As Twitch continues to emerge as a primary platform for brands to reach gamers and for charities to raise funds, we wanted to tap into the power of Twitch to raise awareness about mental health issues and raise money to expand our suicide prevention campaign efforts. The Ad Council produced our first Twitch charity stream for our Seize the Awkward campaign September 18-20th across nine different channels reaching thousands of gamers encouraging them to talk to peers who may be struggling with mental health issues. The broadcasters also raised over $19K for the expansion of our campaign efforts.
True confession – before leading this effort, which is part of our larger Game for Good strategy, I had never really watched a livestream on Twitch. I read about them and conceptually “got it,” but until our event, I didn’t really get it. Here’s what I learned:
Broadcasters are Multi-Tasking Geniuses
Twitch broadcasters are literally playing a video game, responding to fans in their chat by name, recognizing donations as they came in and speaking to the collective audience about our issue. They are the best multi-taskers I’ve ever seen. Each broadcaster was also able to integrate our talking points in ways that felt very authentic and on brand. I think this was because the broadcasters who raised their hands to participate had a connection to the issue, and it showed.
Fundraising on Twitch is Like a Game
While our primary goal was raising awareness around mental health issues and driving people to resources, we included a fundraising element as well. Each broadcaster set goals for their streams and watching the status bar inch toward the goal felt like a game. Combined with creative incentives like getting to watch one broadcaster eat questionable “BeanBoozled” flavored jelly beans, another wearing a comical face mask and game code giveaways, raising money on Twitch can be as entertaining as watching broadcasters play your favorite game.
Give Broadcasters What They Need to Promote Your Cause
We didn’t have t-shirts for our Seize the Awkward campaign – printing them for this event was one of the best decisions we made. We also created an online toolkit with customizable social graphics, videos they could play during breaks, talking points and even copy to put in their chat bots (see the glossary below). Every broadcaster wore our shirts and many of them used the assets and copy in our toolkit.
Finally, I also learned some new terms and about companies/platforms that are part of the Twitch ecosystem. Here’s a short glossary:
Tiltify – A crowdfunding site designed to turn livestreams into charity fundraisers. It works with multiple platforms (not just Twitch). We found it easy to get Twitch broadcasters to sign up for our event on Tiltify. They collect the funds, display leader boards and more.
Discord – A voice and text chat platform for gamers. Twitch charities uses this service to connect with non-profits. Think of it as a Slack for gamers.
Raids – From Twitch’s FAQ: “Raids help streamers send their viewers to another live channel at the end of their stream to introduce their audience to a new channel and have a little fun along the way.” We did this with two of our broadcasters during our event!
Overlays – These are custom graphics for Twitch channels that sit on top of the video stream. They can be interactive and be used as alerts that can display fun graphics or make sounds when people donate. There are standard overlays broadcasters can use for your charity stream if you use Tiltify, but many broadcasters have their own overlays they can modify for your stream as well.
Twitch chatbots – Broadcasters on Twitch typically use chat bots (there are a couple of companies that make them specifically for Twitch) with pre-populated messages to communicate with fans during their stream. Give broadcasters language to use in their bot to let fans know they are streaming for your charity and provide a URL to learn more.