WANTED: VP of Video Game Fundraising
Chances are your organization doesn’t have a fundraiser in charge of video game fundraising.
Does this mean you may already be missing out on some pretty big bucks and an even bigger future?
I ask the question only because of the remarkably meteoric rise of online recreational gaming and its fundraising potential.
Each month 100 million folks watch their favorite personalities play video games on Twitch—an Amazon-owned online network that claim to reach half of the millennial males in the U.S.
With viewership numbers that rival those of CNN or MSNBC, Twitch is more like a huge television network than a website. It runs thousands of channels at once, broadcasting live at every hour of the day. The average Twitch member spends nearly two hours a day on the network playing –and often just watching others play—games like World of Warcraft. (As I write this there are 1.4 million followers of that game alone. At 3 pm on the afternoon of 1/11/18 there are 22, 099 folks either watching or playing the game.)
I hate shiny new objects or the next new thing when it comes to fundraising. Too often these ‘unicorns’ divert time and resources from basics.
However, some new things at least deserved to be monitored and perhaps even experimented with. I believe Twitch is one.
- Within the Twitch network of thousands of channels/communities each with its own following. These followers not only participate in games, but they work to advance the interests and aims of their community –interests and aims like giving money to charities.
- Last year St Jude Children’s Research Hospital raised more than $6 million on the site…. nearly $15 million was given by the gaming communities for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico …and millions more went to benefit other charities in the U.S. and around the world. (You can get a sense of Twitch and fundraising through their Twitter account: @TwitchCharity
- From a communications/media standpoint Twitch offers a novel opportunity to access a generation that resists traditional advertising media but is glued to messaging in this gaming environment. US marketers will spend $1 billion plus advertising to gamers on Twitch this year.
Six years ago in a post titled Wanted: A Roll of Human Duct Tape I bemoaned the functional silo that plagues most nonprofits and urged organizations put someone in overall charge of determining what communications go to donors – and when.
As the understanding of what makes for better donor-centered fundraising grew, some progress has been made in breaking up the silos. Groups like the Humane Society of the United States, Operation Smile, Child Fund International, American Cancer Society and St. Jude and others have created entire departments with trained professionals focused on donor care and experience.
By no means am I suggesting that every nonprofit needs to rush right out–or should even consider –putting someone in charge of gaming and the gamer community. I am suggesting that this growing phenomenon bears watching and some study.
For now, we’ll keep an eye on all this, and sure would welcome any reports on experience or insights from Agitator readers.
Now back to my buddies over at Grand Theft Auto.
P.S. For a fascinating look into how communities are being built and growing within Twitch I recommend The New Yorker’s How To Get Rich Playing Video Games Online.
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