A guide to Twitch fundraising

Howard Lake | 23 December 2020 | Blogs

Users of video game live-streaming platform Twitch have collectively raised over $83 million for charity so far this year, according to Forbes
The live streaming market was on the rise at the beginning of the year and the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated this growth. As many large-scale community events are no longer feasible, charities are turning to Twitch as an alternative revenue stream. Similarly, with people largely confined to their homes during global lockdowns, increasing numbers of streamers have been using the platform to fundraise for causes they care about. 

What is Twitch? 

Twitch is a video live streaming service. While the site’s focus is on video gaming, the streams on offer extend far beyond this. Users can share live videos of them doing just about anything. Popular activities include arts and crafts, yoga and dancing. 

How are charities using Twitch? 

Fundraising platform Tiltify works closely with Twitch to embed fundraising tools directly into user streams so viewers can donate to a charity of the streamer’s choice. We spoke to Tom Downie, UK Charity Manager at Tiltify, about how charities are using the streaming platform to raise money: 

“With events like the London marathon not happening this year, charities are looking to see what else is out there. We’ve seen success stories like Marie Curie who just set up a Twitch account and raised around £50,000 hosting celebrity quizzes with people like David Tennant.” 

How can my charity use Twitch? 

With household charities like the British Red Cross leading the way in Twitch fundraising, smaller charities can be reluctant to delve into the platform. But, as Tom explains, charities of all sizes can be hugely successful on the platform. 

“The Diana Award is a relatively small anti-bullying charity and they’re doing so well in this space. They decided to start fundraising on Twitch because the people that they’re trying to help are young people – so why should they fundraise in old fashioned ways? They’ve got several campaigns going out on Twitch including dance-a-thons. They get great interaction and they’re doing a fabulous job.” 

Tom shared his advice on what charities should – and shouldn’t do – when fundraising on Twitch:

When a charity doesn’t do well often it’s because they’re trying to pigeonhole their audience too much. If you only target gamers and put a playstation on your front page, you’ve alienated a big group of people. Much like if you’re trying to get people to take part in a 5K run, you wouldn’t just target professional runners. You would target anyone who might be remotely interested in going to a park on a Saturday afternoon. 

Make it clear what you’re fundraising for. The British Red Cross are currently running an anti-loneliness campaign so their message is: fundraise for us, play some games (not specific ones) and help limit loneliness. Playing games with people is a great way to stop being lonely so it’s a really tidy offering. 

This is community fundraising and it is ultimately community engagement. Think about traditional fundraising practices to engage the whole community, and do the exact same thing virtually. Find the people who are the glitterati of communities to help encourage other people fundraise for you and there’s no reason why you can’t be successful. 
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