to your selected charity and how much goes into a global prize pool.
It all began at Vivant Ltd, a digital ideas company based in Sydney, Australia. They say the idea behind Jaro ‘was born out of a desire to use digital engagement to help charities generate funding in a more efficient manner.’
One Anthony Farah, studying high school economics and wealth distribution in 1988, realised ‘his luck at being born in Australia.’ He wondered if he could persuade every person in the world that could afford it to spare a single dollar, ‘it could change the world.’
‘Getting versus giving’ sowed the seeds of what became Jaro. He dreamed up a numeric battleship while staring at phone keypad. Would people give in exchange for a fun experience? Would people give if they had more freedom to decide?
Farah worked with people at Vivant on endless ideas and prototypes, driven by the certainty that innovation can bring social change. For five years the project remained self-funded, a labour of love. Now, they claim, it has the potential to be the biggest annual fundraising event in the world.
It hit the UK on 16th April this year. The tag is a simple question: ‘if you won $1 billion today, how much would you give to charity?’
How Does It Work?
‘Fun, strategy and reward.’ Sounds simple and appealing, so let’s see.
From the game site:
‘After you’ve purchased your tickets, you will be entered into the tournament and matched to play against an opponent in Round 1. Purchasing multiple tickets is just like having multiple lives in a video game. Each ticket is another chance to win and enters the tournament in Round 1 once (or if) your current ticket is knocked out.’
You have 24 hours to place your ticket numbers once you’re matched with another player. Unlike a lottery, your ticket goes head to head with another in a series of knockout games.
You can change your numbers over and over before play off as you research your opponent’s ticket history on their player profile to look for patterns and anticipate their number placements. That’s the tactical part.
Again, from their rules:
- Each ticket has two 3×3 grids containing the numbers 1 to 9 inclusive.
- On the left side of your ticket are your defence numbers. Arrange these to make it difficult for your opponent to guess their placement.
- On the right side of your ticket are your attack numbers. These are your guesses of where your opponent has placed his/her defence numbers.
- You save your placed numbers, the most recent are used to play off. For each game, your numbers stay unless you change them.
- Each guess (your attack) of an opponent’s numbers can earn you points depending on the accuracy. Each shot is a hit, a miss or a near-miss.
Here’s how the scoring works:
- A direct hit earns 100 points (a player correctly guesses where an opponent has placed their defence number).
- A near miss by one earns 10 points (e.g you guessed ‘9’ and your opponent placed an ‘8’).
- A miss by two earns 1 point (e.g you guessed ‘8’ and your opponent placed a ‘6’).
- All other guesses earn 0 points.
- The player with the highest total score is the winner and progresses into the next round. If the scores are tied, you rematch the same opponent and have 24 more hours to change your numbers.
After each game, you can, if you like, watch a play-by-play simulation. Any unplayed tickets will be matched with another quickly. And you can buy more tickets and play again until they are sold out (and the prize pool of $1 billion is full).
Last Player Standing
It’s a knock-out tournament, the winners gradually progress to the end. The number of rounds in the tournament will depend on the number of tickets purchased during the 12 months before they hope to reach their $1bn target.
They quote an example: ‘a tournament with 8 tickets will have 3 rounds, one with 1024 tickets will have 10 rounds.’ To surpass a billion dollars and have a full tournament they need to sell 134,217,728 tickets. ‘To win the tournament and the prize pool you must successively win 27 knockout games. Losing tickets are instantly knocked out of the tournament.
The final statement is quite clear: ‘The tournament winner takes all of the allocated prize money. There are no cash prizes for second place.’
That US$1bn is completely crowdsourced by players like you and me deciding on that crucial split between giving away and pooling to the grand prize.
Since every ticket purchase impacts the amount contributed to charity and what’s left for the winner of the Jaro knockout tournament, they proudly state ‘it’s fundraising reinvented.’
Is there a catch? Well, some might see the 5% service fee as one and the payment processing fee as another. Of course they have to support the day-to-day running of Jaro and their staff. The processing payment is in common with anywhere you pay by card and they make nothing from it, apparently.
So what do you think? An elaborate hoax in the making or is fundraising and the global crowd on the threshold of a genuinely new and effective charitable enterprise? Care to risk a few quid to find out?
Check before buying:
Even the Government Jumps on Crowd Bandwagon, 11 April 2012
Many Minds Make Light Work of Challenges, 4 October 2011