In the first part of a three-part blog on how charities can use Twitch, we look at what Twitch is and how charities can fundraise using the platform.
It is no exaggeration to say that the Covid-19 has had a devastating effect on charities. In May, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) estimated that there would be a funding gap of £4bn as a result of the crisis. And last month, the NCVO’s CEO Karl Wilding admitted the charity sector is in “serious trouble” and “will inevitably shrink in the immediate future”.
One of the biggest areas impacted by the pandemic and lockdown is fundraising. Charities have simply been unable to raise money in their usual way. Although many have adapted by hosting events on Zoom and similar platforms, this only scratches the surface of what the online world can offer.
With so many of us spending so much time at home, there has been a huge surge in interest in video games and online gaming. Streaming platforms such as Twitch saw massive growth as soon as the first lockdown started. The number of hours of Twitch streaming increased by almost 50% to 1.49 billion hours in April, with more than 20 million daily active users.
That sounds impressive, but you are probably wondering how this relates to charity fundraising. It does, so bear with me.
What is Twitch?
Twitch is a web-based platform that allows people to stream what they are doing in real time. It is mainly used by gamers who live stream their games by sharing their screens with subscribers or fans who can hear them speak and watch them play live. Twitch is also used by other “content creators” who use it to showcase music or cooking or other lifestyle activities.
Twitch is designed to be a social experience, and streamers build up a community of fans who chat in a chat room that appears alongside the stream. Streams can last anything from 60-seconds to eight hours and more. Viewers support streamers financially via donations and subscriptions.
How can charities use Twitch?
Twitch estimates that more than £79m has been raised for charities on its platform. Charities raise money on Twitch in two main ways.
Live streaming events
First, they use Twitch to live stream their own events. To do this, you will need to set up an account, which is easily done. Then to stream your event live, you will just need a camera, microphone, computer and the internet. You can send out a link to the event to people in your charity network, and they can view the event remotely and engage through the chat room. You can accept donations through one of the many fundraising platforms linked to Twitch such as Tiltify and Just Giving, which we will discuss in a future blog.
It isn’t easy to build a Twitch community on your own page, but this may be less difficult than you may think depending on the demographics of your supporters. This is where analysis of your database can be extremely useful. Twitch’s audience, especially for gaming, tends to be in the 18-30 range, so it is important for charities to understand how many supporters they have in this segment.
In the absence of having a ready-made Twitch audience among your supporters (which most charities probably won’t have), to really harness Twitch and its community you are better off tying up with streamers/content creators who have an existing community.
Running an event with a streamer/creator
One of the best ways to use Twitch as a fundraising tool is to run an event with a streamer, such as a gamer. You may be fortunate enough to have a suitable creator among your supporters, but if not, you will need to find one willing to help. In a later blog, we will look at how you can find and approach a creator.
For the present purposes, let’s assume you have a creator on board who is willing to support your charity. They can do this by running a live stream in support of your charity during which they encourage viewers to donate using incentives and interactive tools or by selling merchandise. Creators can also work together as a team to raise money for you on the same or separate channels.
Creators will help causes they feel passionate about and have a connection with. Viewers will support a creator’s fundraising efforts because they like them and want to see them succeed in their goals or because the creator and/or charity are offering incentives to donate in the form of goods or action on a stream.
By working with a creator with an existing and loyal audience, your charity also has the opportunity to reach a whole new audience it may not otherwise have reached.
As you can see, there are quite a few facets involved in raising money through Twitch. In later blogs, we will look in more detail at how you choose the best Twitch fundraising platform for your charity, how you can find and approach creators, and how you can host your own events on Twitch.
Modus offers specialist advice to charities seeking to use Twitch for fundraising. If you would like more information about this, please contact Tim Shaw on 020 3475 0094 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.