In the first part of this three-part article, we discussed how charities can use Twitch for fundraising. In this second part, we look specifically at how charities can run gaming marathons to raise funds through harnessing gamers among their supporters or finding a creator willing to align with the charity.
Streaming a marathon gaming session might not seem like the most productive use of time, but you may be surprised. So-called ‘streaming for good’ raises millions of pounds each year for worthwhile causes around the world.
Gaming by your supporters
Supporters gaming for the charity can be an effective way of raising funds for both larger and smaller charities.
Take leading cancer charity Macmillan Cancer Support, for example. Its Game Heroes programme has raised more than £750,000 for the charity to date simply by getting supporters to run gaming marathons on its behalf on Twitch.
Macmillan’s fundraising marketing manager Cara Grantham says: “Game Heroes was inspired by one of our incredible fundraisers – who managed to raise over £50,000 through his own gaming marathon back in 2014.”
The charity has a dedicated section on its website that asks gamers to sign up and set a challenge. It then gives the gamer a page to customise and share. There is also a league table of the top 10 fundraisers and a section showing gamers currently streaming.
Homeless charity Shelter runs a similar programme, Level Up for Shelter. Shelter’s senior digital fundraising executive Marja Möller says the inspiration came from research the charity did into the gaming community. This highlights how important it is for charities to have detailed data on their supporters and what interests and motivates them.
“We’re always keen to reach as many people as possible, both to fundraise and raise awareness of Shelter’s work, so the gaming community made sense. So many gamers are extremely passionate about different causes, and their expertise helped us to develop our strategy,” says Marja.
Finding supporters to run events
One challenge for many charities, especially smaller ones, is how they go about finding supporters to run live gaming (or other) events for them. A starting point for this is to analyse your own charity’s database to see if you have supporters that fit the demographic of people interested in gaming (typically 18 to 24-year-olds).
The lessons from the likes of Macmillan and Shelter are clear:
- Use data analytics to identify supporters who are into gaming and willing to fundraise for you by running their own event
- Reach out to those supporters and make it as easy as possible for them to sign up by having a dedicated section on your website giving them all the tools they need
- Support them with shout-outs on social media and your website
Identifying and engaging established creators willing to help
Larger charities may find it easier than smaller ones to find gamers within their supporter base. For smaller charities struggling with this, they may be better off tapping into the community of a popular creator willing to back your cause. This is an excellent way to raise funds and engage with a new audience who may not be familiar with your charity and its goals.
If you don’t have a suitable creator among your supporters willing to help, the first step would be to identify a creator who you believe has the type of community that is likely to relate your cause. Supporters into gaming may be able to help you with this.
Once you identify someone, you should investigate what content they produce and what their social or political views are. You want to make sure their values align with yours. In brief, would they make a good brand representative for your charity?
If so, you will need to contact them, either directly or through their agent if they have one; many creators are represented by leading artists’ agencies.
Sponsorship and incentives
Creators may want some form of financial sponsorship in return for promoting the charity. This could take the form of the charity sponsoring an event hosted by the creator, for example. The charity could also engage with viewers by setting up incentives and prizes such as clothes, game consoles or game codes.
One way to do this is to have donation goals. For example, anyone who donates £25 gets entered into a raffle to win a game code or t-shirt.
You could even ask one of your corporate supporters to co-sponsor an event. This will help ensure greater exposure and may also enable you to offer more recognisable prizes. Bear in mind that it is best to offer prizes that your audience can relate to, so energy drinks would be better than kombucha drinks, gaming chairs better than office chairs.
Will Twitch help you?
Twitch says its role is to support “the greater Twitch community in their philanthropic adventure” and will sometimes help out with an event if you reach out to them. This may include putting you in touch with brands or streamers who want to get involved with your charity or promoting creators on its front page who support your charity.
Using gaming to raise funds is an increasingly useful tool for charities, and one we expect to grow in importance over the next few years.