Gaming for good: How charity livestreams can transform community giving

Discover the untapped potential of charity livestreams for community giving and learn how to harness the power of gaming communities to support your cause.
Tags: Charity Fundraising

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According to Tech Jury, there are 3.09 billion active video gamers worldwide. That means there are 3.09 billion people who are committed to playing games and are probably part of some community. As a charity, you can use this to your advantage and and approach these communities for support in fundraising.

If you’re thinking ‘Surely this can’t work, who would watch people play video games?’, here are just some examples that I have personally been involved with – as a watcher, donator or even a host of.

Lilsimsie and St Jude Children’s Research Hospital

In the gaming community, Lilsimsie – a Sims 4 content creator – is known for her amazing work for charities. Specifically, the fundraising she does for St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

In 2023, St Jude’s held an event called ‘St Jude’s PLAY LIVE 2023‘, where they encouraged fundraisers to create their campaign for the cause, and Lilsimsie was the top fundraiser, with $516,123 raised over the event. She even got a $25,000 donation from Twitch – the live-streaming platform where she was fundraising. In 2022, she raised another $392,455 for the St Jude’s PLAY LIVE 2023

She has also helped other causes, such as raising $247,437 for AbleGamers Charity’s event ‘Spawn2gether’.

Lilsimsie stood next to a board saying she has raised$898,415.60 for St Jude children's research hospital

Jingle Jam

The above examples are a great showcase of American charities and streamers, but what about the UK? The charity livestream scene is dominated by the Jingle Jam, which comes from the gaming YouTubers Yogscast and runs from the 1st of December to the 14th. In 2022 they raise £3.4 million and since 2011, they have raised an impressive £25 million!

You can apply as a charity to be a part of this here and they select 8-12 charities a year that the donations go towards. (note: 2023 submissions are now closed – the Expression of Interest tends to begin in February- on their website you can find their 12 charities they’ve selected – or see below!)

The fundraising for this event is done via donating to the specific Jingle Jam Tiltify account, or by people purchasing the Jingle Jam games collection, where a bunch of popular video games allow themselves to be part of the bundle where gamers can get an amazing discount the collection, whilst knowing the money all goes to charity. They also opened up in 2022 the availability for community Jingle Jam campaigns – so specific streamers or communities can raise money for the campaign in their campaign, but the money raised is connected to the overarching campaign for the Jingle Jam.

(On a personal note, since 2011 I have donated and watched every year and for me it embodies the christmas spirit, having fun, playing games and raising money for great causes!)

Edge Hill VGS and Children in Need / Special Effects

This is the event that I helped host. I was the secretary of the video game society at university, so I helped organise a lot of the events. We held 3 charity livestreams during my time there.

The biggest was the Children in Need event, where we raised £579. This isn’t as big as the other live streams in this list, but it’s something! Considering we were just a group of friends who wanted to play games together, we were very happy with how much we raised and smashed our target of £200.

It’s a great way to get communities to come together, and you can add more traditional fundraising into the mix. At our live stream, we also had a bake sale full of food to help fuel us throughout the live stream and the cash would go towards the final amount. We also held a tournament that was £2 to enter and the winner got some goodies and bragging rights until the next one.

So how does my charity get involved in a charity livestream?

As mentioned, certain events above do have an application process in which you can get involved so keep your eyes peeled for any going about.

If your local area has a university, maybe reach out to their volunteering society (sometimes called a RAG society – it stands for Raising and Giving) or video game society and see if they want to hold a fundraiser for you. You could also get in touch with your local community, and see if there are any upcoming streamers or a group of gamers that can help support this idea.

There’s a lot of planning that goes into setting up a charity livestream, so keep an eye out in the journal for how to go about making your charity as accessible as it can be if this is something you wish to offer. ( For now, take some inspiration from Mind who has NAILED the charity livestream game! )

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