EVE Online developer CCP Games has a unique way of helping players donate. While many MMOs ask for donations or release limited-edition cash shop items, CCP has managed to devise a way for players to donate in-game currency to help people in the real world. During the relief effort for last year's earthquake in Haiti, CCP began accepting donations of 30-day Pilot's License EXtensions (PLEX) for their full monetary value in game time. With the recent devestation in Japan, CCP has once again asked for the EVE community's help to raise money for relief aid.
Each PLEX bought on the in-game market and donated to charity represents 30 days of game time that someone in the world originally paid for with cash but that won't be redeemed into game time. Because of this, CCP can donate the full cash value of that game time to a registered relief charity without taking a big loss. CCP absorbs all management and tax fees to ensure that 100% of the donated game time's value is passed on to registered charities (in this case, the Red Cross).
To donate to the relief effort in Japan, EVE players are encouraged to buy PLEX on the open market and contract them to the character "CCP PLEX For Good" before March 31st. As usual, EVE Online's normally permissive rules on scamming have been suspended in relation to the charity drive. Anyone attempting to scam players out of ISK or PLEX using this charity drive will be dealt with harshly. With notable rich players and corporations able to potentially donate thousands of dollars' worth of PLEX, this charity drive is sure to raise a substantial amount of money for disaster-stricken Japan.