Japan Disaster Aid From SI and Zynga


There are a great many ways and places to donate money to assist victims of the tragic events in Japan last week. Nonetheless, it’s good to see game companies also doing their bit to tempt their players into lending a financial hand during this time of need.

Social network gaming titan Zynga is highlighting the need for aid to its not inconsiderable audience of Facebook gamers. Anyone looking to buy Facebook Credits to purchase in-game goods will also be prompted to instead purchase special alternatives (such as power-up crops and Japan-themed decorations), full proceeds for which will go to Save The Children’s vital efforts to help children and their families affected by the tragedy.

Whatever you might happen to think about that particular genre of game and of Zynga particularly, there’s simply no arguing with the fact that a similar system arranged in response to the Haiti earthquake last year raised over $1.5 million in donations.

If you’re not any kind Facebook gamer, you can always donate directly to Save The Children’s Japanese disaster relief fund here.

Also, and if you’re an iPhone owner tempted by the Appletised version of perennial UK PC hit Football Manager 2011, all revenues for the app (until the end of the week) will be donated to Japanese relief efforts. Nice one, Sports Interactive and SEGA.

Please do post links to any and all other charity initiatives and/or organisations pitching in to help Japan below.


  1. Jonathan says:

    I’m glad to see that all proceeds of the special item sales are going to charity. It makes me angry when companies try to make themselves look caring and responsible with offers like “20p of every DVD sold will go to Comic Relief!” in the hopes that consumers will be all “Oh, I’ll buy this because it’s for charity” instead of, say, going without the DVD and giving the money they would have spent on it to charity instead grmblegrmble…

  2. Mr_Initials says:

    I think this probably counts as a tax write off also

    • Alec Meer says:

      Actually, it’d be really nice if a thread about charity help for victims of a terrible tragedy wasn’t derailed by the internet’s usual line in presumptuous cynicism.

    • Mr_Initials says:

      I’m not saying I disapprove of the funding (My dad is in japan right now), I’m just saying they are probably benefiting from the charity also

    • patricij says:

      The thing is..does it matter if they do or do not?

    • EthZee says:

      Well, yeah, if you’re thinking of buying the thing simply because the money goes to charity. If you’re that concerned with charity, donate the money to an organisation that actually does help; cut out the middleman.

    • Pie21 says:

      Also of note is that if one can claim a tax write-off, then one can make a donation of one’s choice and then choose to donate a little bit extra to charity instead of to one’s government.

      It’s not cynicism, it’s just prudence.

    • Premium User Badge

      bokkiedog says:

      “Actually, it’d be really nice if a thread about charity help for victims of a terrible tragedy wasn’t derailed by the internet’s usual line in presumptuous cynicism”.

  3. Worldbeing says:

    I’m not terribly keen on focused initatives like Save the Children…. my donation is going to Medecins Sans Frontieres.
    Donate to them here

    • TWeaK says:

      Ditto, they’re my charity of choice for this kind of thing. In fact, for just about anything.

  4. stahlwerk says:

    Hey, let’s compile a list of (mostly) charity-related organisations in your respective corners of the internet, for those who don’t want to go through the hassle (and devaluation) involved in currency conversion.
    For germany:
    link to aktion-deutschland-hilft.de (a cooperative effort of germany’s largest charity orgs)
    link to drk.de (red cross, the classic)
    (both of these let you specify how you want your donation to be used, japan only or for all the work they do. So stop to think for a second how selective you want to be with your donation, there are a lot more crises going on in this world than what’s in the news)

    Edit: ^^^^ Good call, MSF for germany: link to aerzte-ohne-grenzen.de

  5. Alec Meer says:

    Advance warning: any comments that are slagging companies off for setting up charity initiatives are going to be wiped. Take it somewhere else: we’re human beings here.

  6. Pie21 says:

    If every company on Earth did as much as Zynga, Japan would probably quadruple its GDP this year.

    (Yes, I know transfer payments do not count towards GDP, but they can add up.)

  7. stahlwerk says:

    A thing to consider when thinking about whether to donate if you don’t have that much disposable income: think of the recipient orgs as of an indie game developer on a steam sale! Few but large donations aren’t helping them as much as a lot of smaller ones.

