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Four reasons why your charity shouldn’t ignore streaming

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22 February 2023

by Nicholas McDonald

Communications Officer.

Article

Article

Livestreaming isn't just for gamers - it's a powerful tool that can help your charity connect with supporters in a cost-effective and informal environment. Explore four reasons why your team should give streaming a chance.

Livetreaming services such as Twitch and Discord have become widely used tools in the modern digital world. As of January 2023, Twitch has over 140 million users and continues to grow, with “around 103,000 live streams happening” on the site at any given time.  

This fairly new form of social media has cultivated household names such as Ninja and Dream, is used by celebrities and politicians such as Snoop Dogg and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and is dominated by youth audiences – with 72% of Twitch users being aged 16-34. Streaming skyrocketed to new levels in the pandemic, letting people enjoy interactive shows from home, and has proven its staying power since. 

So, there’s no wonder why organisations are flocking to get involved – and your charity should too! Here are some more reasons why streaming should be a priority for your team:

1. There’s huge fundraising potential

The most obvious reason your charity should be streaming is its vast potential for fundraising. A survey from Twitch found that 78% of users want to see more charity and fundraising on the platform – the demand and willingness to donate is obviously there! 

As we will explore later, livestreaming can be a more relaxed environment than other fundraising events – your audiences will get to know you and your message better, and therefore are more likely to donate. Doing this regularly will build a community too, complete with regular donations and supporters. 

Furthermore, livestreaming is cheaper, more flexible, and less time-consuming than typical fundraising. All it really takes is a camera and your team – no expensive location booking fees, travel costs and so on! It’s much quicker to organise and won’t take hours out of your day to set up and clean up after (unless you’re doing some sort of messy challenge – something we’d tune in for!). 

2. It isn’t just about gaming

Gaming engages people of all ages, is highly profitable and fun to watch, so there’s a good reason why livestreaming has skyrocketed on the back of this industry (you can check out charity examples from Crisis, Blue Cross and Mind) But if you think streaming is just about gaming, you’d be wrong. Below are just a handful of things we’ve seen streamed: 

  • Cooking and baking 
  • Arts-and-crafts, knitting and painting 
  • Concerts, festivals and musical performances 
  • Quizzes
  • Panels, speeches and presentations – or simply ‘just chatting’  
  • Nature, sunset and animals
  • Challenges and sports 

If you’re looking to drive conversation around a topic important to your cause, then simply having an open discussion or roundtable livestreamed is a suitable and engaging way to use this tool, such as breast cancer charity CoppaFeel!’s ‘Night In with Perrie Edwards’ (as part of their lockdown Sofa Series stream). If you work with animals, why not livestream their activities for a few hours (check out Edinburgh Zoo’s panda, penguins, koala, lion and giraffe livestreams – so cute!)? Or for those working with sport groups, broadcast one of your matches online! 

Have a quick browse of current livestreams on Twitch and YouTube to see what other non-gaming options are out there and be inspired. The possibilities are endless when it comes to what to livestream, you can really convey your message and connect with audiences in unique ways – let your imagination run wild!

3. You can build community and conversation

As previously mentioned, ‘just chatting’ is a viable, and extremely popular, type of livestreaming. This is because of the laidback nature of this format – unlike in-person networking, shyer audiences may feel more confident to speak up, particularly on heavy topics. Your charity can ‘let loose’ a little here, be more relaxed and transparent in the less formal environment. This allows for more fruitful, honest and open conversations and bonding (and donations are more likely in these situations!) if you allow yourself to be braver and explore topics you may not usually – and this doesn’t just apply to chat livestreams. 

Communities can be built in this interactive, real-time format, where audiences can get to know each other and your charity better whilst discussing a video game, learning a new skill or exploring an important topic. It’s an also opportunity for your team to learn from your audiences, as you have discussions and a closeness you may not find elsewhere. Topics that may be ‘heavier’ in other settings may be destigmatised and more freely explored in an informal stream. Think of livestreaming as a sort of focus group, where you can understand the wants and needs of your supporters. 

4. You can reach new audiences and increase engagement 

As we explored above, livestreaming is a tool that is dominated by young people – and you may want to take advantage of this. You can also introduce your vital work to new audiences (not just young people) who may not typically come across your work, whilst allowing your existing followers to engage with you in a different way or in a more formal, fun or brave setting. The communities you build are more likely to donate, follow and become long-time supporters of your work – and this can extend outside of your streaming platforms. Putting in some time and effort into creating a livestreaming supporter base can result in increased engagement across all platforms and new supporters, both on and offline.

Livestreaming is a powerful tool that can help your charity connect with supporters, both old a new, in a cost effective and informal environment. Whether you’re just getting started or you’re a seasoned charity professional, it’s time to embrace livestreaming and start using it to your advantage!

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