By Joanna Mechlinski.
We’re constantly surrounded by charities that implore us to help. Whether it’s disaster relief for survivors of the latest hurricane or earthquake, or ever-present needs such as animal rescue or homelessness, it can often feel like there are so many more worthy causes out there than available money in your pocket or volunteer time in your day.
That’s one reason charity streaming is becoming so popular. Quite simply, a charity stream is when an individual or team goes online with some form of entertainment, urging viewers to donate to a specific charity. While video games with commentary are popular, a charity stream can be literally anything that a person chooses to broadcast, from live music to dares (e.g. shaving one’s head if a certain amount is raised). Some streamers choose to attract viewers with contests or rewards.
“The biggest benefit to charity streaming is the ease of it,” said Katherine Waddell, who currently serves as promotions manager for 1UpOnCancer, a gaming-centered nonprofit that helps adults fighting cancer with their medical bills. Although the organization is based in Dallas, TX, any U.S. citizen aged 18 or over is eligible for assistance.
Waddell first got involved in the concept when Twitch Texas’ community meet-ups did a 30-hour streaming marathon for Hurricane Harvey relief through Tiltify. “Anyone can stream from a number of different platforms (gaming-related being Twitch, Facebook Gaming, YouTube Gaming and Mixer) and can go live at any time. Social media also makes sharing events with friends and followers simple.”
Chris Haslage, 1UpOnCancer’s vice president and program manager, agrees.
“Streaming benefits simply are 21st century awareness,” he said. Haslage relates charity streaming to the popularity of telethons in previous decades.
“People would watch these because something special was going to happen,” he said.
According to PR Newswire in 2017, the live video streaming market is estimated to grow from $30.29 billion in 2016 to over $70 billion by 2021. Facebook estimates that live content on their site receives approximately 10 times more comments than previously recorded videos (Business Insider)
With so many obvious advantages, are there any negative aspects?
“It’s best to spread out charity streams,” said Waddell, who compared it to kids trying to sell their school’s fundraising items when other kids are doing the same.
Interested in charity streaming but not sure how to start? Some great resources include: