What Candy Crush Taught Me About Raising Money

Cyn Mobley
3 min readFeb 16, 2021

So people, right? Am I right?

They get themselves into situations. Troubles. Dead ends. Disasters.

And when they do, the rest of us have to help. Oh, sure, we may sigh, swear a little, and feel frustrated that ONCE AGAIN someone needs bail money.

But we help. Either as individuals, or through governmental and charitable institutions we support.

But why? Why do people help other people? If you’re raising money for a charity, that’s the question you’re constantly trying to answer. Here’s what you need to know.

First, charity is rooted in tribalism and survival. It’s an implicit part of the social compact. You’re in trouble, I help you because someday I may be in trouble and you’ll help me.

Charity is like cultural insurance. You may never need help but you know it’s there if you do.

Second, part of that survival instinct is the drive to solve puzzles. Figure out the patterns of wildlife behavior makes you a better hunter, makes you more likely to survive. Divine the signs that a predator is around so you can avoid it.

We’re chemically hardwired to solve puzzles. Any puzzle. All puzzles.

You know Candy Crush, right? No matter what story line or theme it’s embedded in, it’s about this — matching patterns. It’s the digital equivalent of Bingo.

When you think about it, it sounds like the most boring thing in the world. Match a number on a card with a number the host calls out. Match three green jewels. Fun times.

BUT — try playing it. BOOM. Despite your brain telling you it’s stupid — it’s fun. Addictive, even.

See, our brain wants us to solve puzzles. Every time we do, it gives us a little kick of dopamine. It’s not lining up the peppermint twists into a line of five that hooks us. It’s the drugs our brains give us.

This is true even when we’re just TRYING to solve a puzzle. We see it, we know it needs solving, a little tweak of cortisol kicks in, making it urgent, so we have to try.

And that’s what Candy Crush teaches us about raising money: turn it into a game.

Cyn Mobley

Attorney, CA & TN. Retired naval officer and black belt in Isshinryu. Generally peaceful. Blogs at https://obeythebeagle.com/blog