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Donor Participation Project

The Rise of Gaming Philanthropy: Tapping into a $200 Billion Industry

The video game industry generates over $200 billion in revenue annually and engages billions of players worldwide. Now nonprofits are tapping into the passions and communities of gamers to raise funds and awareness for important causes.

April Stallings, who leads gaming and esports fundraising at Make-A-Wish International, says “gaming philanthropy” is an ideal channel for nonprofits to build community and mobilize donors. In 2020 alone, more than $83 million was donated through Twitch, a major game streaming platform. The good news is any nonprofit can participate, regardless of size or budget. “This space is highly scalable,” notes Stallings.

The first step is getting buy-in from leadership and developing a long-term plan. Stallings advises creating a dedicated multi-year strategy and assigning staff to build relationships with gamers, also known as “content creators.” Do research to find streamers and YouTubers aligned with your mission. When recruiting, be authentic and understand gaming culture.

Content creators are passionate, creative entrepreneurs who spend years building their online communities. “When someone is charity streaming for you, they’re literally giving up money that they could have taken in their pocket,” says Stallings. “They’re giving up the subs that could have happened…They are basically letting you take their income for the day.” Nonprofits should actively support streamers during charity campaigns by participating in livestreams, engaging with audiences in chat, and promoting events across social media.

Other keys to success include choosing fundraising software tailored to gaming like Tiltify, DonorDrive or Streamlabs Charity, and creating toolkits with graphics, videos, logos and more for streamers. Build a Discord community to stay connected with creators and their audiences. Attending gaming conferences is also valuable for networking and education.

While gaming philanthropy requires an investment of time and resources, it allows nonprofits to tap into a highly engaged community and raises funds through an activity people are passionate about. By understanding gaming culture and building authentic relationships, nonprofits can level up their fundraising in a whole new way. The opportunity to impact millions of donors and achieve significant ROI makes this strategy well worth exploring.

View the full recording of this session in our Resource Library.

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