If you have yet to experience virtual reality (VR), your first adventure into the metaverse using an Oculus Quest will likely provoke many self-exclamations of awe and amazement. From your first experience of surround sound to seeing your hands function and your body moving through a digital world, nonprofit marketers and fundraisers absolutely need to explore this next iteration of the internet.

With a focus on nonprofits, Heather Mansfield of Nonprofit Tech for Good recently took her first steps into the metaverse using an Oculus Quest 2, and below are her top five tips for getting started. Throughout 2022, Heather will write a series of posts on how to explore the metaverse using an Oculus Quest with an eventual exploration of how nonprofits can use Horizon Workrooms, Horizon Worlds, and Horizon Venues. Heather is not a gamer or previous VR user, so her advice is tailored for first-timers.

1. Know that you will need multiple days/weeks to learn the basics of navigating Oculus.

Using a keyboard and mouse, and swiping and tapping on a smartphone or tablet, is second nature to nonprofit digital marketers and fundraisers, but the Oculus Quest headset and hand controllers are a completely new software and hardware experience. When setting up your Oculus Quest for the first time, take your time to visually explore your virtual reality. In the process, your hands will intuitively begin to learn how to navigate using the thumbsticks, triggers, and buttons on your hand controllers.

A list of buttons, trigger, and thumbstick commands on the Oculus Quest hand controllers.

The first-time experience is very unique and shouldn’t be rushed. Make sure that you have at least two to three hours for your first exploration and 30-60 minutes per day in the weeks following. Similar to a first Google search or email sent, or your first friend request received on Facebook, your first exploration of VR is once-in-a-technological-revolution experience.

2. Before you turn on your Oculus Quest, make necessary preparations.

As recommended in Why Nonprofits Need to Be Early Explorers of the Metaverse, your organization should buy a VR headset and experience the metaverse as a team. That said, it’s important to understand that the Oculus Quest is a personalized experience and while it is possible to share a headset and hand controllers, the experience is connected to an individual’s identity. So, before opening the box:

► Decide who at your organization will be the primary admin for your Oculus account.

During the setup process, you will be required to create an Oculus account to connect your Oculus Quest to your Facebook account. Meta owns Facebook and Oculus and the two are inexorably connected. The good news is that the primary admin for your Oculus account can add up can add up to three additional Facebook accounts, so four people can share one Oculus Quest.

► Have your WiFi login ready and choose an appropriate play and work area.

Early in the Oculus Quest setup process, you will be required to enter your WiFi login and set up an unobstructed work and play area using Oculus Guardian. The area should be at least 6.5 feet by 6.5 feet (2 meters by 2 meters) with easy access to a chair that can be pulled in when needed.

► Download the Oculus Mobile App and have a credit card ready.

During the setup process, your Oculus Quest will be paired with your smartphone using the Oculus Mobile App (Apple, Google Play). Again, this is another reason why you need to choose carefully who at your organization will use their personal information to set up your Oculus Quest. This pairing allows you to easily browse and download Oculus Quest Apps on your smartphone.

It’s also worth noting that you will need to enter a credit card number or PayPal account to enable Oculus purchases. Set a monthly budget and use your organization’s card or discuss in advance that your employee will be reimbursed for using their personal card. At this time, most apps are gaming-related and inexpensive.

3. Get comfortable with your new Horizon Home.

At the moment, your new Horizon Home is a beautiful, tropical cave oasis. For first-timers, it truly feels like an escape into another reality. The ability to build and customize your home environment, according to Meta, is coming soon along with the ability to invite your Oculus friends for a visit.

Your exploration of the Horizon Metaverse is done through the Oculus Universal Menu which can be quickly accessed by clicking the Oculus button. The universal menu includes:

  • Apps: View and launch apps from your library.
  • Sharing: Cast, take photos, and record video in VR.
  • People: Send messages, find and add friends, and create a party.
  • Store: Find new apps and experiences in the Oculus Store.
  • Explore: Browse the Oculus home screen for suggested apps and entertainment.
  • Profile: Select your profile image to access your profile.
  • Notifications: View notifications from apps, Messenger, and more.
  • Quick Settings: Check the current time, the charge level of your headset, and the strength of your Wi-Fi connection. Select the Quick Settings panel to view your device settings.

A screenshot of the the Horizon Home in Oculus Quest - with the universal menu featured.

To navigate the universal menu, simply point your left or right-hand controller, hover, and pull the trigger button. By your third or fourth visit to your Horizon Home, navigation starts to become second nature. To ease your travels through the Horizon Metaverse, it’s recommended to turn on Voice Commands under Settings.

Finally, when you first visit your Oculus Home, you are presented with the opportunity to watch and experience tutorials. Don’t skip them! Take the time and learn the correct way to use Oculus from the start. It will save you time in the long run.

4. Create your Oculus Avatar.

You can be anyone you want in Oculus. Have fun with your avatar! That said, for someone like me (Heather Mansfield) who is very uncomfortable on camera in real life, it’s not uncomfortable being an avatar of myself in Oculus. Introverts will likely thrive in the metaverse.

That said, to create and customize your avatar, hover over and select your profile icon in your universal menu and then select Edit Avatar. You can choose from a variety of physical features and clothing and accessories. As of now, you can not purchase clothing or accessories, but without a doubt, there will come a day when you’ll be able to wear (or sell for fundraising) a cause-related t-shirt.

5. Download Horizon Workrooms, Horizon Worlds, and Horizon Venues.

From your universal menu or your Oculus app, download Horizon Workrooms, Horizon Worlds, and Horizon Venues. Until you step into any of these apps, your Oculus experience will be solitary, but once you enter the apps, you’ll be interacting with avatars of humans that could be located anywhere in the world. It’s worth noting that Gen Z seems to be the most active in the Horizon Metaverse, but it’s just a matter of time until older generations join in for work, social, cultural, and fitness experiences.

For your first avatar-to-avatar contact, it’s recommended to visit Horizon Venues. In the main lobby, you’ll see avatars walking around – just say hi and ask where they are from? It’s a bit awkward at first because you don’t really know who you are talking to or how old they are –  and it is OK to ask. But as the Horizon Metaverse expands, in the future you’ll be interacting and hanging out with people you know on Facebook and in Messenger. For future reference, bookmark the Horizon Venues Event Calendar.

Finally, know that when you go into public places, your Facebook/Oculus username is visible and serves as your primary identifier in the Horizon Metaverse. You can change your username once every six months by logging in to Oculus > Profile > Username. That’s it for now! Explore and have fun.

101 Digital Marketing & Fundraising Best Practices for Nonprofits is a blog and webinar series on website design, email marketing, online fundraising, and social media best practices for nonprofits, NGOs, and charities worldwide. Those who register and attend all three webinars in the series will earn a Certificate in Digital Marketing & Fundraising from Nonprofit Tech for Good.

A certificate program for nonprofit marketers and fundraisers

5 Oculus Quest Tips for Nonprofits New to the Metaverse