Ryan "HAVOK" Headrick
Community Engagement Manager
Celestinakitty is a content creator from Texas who streams weekly and loves to play mostly Final Fantasy XIV, Indie Games and making sure every kitty she encounters receives some love. Charity streaming is a central part to why she streams. She showcases a different charity each month and also participated in Extra Life in 2020.
What is the origin of your username?
When I decided to start streaming, I wanted to make a new identity that was my own. Previously I had used different names but this one I wanted to use both in Final Fantasy XIV (which I knew I wanted to stream) and have as kind of an alter ego or identity. I sat with my friend Sonomaa and we kept firing ideas and names back and forth. I wanted something to do with space, or stars, because I love those things, and she eventually found Celestina, and it fit. I added the "kitty" part because not only do I play cat games, and cat characters when possible, my nickname for over 20 years has been Kat. You can tell how old some of my friends are because that's the nickname they'll use for me.
How long have you been streaming on Twitch?
I started thinking heavily about it in early 2019. I started watching other Twitch streamers and figuring out what I liked, what I didn't like, and formulating my business plan then. I went live the week before my son had to have surgery, so I got affiliate in mid June 2019 and then basically disappeared for about a week and a half. I realize now that maybe wasn't *the best* thing to do, but after being unemployed for months, it worked out well for me. As it turns out, looking back, having resets in June is actually rather great. School's ended; I have summer before me, and it seems like a natural reboot and re-assess point.
How did you get started in charity streaming and what is your favorite part about streaming for charity?
In researching what I did and did not like about twitch and streaming, I found three amazing streamers: CrevLM (https://twitter.com/CrevLMTV)
My favorite part is being able to share my passion for helping change the world. By being able to showcase a different charity each month - sometimes multiple ones - from everywhere - locally, regionally, nationally, internationally - it makes the big world a little smaller. It helps open up eyes and thoughts that maybe we can each make the world a better place. A big bonus is being able to help other people who have been directly involved with the charities tell their stories - so many voices are more impactful than mine, and their shared experience deserves a place to talk about it.
In 2020, you raised money for Extra Life. Tell us about that event and one of your favorite moments.
Extra Life this year was a lot of fun. This year I chose one game to start playing from the beginning and I've fallen in love with Stardew Valley since. I think it's going to be a tradition now that when I start Extra Life, I start a new game I'm looking forward to. It had a great reception as well as brought in some new faces. Ultimately, the end of the campaign has a period to celebrate what we've raised and then re-evaluate - what was good, what didn't work so well, and what can be done next year to innovate and raise the stakes?
One of the best parts of Extra Life every year is being able to band together with like-minded streamers and do a combined team effort. Being a part of larger stream groups gives a sense of camaraderie, allows you to make new streamer associations, and broaden both your follow list as well as your overall life. Then - come back and do it next year. It's kind of scary the first time you go live, but then you just want to keep going.
Do you have any tips or advice for other charity streamers?
Start planning months in advance. Figure out what area you want to fundraise for - is it something you have a personal connection with or something you've always wanted to talk about? If it's something you know already, awesome!
If you have a discord server, have a private channel that you can use to put down *all* your notes, research, ideas. It doesn't have to be organized, but having it all in the same place with easy access is a key.
Regardless if it's something you're an "expert" or a "beginner" is, do your research. YOU are your best resource. Use all your resources to make your streams as strong as they can be.
A few tips:
1. Utilize all your tools available.
Run, don't walk to https://www.charitynavigator.
2. See if they have any current fundraisers directly through their website.
Sometimes groups may have "matching funds" which means a donor has agreed to double/triple all donations up to a certain amount, or if they raise a certain amount. Combining efforts to make your impact stronger is always an option. Sometimes communities have big, organized pushes - Austin, TX has Amplify Austin (https://www.amplifyatx.org/) every year that works on raising millions of dollars in a push to help all nonprofits in the metro area.
3. Contact the charity directly.
Oftentimes they will have an FAQ or contact page - follow them on socials. Make sure they're also promoting the same kinds of ideas that you are. See if they already stream on Twitch! There are a lot of nonprofits that stream on Twitch and you can do things like follow them, raid them, and hang out in their streams. A lot of charities have contact information and will help you get graphics or have certain rules that they would like to work with you on. Listen to them - you are representing them - and work with them, if possible, to maximize your streaming potential and their donations! In times where it is safe, they may have a way for you to do a live stream directly from the charity itself as well for greater exposure. Partnering with the charity for the fundraiser is the easiest step you can take and one that's not always thought of.
4. Keep in mind your audience.
For Extra Life, playing games that are more friendly for all is my rule of thumb. If I'm raising money for children's hospitals, keeping it family-friendly is important to me because of who the charity benefits and represents. If I'm doing animal-related charities, doing more animal-oriented games is a fun thing. Those small bits of attention you put it on the preparation will play out in spades on the stream itself.
5. EVERY donation counts.
Not everyone can drop $100. Some people can only afford $5. Each cent, each dollar is important because it's that much more money that the charity did not have before. Every donation matters, large or small.
Lastly: have fun.
If it's not fun for you, it will show for us as viewers. Throw yourself into it, and realize you're becoming part of a greater push to helping the world. And - thank you. Thank you for wanting to be the difference you wish to see in the world.