GeoPlunge, a tournament-style learning game, has inspired many teachers and students alike. Initially, the organization was using WooCommerce for donations alongside sales of their game. Now they use GiveWP and WooCommerce Donation Upsells.
However, the WooCommerce integration was not what brought their attention to GiveWP as an online donation solution. Instead, the unfortunate unexpected death of a teacher inspired students to donate in her honor. At the time, their website provided no ability to give in honor of anyone. So the Executive Director set out to look for a way to let them do it.
When LearningPlunge contacted us, we were intrigued by the idea of their games as much as how they’d integrated GiveWP with WooCommerce. LearningPlunge has a unique history and an exciting future.
The idea behind the concept of LearningPlunge is: “Closing the Knowledge Gap.” Many schools in underserved communities focus their efforts on reading and math rather than history or geography. This is because these are the subjects that state and federal testing base their scoring on. As a result, many United States children (and adults) never learn basic history.
Aside from that, learning is often difficult and forced in an educational setting. LearningPlunge takes a different approach to teaching teaching history through games, which encourages children to enjoy learning. They’ve found that most children want to succeed, but many fall behind and eventually stop caring about school or learning. The issue is particularly relevant in underserved areas.
The games created by LearningPlunge are fun and educational, while engaging critical thinking and social emotional skills. Students play in teams and compete in tournaments focused on Title 1 (lower-income) schools. The tournaments provide the motivation to compete and a platform for students to showcase their skills. Through the games, children gain teamwork and sportsmanship skills while they learn.
“Consistent feedback has shown that this formula has changed lives, re-engaged students in school, and developed skills that have spilled over into their other subjects.”
– Robin Hayutin, Executive Director
The first of the games created is GeoPlunge, a Geography game. It was invented by Alan Fishel, a Washington D.C. lawyer.
“While coaching his son’s third grade soccer team, Alan discovered that nobody on the team could name the home states for Miami, Seattle and Detroit. Alan set out to change that — and GeoPlunge was born.”
You need two to six people to play GeoPlunge and you can choose from four styles of playing. Both the single games and tournaments inspire kids to learn. “Children get so wrapped up in the game they may not even realize they’re acquiring valuable information,” (Forbes). Adults could use the game to brush up on their own knowledge, too.
This year, LearningPlunge held their 20th annual tournament in Washington D.C. with 21 schools from the area. The tournament was held at George Washington University where hundreds of children competed for the championship. The success GeoPlunge has seen since 2005 inspired their next creation: HistoryPlunge.
In HistoryPlunge, you’re competing about knowledge of people, which Fishel thinks players will find more interesting. Several teachers already plan to use it.
“The cards are illustrated with images from the National Portrait Gallery, which partners with LearningPlunge, the parent organization for both games… Given that many students—even at the college level—know even less about U.S. history than about geography, HistoryPlunge is a promising development.”
On Team Give, we’re excited to see where this new game takes LearningPlunge as an organization. Almost as excited as we are to see their online donation capabilities grow.
Implementing GiveWP with WooCommerce
Right now both games are available in the LearningPlunge Online Shop using WooCommerce. The organization also used WooCommerce to accept online donations before switching to GiveWP. They changed their setup when students wanted to give in honor of their teacher who passed away.
“We did not have that capability at the time, but now through GiveWP we have added tributes and many other features that we did not previously have.
Once we installed GiveWP, we also wanted to add a feature where someone can donate a game to a particular school. We did not see that feature as part of the GiveWP package but we contacted the Give team, which immediately found a solution for us. Now we have that feature, which is really important to us because some of the schools we work with are in underserved communities and cannot afford the cost of the game. We are trying very hard to remove all barriers of entry so that all students can participate and benefit and the Give team was extremely helpful in that regard.
One other feature we have now with GiveWP that we did not have before, which is extremely helpful to us, is the ability to have the tax receipt automatically generated. We are a small organization and that removes a step that we have to take and also ensures that we get the tax form out immediately.”
– Robin Hayutin
They also added a number of other GiveWP add-ons that enhanced their online donation features. Now their donors can:
- Give in honor of someone.
- Give on a repeating basis.
- Cover the credit card processing fees.
- Give a donation on top of a purchase in the Shop.
We were most interested in the WooCommerce integration because it is one of our newest add-ons. Many other organizations use WooCommerce as a donation tool as well, but it isn’t the most intuitive donor experience. WooCommerce is an eCommerce platform, not a donation platform.
Now when you’re checking out on LearningPlunge, you can add a donation when you get to the checkout page. At the time of writing, just a few weeks after implementing GiveWP, they’ve received three donations through Donation Upsells for WooCommerce. Overall, they’ve received $530 through GiveWP.
“We are in the early stages of the campaign, but we feel very good about the capabilities of our website and believe that they will help us moving forward.”
– Robin Hayutin
Get Involved with LearningPlunge
LearningPlunge and the tournaments are held in Washington, D.C. But you can start your own GeoPlunge or HistoryPlunge in your own community. Get started with a small group, hold after-school activities, or host a city-wide tournament. Look how much fun these kids had playing in St. Louis in 2018!
You can also simply order the game to play with your friends at home, like I plan on doing. And because of WooCommerce Donation Upsells, you can give to the cause when you buy.