In another “Second Life, yes it’s still around” post I’m taking a look at areas where Virtual Reality is likely to follow Second Life’s lead, in particular charities, nonprofits and social causes.
Earlier today I was reading an article by Erin Blakemore on Smithsonian.com, Virtual Reality Could Be the Next Big Thing in Charitable Giving :
Sometimes, all it takes to inspire more charitable giving is a visit to a place or person in need. But not every situation or location is accessible to the average donor. That could be changing, writes NPR’s Linda Poon, thanks to virtual reality experiences designed to increase empathy and charitable giving.
The linked article by NPR’s Linda Poon is well worth a read too. Virtual Reality may well be able to take people to places and scenes that will increase their empathy to charitable causes, but the concept of charitable causes being able to extend their reach via Virtual Worlds has long been a practice in Second Life and other similar virtual worlds.
Erin Blakemore’s article acknowledges this and points to the Nonprofit Commons, which has a presence in Second Life. The Nonprofit Commons explains a bit about itself on their website :
Nonprofit Commons was designed to lower the barriers of access to Second Life, to create a community of practice for nonprofits to explore and learn about the virtual world, and to investigate the many ways in which nonprofits might utilize this unique environment. Through this community, we provide free office space to qualifying groups, meet and network, create a cooperative learning environment and foster outreach, education, fund-raising, all in a virtual space. Our focus is on providing an accessible entry-point to Second Life and on creating a community of nonprofit organizations (NPOs) for effective collaboration and support. We believe that Second Life is a wonderful place not just to entertain, but also to educate, inspire, and work together to assist our fellow avatars (and the humans behind them). You do not have to be a resident of the Nonprofit Commons to get involved with our community. We welcome all who wish to join us as partners, collaborators or supporters.
The Nonprofit Commons are under the leadership of TechSoup and rely on the help of volunteers to aid their good causes.