Interview with Drew Dyksterhouse founder Helping Hand Games
See how Drew has founded Helping Hand Games to feed children in need through his games.
We have interviewed Drew Dyksterhouse, founder of Helping Hand Games, to learn more about his background story, how he started Helping Hand Games, his advice on starting your own nonprofit, charity or social enterprise and the future he hopes to create through his work at Helping Hand Games.
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Q: What is your biggest life lesson or key takeaway from this interview that you would like to stick with readers?
Drew: “There are so many people in need out there. 1 in 9 people suffer from malnutrition. That is a lot of people and can be overwhelming to the point where you just don’t want to think about it. What could you possibly do? Well that’s completely logical, by yourself you can’t do much, but you’re not alone. If a lot of people take simple, little actions, like play a game for example, it could do a lot of good. There are hundreds of millions of people playing mobile games around the world and it generates over 30 billion dollars a year. I see that as a lot of potential help for a lot of hungry people.“
Q: Can you tell us more about yourself? What is your passion?
Drew: “I’ve always loved games. I’ve been developing games since 2007 when I went to college for Game art and animation. Over the course of three years, I worked on about six different student lead game projects, one of which won our team a trip to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Right out of college I started working for a company that created Bible-based educational games. After a year there most of the team was laid off because our producer ran out of funds. I then got a job at a mobile game company that created games to promote brands such as Veggietales and WWE. I was there for almost two years and had recently had my first child and was wanting to find something a little more stable with better pay. So I taught myself to program and moved into the web development world. I continued to make games on my own. Making games on your own can be rough, I got discouraged after a couple games and took a break for a couple years.
During that break I went through some rough stuff and some serious soul searching. I had always considered myself a Christian, but I took a good hard at my life and it looked nothing like Jesus. So that began a couple year transformation of me trying to follow and be more like Christ. So fast forward to about 6-8 months ago, I wanted to do something with my experience in and love of games that would be lasting. Jesus spent a lot of his time helping those in need so I knew I wanted to do the same. So I thought why not use games to raise funds for charities that feed people in need, and Helping Hand Games was born.“
Q: What was the inspiration for starting Helping Hand Games and how did you get started?
Drew: “The inspiration came from a desire to do something lasting and companies like Toms shoes and Project 7.“
Q: What are your best tips for others wanting to start a nonprofit or social enterprise?
Drew: “Learn marketing or find someone who knows it well. Be patient, it takes time to get people excited about something, especially a good cause. If you are a social enterprise, Charity Navigator is a great tool for vetting charities.“
Q: What were your biggest challenges up until now?
Drew: “Getting people excited about being able to help feed others in need just by playing a game. I feel like part of it comes from needing to gain people’s trust, I need to find ways to be more transparent so that people know that their game time really is being used for good. I’ve started researching into making Helping Hand Games a BCorp, but there is a lot that goes into it.“
Q: What are your happiest moments with Helping Hand Games?
Drew: “Getting to work with games and help spread the love of Christ at the same time is the best. Second best is getting to talk to users who love the game and the mission.“
Q: What future do you hope to create through your work at Helping Hand Games?
Drew: “When we’ve hit our goal of one million meals our next goal will probably be something that provides for people in the long run, cattle, seeds, wells, etc. meals just seemed like a good point of entry.
Once Helping Hand Games has established a presence and I get the hang of marketing I’m hoping to offer a publishing service to other independent game developers. They’ll gain exposure and get to help feed people through their games.“
Q: What is the biggest obstacle you face in achieving this future?
Drew: ” The biggest obstacle is my lack of marketing knowledge. I really need help getting the word out and getting people as excited as I am to be using the fun of games to help people in need.”
Q: How can readers participate in helping you achieve this future?
Drew: “The best way to help right now is to download Fruitums, play it and spread the word. A huge portion of mobile downloads happen because of word of mouth.“
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