How to be more Fortnite - 7 tips for nonprofits from the global video game

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last 18 months you’ll have heard of Fortnite. It’s the record breaking video game that amassed over 125 million players in less than a year. The world’s most popular game has earned the creators Epic games a £15 billion valuation. Incredibly the pivot that turned it from ‘quite popular’ to ‘record-breakingly massive’ - the new format Battle Royal - just took two months to develop.

The basic premise is an online video game that falls under a genre banner of the "battle royale." When 100 players are dropped into an ever-shrinking map, either as solo players or as squads of up to four, who can survive? Other notable games in the genre are PUBG (400 million players) & Clash Royale (70-100 million).

Despite other massive games being released last year - Red Dead Redemption, Call of Duty to name but two - Fortnite remained on top. Fortnite is a phenomenon which has clearly tapped into its core audience in an enduring way.

After a little research it’s clear that what has made Fortnite enduringly popular - with little signs of it being on the wane, reflects a lot of the principles and ways of operating we advocate to clients.

So without further delay here are the 7 lessons you can take from Fortnite into your non-profit working practices:

  1. The game is free to play

    Yes of course there is a revenue model that sits behind the free version but if you want to play the world’s favourite video game it costs you nothing to set up & start playing. This is the ultimate in value exchange. Charities have flirted with value exchange - expert health or safety information in exchange for a small donation. The burst of happiness you experience when helping someone else adds some value to the supporter - but is it enough? The digital age has greatly increased what consumers receive for free and that is the new normal. Does your current portfolio reflect this?

  2. Fortnite makers listen to customer feedback & respond quickly  

    Do you do this with your supporters and key audiences? All feedback is insightful and you need a smart way of collecting it in to one easily accessible area. Are you pulling social media comments into a collaborative space along with emails, letters and telephone calls? If you aren’t how can you look for and track trends? Fortnite quickly mothballed the Infinity Blade after fan outrage

  3. Uses influencers effectively

    Celebrity fans such as Drake stream & promote the game. Footballers copy the dances from the game as goal celebrations. Top stream stars such as ‘Ninja’ ‘Dr.Lupo’ and ‘Myth’ get 100,000’s of viewers when they’re playing. Does your charity look to engage the appropriate type of advocates and influencers for your campaign launches?


4. Connects people socially over its platform

Fortnite is played as a community - 100 people at a time play the Battle Royale version - connected across continents, languages and with a common vocabulary and playing experience. What do you do to connect your supporters and turn their once silo support into a key member in your loyal collective or movement? Do you have an online community? Could you do more to grow it? Communities with shared, lived experiences are resilient, loyal and strong. The more you can do to emphasise commonality amongst your supporter segments the more loyal they will be.

5. Content changes often & new features added often

How long is it since your flagship product had a makeover? What makes it new for the supporter year after year? Products that are ‘doing well’ often don’t receive the care and attention to keep them renovated and fresh - in a world where choice has exploded - some work on new features might keep supporters engaged for longer.

6. It engages young people

Does this need further explanation? Ageing databases anyone?

7. Don’t be afraid to pivot. - this might be the king of all pivots! Within the Flying Cars unique innovation methodology, ‘DIAL IT UP’, once a new prototype has delivered robust test results the idea will either be discarded as not viable (bad results), rolled out (good results), or most likely pivots to a number of new  iterations (interesting mixed results)

So there you have it - the 7 things your nonprofit can learn from Fortnite.

To recap:

  • Explore free/value-exchange

  • Respond to customer feedback quickly

  • Use influencers

  • Build a community

  • Add new features

  • Engage young people

  • Pivoting to new iterations quickly can bring you great riches

If you would like to discuss any of these suggestions in more detail then email me on  or call 0207 157 9504.

If you want to contact me to play Fortnite, I’m afraid I’ve never played. I can put you in touch with Drake though.

Further Reading




Henry Rowling4 Comments