Social entertainment from companies such as Zynga are giving charities a boost by encouraging donations.

Online games are the latest philanthropic outlet according to a recent article by Adweek, which looks at how social gaming can not only boost charitable causes but also improve a brand's reputations.

Companies can engage consumers and encourage them to do good through social media games, platforms that are becoming increasingly popular. Also, gamers then share what they're doing with friends and family, spreading the word about charities' efforts even further. And by supporting good causes, the companies burnish their own image and improve their reputation. The article points to Zynga's campaign to raise money for relief efforts in Japan last year. They helped Save the Children and Direct Relief, releasing a $5 virtual fan in 10 of their games and donating 100% of the proceeds.

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