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Subject: Are there any nonprofit game publishers? rss

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Ransom Christofferson
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Hi all,

I've recently started designing my own games in my free time, and I thought that it would be nice to donate the sales profits to charities (assuming I actually get sales profits), since I don't need additional income beyond my full-time job to make ends meet.

I was planning on taking the self-published route--offering my games as print-on-demand through thegamecrafter.com, running kickstarter campaigns, pitching my games to local game stores, etc. I'm aware that the amount of marketing and promotion rather heavily determines how well a game sells...basically, my games won't be able to raise much money for charities unless I spend a lot of time promoting my games. The problem is that I just want to design games, and not be a promotions agent or a salesman. Indeed, this is the service that publishers provide! But I want the profits from my games to support charities.

So here's my question: are there any nonprofit board game publishers? In other words, is there any publisher to whom I can "donate" my completed game design, who will then do the work of promoting/selling my game and donate the profits to charities?

I know I could just aim to publish my game through an ordinary game publisher, and simply donate my personal earnings, but I figure a larger % of sales profits will make it to charities if the publisher itself is a nonprofit.

Thanks all. (I'm new to the forums. Hello!)
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Andrew Rowse
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Note that if you run a Kickstarter campaign, you are not allowed to advertise that any of your profits are going to charity.

If you want to crowdfund something where the profits go to charity, Indiegogo currently seems to be the best bet, or at least it was two years ago when I used it to do that.
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Brook Gentlestream
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Indie Boards & Cards donates $1 of all direct sales to charity.

Indie Boards and Cards Website wrote:

In this economically challenging time it is even more important to continue to work with independent aid organizations. For that reason I will be donating $1 for every game we sell direct (at conventions, or via kickstarter) to Heifer International. Heifer is a long standing supporter of sustainable development in the United States, Europe and the third world. Your donations provide local communities with resources and education they need to take care of themselves.

In 2009 we donated $600, $300 from game sales and a personal match of $300. A corporate match means $1,200 was donated to this worthy cause.
in 2010 we donated $1,000, corporate matched to $2,000. In 2011 we donated $2,500, which was also doubled by a corporate match. And now in 2012 your generous support has enabled us to donate $7,500 ($15,000 with corporate match) to this wonderful cause.
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James Hutchings
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Most of them. But not intentionally.
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David
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Matt Calkins designer of Sekigahara donated all of his share from the game to Japanese Tsunami relief, and got GMT to pay him his share upfront to make it happen quicker. Not the same thing you are asking, but it seems like it wouldn't necessarily be impossible to persuade a company to do this kind of thing -- provided they think it will sell!
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David Cheng
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I think there is no such thing as nonprofit publisher. All companies are formed to make profit. The best you can do is let the publisher donates YOUR share of profit to the charity. The publisher of coz will take their share of profit as usual. The profit I meant is the surplus over cost. That means the publisher need an estimated sales to cover the cost of sales first, then anything over that amount is the profit you & the publisher share. The cost of sales includes paying the artists, printing the game, promoting it & other cost such as shipping.

The big presumption is - your game will sell. How about if the sales amount is not big enough to cover the cost? In case of KS campaign, you must make sure you can achieve the base goal to cover your cost before deadline. Good luck.
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Sturv Tafvherd
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apeloverage wrote:
Most of them. But not intentionally.


OP said NONprofit, not NONEprofit.
 
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James Hutchings
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More serious answer:

I would imagine that designing and printing games isn't a good method of raising money for charity.

This is because lots of games will lose money. Even if they don't, there are products which are probably better 'value' in terms of time and effort: tshirts, CDs and so on.

In the world of board games, you could probably raise more money by putting out a limited-edition version of an existing, successful game (for example a specially-themed Monopoly set, or a Settlers set signed by the creator).
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Ransom Christofferson
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Thanks for the replies and helpful info.

Indeed, given the "NONEprofit" nature of publishing, board games may not be the most efficient way to raise money for charities, but tshirts aren't nearly as fun to design!
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Ransom Christofferson
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Ultracheng wrote:
All companies are formed to make profit.


What I had in mind was a company like Newman's Own, who donates 100% of their profits. Maybe my use of the word "nonprofit" was inaccurate? Newman's certainly makes a profit, but they don't keep it for themselves (after production cost, salaries, etc)...so they're not in it for the profit, which just sounds like a verbose way of saying "nonprofit".

What would be the official term for such a company?
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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Nonprofit is the correct term, but it's quite possible there aren't any. I'm not sure if there is any legal reason you can't run an ordinary business but give your profits away and designate yourself an NPO, but I believe that typically nonprofits rely on charitable donations to sustain themselves rather than doing things that are independently profitable.
 
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Ryan Keane
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No, a non-profit is simply a company where all net revenue is reinvested in the development of the company. No profits are distributed to owners, board members, or investors.

If you want to generate money for charities, like others said designing games is not a great way to do that.

If you don't like the idea of a publisher potentially making a profit on your game, then I would just go the pnp route. If you gain a following, you could ask downloaders to donate $1 or $5 to your linked charities.
 
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