  8. Trip Skyway says:

    Well done Zynga.

  9. Ikkusei says:

    “With great power comes great responsibility”.

    It’s always a pleasure to see anyone – from an individual to an organization – adhere to this maxim as Zynga have. Great work, and thank you.

  10. Lewie Procter says:

    Gosh Cityville looks similar to Sim City 2000 doesn’t it.

    • CMaster says:

      I’d thought it was SC2K. Makes much more sense now.

    • patricij says:

      More like 3000 – THAT was the one in pastel colours

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Well, the actual disaster is close enough to a Sim City session.

    • Navagon says:

      I thought we weren’t supposed to be discussing things such as how Zygna *cough* creates its games?

    • CMaster says:

      No, we’re just not meant to question the motivations or results of Zynga doing such a thing (I have some concerns that “donate through us” promotions for any company let them make claims of charitably, tax and PR wise without actually spending any money, but I don’t know if it actually works like that and wasn’t going to bring it up)

    • Navagon says:

      Well I don’t think that anyone’s questioning the fact that this is beneficial to Zynga. After all it’s about the only positive bit of publicity they’ve ever had.

      That said, there are currently no grounds for questioning the genuineness of their charitable efforts and I don’t imagine that any such grounds will emerge. After all, if they tried to skim off the top on this one they’d be lynched.

      So yes, if it inspires people to donate to a good cause in exchange for oriental themed in game tat then it’s all good.

  11. Delusibeta says:

    Wot? No mention of Google’s efforts in this thread yet?

    link to google.com

    Includes: link to donate to the Japanese Red Cross, the Google People Finder and various maps.

    • Lack_26 says:

      You can also do it via the various Red cross’s websites, I donated via the British Red Cross (which also do gift-aid if you’re a UK taxpayer).

  12. noom says:

    I donated to the Red Cross through Groupon. Listed as a Leeds deal so not sure if it’ll work for everyone, but they’ll match any donations up to a collated total of £70000. The “offer” ends in 8 hours.

    The £2 stated is minimum. You can buy multiples of that up to a total of £60 in one transaction.

  13. Navagon says:

    Are there any good, reliable charities to make anonymous donations to the cause? As in no constant junk mail ever afterwards? I’d rather the money went to the cause than on the junk mail they bombard me with (not saying Save the Children are like that).

    • CMaster says:

      DEC are pretty good in that respect. They aren’t doing a Japan Tsunami appeal mind – I don’t know why, but they do only run one appeal at a time.

    • Navagon says:

      You’d hope that’s because they’re actually in these places trying to alleviate the suffering there. I actually appreciate the fact that they’re showing commitment to their chosen cause rather than spreading themselves too thin to be effective.

  14. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    Hopefully we don’t get another chernobyl =<

  15. Towercap says:

    There’s this: link to givingaid.richarddawkins.net
    I’m donating via the Google link above though. Out of all charity websites I’ve seen in the past couple of days, they seem the most well-organised.
    So wish I could do more. ):

  16. Chiron says:

    Is it wrong the first thing I thought of when I saw this article would be how neat it would be to play Sim City and unleash chaos?

  17. bill says:

    Lots of japanese companies are sending things. I feel a bit useless sitting in Tokyo, and I feel like I should be donating blankets/food/clothes etc.. But they aren’t asking for anything that direct yet. They mostly need money.
    I think the big problem is that the area hit is so big, and trransport has been so knocked out, that even with all the japanese army, rescue teams from over 60 counties, and lots of charities on the ground, there are still a lot of places they haven’t reached yet.
    If anyone has any spare helicopters…

  18. adonf says:

    Guys, if you want to donate to a charity and they give you a choice between a generic donation and a donation for Japan only please chose the generic option. Charities receive huge amounts of money for big disasters like this, sometimes more than they can spend. Yet it’s in a Japan-only or Haiti-only fund so they cannot use this money in other countries that need help too but are not as much in the public eye.

  19. RegisteredUser says:

    I’d rather have people use the red cross and continue to hate and ignore Zynga.

    Especially as the same social network they operate and profit on is now starting to fill with people laughing and cajoling over Japan’s misery “because Pearl Harbor hurr hurr derrrrrrp”.