July 25, 2022

How to stream for charity

Firstly, congratulations on wanting to stream for the benefit of charities! We’ve all been through an adjusting few years with COVID, lock downs and travel bans. Your urge to help is commendable to say the least. Thousands of people worldwide stream for charities on Twitch, YouTube, Facebook and recently TikTok! How can you get started and make the most of it?

What’s the difference between Normal Streaming and Charity Streaming?

When you stream regularly you stream either for fun (with no monetary focus) or for the purpose of substituting an income source. These are both totally fine and legitimate reasons of the same level. The difference between that and streaming for charity is that your attention and energy goes towards making the world a better place. This can be via many avenues, depending on the charity chosen (animal welfare, helping sick kids, etc.).

Stream to share moments with the person tuning in. On the other end of your viewer count, be it 10 or 500, they are all people and can be connected with. When you stream for charity and the viewer resonates with the need to help that area of the world, you create a connection and share moments with them. 

Anyone can do it!

Whether you raise $1,000,000 like Pestily or not, just do it to have a good time! The biggest thing you should focus on is the fact that you are flowing positive energy in the right direction. If you bring awareness about the good a charity is doing to ONE person… That's an increase of awareness and it is TOTALLY worth all the effort put in. As you grow as a content creator you will notice your charity campaign goals get bigger so do not stress over figures for now!

"I stream for charity, in short, because I can. I believe in giving back, and with a full time job that I love streaming is a hobby that brings me a great deal of joy and provides the avenue to bring a community together for a good cause (or sometimes good causes!). Every $ that is raised is a dollar that a charity may not have otherwise received, and that is a contribution that cannot be overlooked. Don't let the mega bucks that streamers like Pestily raise put you off, let it inspire you. Chances are, nobody from your community has donated to a mega streamer's charity campaign, but they have a relationship with you and will help out the charity through their relationship and connection with you" - SparhawkGames

Before you get started

  1. Choose where to stream! Decide on a platform like Twitch, YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, etc.
  2. Be clear on the reason you’ve chosen this specific charity as the cause to support. You should be able to go into a small amount of detail regarding the services they offer or the good they are doing in the world. This is super important to ensure that your passion and reason for choosing them is communicated clearly to the viewers that stop by your stream.
  3. Ensure that you don’t pressure people into donating, give them the prompts and the information and let them make that decision. In my personal opinion, so no pressure if you don’t want to do this but, I actually mention something along the lines of “please don’t donate unless you can afford to, it’s a great cause but make sure you aren’t going to be skipping meals or paying rent late for this campaign”

Accepting Donations from viewers

There are a few ways to collect donations for your upcoming charity campaign and I think the first option is best practice, most trusted and easiest!

  1. Sign up and create a campaign via a donation platform like Tiltify, Softgiving, etc. The best way to find which one to use is to look at where the charity is already listed or have used in their recent campaigns. Donations made from viewers with these platforms go to the charity via the platform (Most platforms have fees so the charity gets the Donation minus the Fee, i.e $10 might be donated but the charity could receive $9.50)
  2. You can send your viewers directly to the charity’s website to donate. This means the charity gets the money directly and instantly. While this is the best option for the charity it means you cannot track the progress of your campaign, so you have to weigh those pros and cons up.
  3. From your pocket! You can accept donations from your stream (donations, subscriptions, bits, etc.) and then at the end of each stream, week or campaign, donate to the charity yourself. This is totally fine but can deter some people from donating as they cannot see the flow of money and may add doubts in the back of their mind that the charity doesn’t get the money.

"Using streaming as a platform to help others is really important, It's something that keeps me streaming and something that makes me feel like I am having an impact onto other people. Also seeing/talking to people in the past who may go through experiences that I am helping contribute towards is such an amazing feeling that I would not trade for anything." - Doeker

Stream setup essentials

There are many things that I would personally deem essential for streaming a charity campaign, but at the end of the day as long as you go Live and stream for the charity - you’re doing great!

Alerts & Progress Bar: Having donation alerts that are different to your normal stream alerts make the whole thing an event and something to entice other viewers to also donate. Progress bars do the same, it encourages the community to get involved and really brings people together making them part of the team.

Overlays: Change your setup from what people are used to seeing, this can be a simple colour change or a whole revamp for the campaign time period. This makes it obvious to viewers that something is happening, an event is currently happening. Think about when you drive down the road and a building has been painted a different colour, it makes you look and see what's happening.

Have guests/collaborate: Depending on the type of streamer you are, the games you play or the IRL activities you do, you should try and get other streamers involved. The other streamer doesn’t have to be fundraising with you but it works best if they are. Cross community promotion works and is beneficial to everyone involved when done for charity and in a genuine way.

Stream Kits: Most charities that have done Live Streaming campaigns before will have Stream Kits for you to download. These usually have assets for your overlay, alerts, stories to help promote the charities services, etc.
A good example of these are from WWF Australia and Starlight Children’s Foundation Australia. Both of these charities do multiple Live Stream events each year and provide assets to use freely.

Small donations or Low percentage of your goal?

Don’t get discouraged by low donations or viewers, it's about awareness just as much as donations. You’re doing a good thing and pushing positivity out into the world, it isn’t always monetary :)

Promote, Promote, Promote

  1. Post on social media every time you go live. Steer away from tweeting “I’m live [link]” and make it personal! One thing I found really fun was to go live then make the tweet/post with your community. You have to show people seeing the social post WHY they need to click the link and come hang out in your Live Stream.
  2. Encourage your viewers to share the posts. You can just ask them nicely and post the links in chat to make it really easy for them. If you’re doing a giveaway, you can base it off sharing the Live social posts as an entry into the giveaway.
  3. Discord status and posts. If you don’t have a discord then create one! Discord has their own status section. I suggest putting your stream link in your profile to make it easy for people, then change your status to something along the lines of “LIVE on Twitch” with your link.

Rewards and Prizes for donations

Disclaimer: please be aware of any local/country laws regarding giveaways as some states or countries can be pretty strict.

You can run giveaways for free on platforms such as givelab.com which anyone can enter for free. Streamlabs and StreamElements also have a Ticket feature that you can utilise, these usually are setup so everyone can type ‘!enter’ in your chat for a free entry. If you need any help setting these things up, please just ask and I can show you how or point you to the right videos.

A great way to give back to the community is by giving them something you make, this can be art on a canvas, digital drawings, VIP roles in chat, Discord roles, etc. 

One great example that you can do that is free/cheap is to grab a shirt and write every donor name on it, then give it away to the highest donor or display it in the background of your stream.

If you have the time and confidence, you can reach out to local companies or family/friends and ask them to donate to the campaign or provide products to giveaway to entice more people to donate to the charity campaign. 

I am putting together a video going over this post and will show you some examples of streamers doing campaigns including some of mine.