We look at how gamers can help raise funds for charities, offering top tips on the software they can use and how to keep their audience engaged
Gaming is dominated by members of Generation Z, ranging from those who simply enjoy playing video games to influencers with thousands, even millions, of followers.
This demographic is tech savvy and socially conscious. And, thankfully, they are eager to use their passion for gaming to help raise money for good causes.
There are plenty of ways gamers can link up with charities to raise funds and generate publicity for the voluntary sector.
Here we focus on gamers and offer a step-by-step guide to how you can combine gaming and an interest in creating social change by helping charities raise much needed funds. This will focus on how livestreaming can generate charity funds and encourage donations
Firstly, gamers will need to set up their own stream if they haven’t already. These can then be linked with online giving platforms to gather donations.
Gamers will already have their key gaming platform of choice, such as those made by Nintendo, Xbox and PlayStation. Many will play multiple platforms, often due to exclusive game launches on each.
This streaming process can be achieved by using software such as OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) and Streamlabs. These are free to download and can capture the gameplay on screen and then stream it direct to social media.
On OBS, scenes can be created made up of multiple sources, which allows gamers to broadcast their image, the gameplay itself, as well as include text or images about a charity. They can also move between scenes, with one perhaps dedicated to their favourite charity.
Streamlabs is also open source, on GitHub, and offers the chance for gamers to personalise their streams with text and images.
Be aware that streaming needs a fast internet connection. A good upload speed is required. For example, with OBS an upload speed of 10mps can suffice but more is preferable, especially if guests are invited onto the stream to play along.
Twitch is the most popular by some margin, with more than nine million unique creators each month. Meanwhile, YouTube has a 22% market share of gaming content.
Facebook Gaming is the emerging force. This platform saw its audience double between 2020 and 2021.
A good USB microphone can go a long way to keeping an audience engaged and maximise the chance of them donating. Blue microphones cost between £50 and £200.
For a little more than £200, the Shure MV7 could be a shrewd investment, with a noticeably better quality sound.
Some gamers may want to use the gameplay for visuals with sound. Others may want to show their face. If the gamer wants to do this a camera of at least 1080p is advised.
Gamers looking to build an audience and maximise donations need to ensure they are appealing and can build an audience. Here are some key tips on building an audience:
Look to see what games are most popular or new. These are likely to attract far more attention. Keeping tabs on recent gaming news and releases is key.
Another good idea is to ask game developers for a pre-release copy of a game. A sneak preview of gameplay is likely to appeal to the gaming community. The Twitch homepage also shows a list of the most popular games.
The key to successful content creation, whether it be articles, videos, and livestreams, is consistency. Gamers should keep to a regular schedule that is achievable based on their own personal and work commitments.
This could be daily, once a week and should be at the same time each week. Gamers can be put off by streamers that only stream in bursts and are unpredictable.
Gamers who livestream are entertainers. Their gameplay will attract viewers, but so will their personality. Gamers shouldn’t be silent during the game. Keep the conversation going, especially by interacting with those commenting during the stream. This also gives gamers the chance to chat about how their audience can give to good causes.
Also remember to thank new subscribers. This interaction should also flow into social media chat, through Twitter for example, to solicit further donations.
Partnerships between gamers and gaming companies can prove lucrative in terms of gaining donations. This gives good causes an even bigger audience and can also offer incentives to donors, such as entry into a prize draw to win games.
Enabling donations and collecting payments is the vital part. The simplest way is to let online fundraising platforms take the strain.
For example, Just Giving offers a step-by-step guide to streaming, including choosing a charity, linking a Just Giving page to a stream, and how to promote on social media. Its guide to livestreaming is particular useful. This looks at how to link streams, copy and pasting stream I.D., as well as trouble-shooting potential errors.