Livestream gaming platform Twitch represents a huge untapped opportunity for charities to fundraise to new, engaged audiences of younger people.
With over 15 million daily active users, livestreaming platform Twitch represents a huge opportunity for charity fundraising. The platform allows people to watch live video gaming and chat with other fans. The game channel is broadcast live over the internet, with Twitch viewers tuning in to watch and interact with the host and each other on a live chat channel at the side of the screen.
Some 450 million hours has been spent watching, and some of the livestreaming channels available on Twitch have over a million viewers watching at any one time. And it’s also not just about gaming – Twitch may have begun as a video game streaming platform, but it’s also now host to live podcasts, DJ sets, workouts, live art and crafts and much more. Charities can even set up their own live events. Twitch is a chance to connect with a much younger audience who have a lot of time and friends online.
For that reason, it’s starting to look like a game changer for online fundraising, with more than $30 million so far raised for charities on the platform. Charities have started to explore the reactive, fast-paced world of livestream fundraising. Making use of popular games, gaming champions can help increase awareness for charities and drive their audiences to donate, much like with charity events in the physical world. The gaming fundraiser can have a host playing a game as fans watch, or charities can get involved in livestreaming their own gaming tournament much like a tele-thon.
Médecins Sans Frontières, is a popular partner for charity livestream fundraising. Jeremy Wells, fundraising events manager, recently told The Guardian: “The impact is big and getting bigger. Summer Games Done Quick is our biggest fundraiser of the year – it brought in $2.1m last year out of $4.7m for our whole events program.” Coming up on September 27th, the Summer Games Done Quick is a week-long, livestream fundraising event for charity.
The event features gamers completing impressive video game marathons that people can log in and view online, and donate to charity. In addition to hosting events, charities can also engage with celebrity streamers. Akin to Instagram followers, Twitch channels and users also have followers, so inviting a high-profile Twitch streamer with lots of followers can spread the word quickly and motivate fans to donate.
With an average following of 50,000 viewers per week as the most followed stream on Twitch, Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins has played to support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, St. Jude’s Hospital in the US, and collaborated with other gamers DrLupo and Timthetatman. Using Twitch as his live streaming fundraising platform when playing popular game Fortnite, Ninja participated in ‘Charity Blitz’ week, helping push donations to St Jude’s Hospital to over $2.7 million last year. Twitch is such a powerful platform that funds can also be raised quickly - DrLupo, another famous charity fundraising streamer has pushed boundaries on the platform.
Not to be outplayed by the Americans, H.bomberguym, otherwise known as Harry Brewis, raised $340,000 for British charity Mermaids. Livestreaming his game on Twitch, H.bomberguy played Donkey Kong 4 for 57 hours, in support for gender variant, transgender children, and their families. Other UK charities including Cats Protection, WaterAid, and the Make-a-Wish foundation have organised streaming fundraising channels on Twitch.
Many fundraising-related tools are integrated with the Twitch fundraising platform, making it even easier for donors to give. One of three exclusive extensions of Twitch, DonorDrive has integrated payment options directly to live fundraising streaming. Using the DonorDrive platform, charities can use gaming fundraising to directly reach donors by customisng the donation form. And late last year fundraising tool Tiltify announced its new Extension, Tiltify for Twitch, which links up its donation platform with Twitch’s livestreaming donation channels. Embedded in Twitch, Tiltify also awards donors with on-screen commendations and enables chats with celebrity streamers.
"With this new Extension, we’re now able to embed the fundraising component directly into the Twitch stream, so you never have to leave the service. And, with the ability to use Amazon Pay, it’s even easier for donors to be part of something great," said Andrew Schroeder, Twitch’s charity manager. With all these new tools at charities’ disposal, Twitch should have a place front and centre in charities’ online fundraising strategies.