UNICEF Math for Good Challenge

A partnership focused on progress

One of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations, UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to support children and believes that every child, no matter where they live, deserves a safe and healthy childhood. UNICEF USA, which aids the organization’s global work through fundraising, advocacy and education, came to Blue State Digital seeking transformative growth in its digital program.

As partners, UNICEF USA worked with Blue State Digital to outline an ambitious new strategy, creative vision, and tech infrastructure designed to drive exponential long-term growth. Our work together has taken a two-pronged approach: create diverse storytelling and engagement campaigns (beyond simple fundraising asks) and work towards engaging supporters (new and old) in individualized journeys based on their interests and behaviors.

Our favorite campaign so far?

It has to be the UNICEF Math for Good Challenge.

How we turned math into a movement

Using the power of addictive game play to engage and empower our audience to take action, we raised awareness for the millions of children worldwide who face daunting odds in getting the education they deserve.


The UNICEF Math for Good Challenge provided our community with the opportunity to help get children into school and out of poverty. Using a minisite, we gave them one minute to solve nine mathematical questions — every problem the user solved correctly would unlock a $0.25 gift to UNICEF, with an additional one-time $5 bonus for answering all nine math problems correctly. The questions got harder as you went, the ticking clock added urgency, and when time ran out, the game was over.

We made game play sticky by giving players the opportunity to play again as soon as they completed the game, and by keeping an ongoing tally of all the dollars they unlocked thanks to gameplay. We also encouraged widespread social sharing by giving users the opportunity to easily share how much they’d raised with a cheeky social share graphic and Facebook/Twitter share function.

It was addictive, it was thought-provoking, it was fun, but most importantly it raised critical awareness about a child’s right to education and funds to support UNICEF in their efforts to ensure every child receives exactly that.


We raised some serious money for a serious cause

With strong promotion across email, paid and organic social media, we have had just shy of 200,000 total submissions. And most importantly, the campaign provided thousands of dollars through gameplay and direct donations for UNICEF.


And it didn’t stop there. It was talked about, it was shared, it was played and played and played again. People got hooked — we received one report from a young UNICEF supporter who played the game so many times she’d unlocked over $122 by herself.

We sent three separate emails over the course of one week in September to the UNICEF USA list of supporters, inviting them to take up the Math for Good challenge. We saw strong engagement rates across every email metric, including an 11.67% click-to-open rate on our best performing email, a personalized longscroll with an enticing GIF.


Across UNICEF USA social media channels we challenged our audience to take the quiz and saw click-through rates of over 4% — reaching more than 140,000 people, with over 220,000 impressions.

And after the initial promotion period ended, we made the quiz evergreen and the clicks continued to roll in. Overall, we raised some serious money for a serious cause, in a really fun way.

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