By Aly Sweetman, Charity Program Manager, Twitch
By now you’ve probably heard about how Twitch streamers have raised millions of dollars for charity. If you haven’t, you should know that since 2011 Twitch Creators have amassed over $150 million for charities around the world. The number of Creators fundraising for charity increases all the time and creators who have fundraised in the past seek to keep a regular cadence on supporting causes they are passionate about.
At this point, you might have noticed that I'm using the term Creators and not gamers. This is because the connotation of the word gamer. When you hear “gamer” a lot of people will have a very dated idea of what that means, even though adult women outnumber any other group for “gamers”. Creators or online influencers are small business owners. And being a small business owner is many jobs in one (e.g. Brand Manager, Marketing, Production etc). Creators spend hours outside of their live stream perfecting their craft and analyzing data to make business decisions. It is important to know that playing a game on stream is just a content decision not their entire identity as a Creator. While gaming is the most prevalent thing streamed on Twitch it is not the only type of content. You can watch art, music and fitness outside of gaming.
Specifically, what is a Twitch Creator?
Anyone who creates content on Twitch is considered a Creator and plays a part in making the greater Twitch community complete. Creators have the chance to grow their own communities, connect with an audience, and even earn money sharing what they love with the world. You can learn more about what it means to be a Twitch Creator on Twitch.tv/CreatorCamp.
Why do Creators raise money on Twitch?
Creators are motivated by several factors when choosing a charity to fundraise while streaming.
- The charity addresses a cause they are passionate about.
- They want to take part in an established larger campaign.
- Examples: St. Jude Play Live, Extra Life Game Day, Pride Month, Women’s History Month
- They are incentivized to join a campaign.
- Creator raises x amount and is rewarded (e.g. thank you package, shirt, hoodie, gaming chair, game codes).
Viewers who donate are motivated by two main factors on Twitch.
- They love their Creator and want to see them succeed at their milestones and goals.
- They are incentivized to donate based on rewards offered by the Creator or the charity. The best incentives are ones that are engaging with the audience.
Your organization might be looking at the online streaming space as this foreign new world that would require large amounts of resources to get started. Your organization would be wrong.
The easiest lift your organization can do to get Creators to fundraise for you is be accessible on Tiltify or similar, a platform designed for live stream charity fundraising.
Let’s address the elephant in the room, “gaming might be bad for your organization’s brand”. Often I am asked about maintaining control over your organization’s brand and image on a live stream. Concerns stem from what incentives might be offered, how the Creator might talk about your organization, and what games they might play. The easiest way to overcome this hurdle is to compare it to a birthday campaign on Facebook or a run-walk event. You do not vet what individuals say or post on their Facebook pages. You do not scour their timeline to make sure that they have never posted anything out of line with your brand. You do not screen every run-walk participant to make sure they are safe brand ambassadors. Creators should be treated the same. Unless you are pushing this individual on your channels and directly endorsing them do not fret. Telling a Creator thank you for their fundraising efforts or inviting the masses to participate in your program is not a direct endorsement of the Creator or their content choices.
How to Get Started
You’re probably thinking, “Great! I’m interested, how do I get started?” First you’ll want to sign-up on Tiltfiy through their charity portal or similar platform. Once you’ve set up your account and have been activated you’ll want to start thinking about what resources you’d like to provide to Creators. Some resources include:
- One-page pdf with bite-sized information and impact statements.
- Short videos showcasing your organizations impact
- Statistic graphics
- Logo for use
Once you are accessible and have provided resources, you’ll want to start making connections with Creators. You’ll want to make connections with all sizes of Creators, not just the ones you’ve read about in the news. There are several ways you can do this:
Social Media: Announce where your followers can create live stream fundraising campaign for you. Ask on Twitter what Twitch Creators y’all should check out in the office.
Approaching Twitch Creators: It is recommended that you do not reach out to a Creator through their chat while they are live for the first time. This should be utilized after you have established an open relationship with the Creator.
Making Connections on Twitch: It is recommended that you create a Twitch channel for your organization and provide some basic information on how to contact you and get started fundraising. You can join communities around Twitch to participate as a viewer and just let your organization be seen as involved in the Twitch community. Creators want to work with charities who are invested in the live streaming space.
E-mail: Creators typically have their email publicly listed on their social media or Twitch channel. When reaching out to Creators keep in mind they likely receive an abundance of emails and may be slow to respond to you.
Attend gaming and fandom conventions: Attend conventions like PAX, Gamescom, TwitchCon, and RTX. There is likely a local convention within driving distance of a metropolitan area. When you attend the best way to get the contact information of a streamer you’re interacting with try asking for their business card first.
While you’re exploring this new and exciting digital fundraising space remember Creators are business owners and people just like you and me. Your goals should focus on making connections and making sure that Creators have everything they need from you to put on an entertaining and informed live stream. If you have any questions or just want to connect you may reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aly Sweetman, Charity Program Manager at Twitch, specializes in strategy and execution of influencer and live-stream charity fundraising targeting Millennials and Gen-Z. Many charities still rely on mailers or cold calls to engage their audience, but NGOs must evolve their strategy to target the new generation of digital consumers. Aly acts as the liaison to unite NGOs and live streaming content creators.