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Case Study: Games for Nonprofits

We are driven by a mission to harness the power of game-based learning for a wide array of educational purposes. Over the years, we have had the privilege of collaborating with numerous organizations, including nonprofits, to create playful experiences that improve peoples’ lives

Today we’re highlighting one of our nonprofit partners – iCivics. Our work with this organization will offer you a glimpse into the transformative potential of educational games in addressing real-world challenges, and you’ll discover how games work to advance the missions of organizations dedicated to making a positive impact in our society.

Case Study: iCivics, courtesy of Carrie Ray-Hill, Senior Director of Digital Learning at iCivics

Project Overview

Our main challenge is getting students engaged with civic learning. It’s traditionally dry, lacking relevance, and often overlooked in schools. The iCivics suite of games have really invigorated civic instruction by giving teachers really engaging and fun tools to bring civics to life with their students. Students can see themselves in the civic situations, try and fail in a controlled and safe game world, and draw connections to their own lives. 


The following information is summarized from the page “Our Proven Impact” on the iCivics website.

In 2021, iCivics conducted a comprehensive study involving 37,000 students who engaged with two of their prominent election games: Win the White House and Cast Your Vote. These interactive experiences tasked students with the challenges of presidential campaigns and informed voting in an imaginary local election. Before and after gameplay, students were assessed on both civic content knowledge and civic dispositions—traits and tendencies essential for shaping democratic character.

Across the board, students demonstrated improvements in every aspect. In areas related to civics content, they exhibited an impressive 26% average increase in scores. Even more astonishing, when it came to civic dispositions and behaviors, there was a remarkable leap of 38%. In essence, just 30 minutes of gameplay and a few clicks later led to significant knowledge gains on topics like the Electoral College and voting, along with increased personal interest and a willingness to actively engage in these civic matters.

iCivics’ approach breathes life into civics education by allowing students to experience political systems firsthand, empowering them to tackle real-world issues. It’s not just popular among students due to its fun nature; teachers embrace it for its high-quality, adaptable, standards-aligned digital resources. 95% of iCivics teachers report increased student engagement, heightened interest in politics and current events, a greater willingness to engage in civil classroom conversations, and enhanced knowledge about government operations.

Regardless of factors like gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic status, the positive influence on students remains consistent. Even more encouraging, over half of students who play these games in school voluntarily revisit them at home during their free time.

Usage Numbers

Since 2010, iCivics games have been played a total of 188,855,886 times!

Research Engagements

The remarkable impacts mentioned above are substantiated by independent research, which underscores the tangible benefits of iCivics resources. Check out these independent studies on iCivics to learn more:

iCivics contributes to well-developed knowledge-building in civics and successfully encourages students to utilize their own critical thinking skills – Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy (2021)

iCivics games are effective in teaching students to solve real-world civic problems – Marist College (2018)

iCivics games increase civics content knowledge, attitudes and their sense of agency – Baylor University (2016)

Students’ civic test scores as much as doubled following iCivics gameplay – Arizona State University (2011)

Students’ civic knowledge increased considerably after playing iCivics games. – Persephone Group (2009)


One of my favorite moments with our games was during a playtest of Executive Command. After playing it, we asked students to share feedback. One student just sat back and said, “I had no idea being the president was so hard.” Another said, “You snuck learning in my brain!” These kinds of comments get at why good learning games are so powerful. They deliver so much more than facts and figures, they let kids try on roles. Games like ours (and Filament’s) reveal much more than just the words on the screen or the clicks to win.

Lessons Learned

We’ve been together for over 15 years now, and I have been here for 13 of them. I think iteration, trust, and collaboration are the words that come to mind. The best game production experiences have happened when we (as SMEs) have been able to deeply collaborate with the game team. There is a lot of trust on both sides which allows us to collaborate in a deep and impactful way. It’s not just a client-vendor relationship. We are teammates on the same mission.

As you can tell, the combination of technology and education has the potential to ignite significant change! This case study serves as a testimonial to the idea that innovative, engaging, and interactive solutions, such as the games we create at Filament, are vital tools in advancing the goals of organizations dedicated to social and educational causes. 

With each project, we’ve witnessed the power of games to educate, inspire, and drive positive change. We look forward to continuing our mission to empower nonprofits and other educational partners with the transformative potential of game-based learning, enhancing the impact they make in the world.

Is your nonprofit organization looking to leverage game-based learning for a serious impact? Reach out to us, we want to hear from you!

Learn more about working with us:

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