Creating a livestream fundraising strategy for your nonprofit

Kasey Cuppoletti

Kasey Cuppoletti

Product Manager

What is livestream fundraising?

Streaming is a live video broadcast where the person or people streaming can interact with the audience in real time. This immediate interaction between the streamer and their audience creates an intimate and highly active level of engagement. When streaming content is linked to a fundraising for a charity it can be even more powerful. Livestream fundraising can lead to more donations and even more exposure. In DonorDrive, participants who connect Live Fundraising raise 243% more on average than those who don’t connect.

Streaming has redefined how people consume content and interact, and it's making a huge impact on charity fundraising. 78% of users on Twitch - the world's largest streaming platform - want to see more charity in streaming. Incorporating livestream fundraising into your programs will deepen supporter engagement, diversify revenue, and improve overall fundraising.

Building your livestream fundraising strategy

When developing your livestream fundraising strategy, help your team by using the following tactics to launch a successful program:

1. Enable fundraisers to stream for your cause

It's likely that you already have people streaming about your cause, or who are very willing to, and you don't even know it. Put your supporters first in your strategy.

Start by determining what storytelling tools you can offer supporters

When streamers "go live" they become spokespeople for your cause. Arm them with talking points and information about your cause. Provide compelling mission-impact stories so they keep their audience focused on your cause while streaming. Supporters will be more successful when they have engaging content they can share. Short, 30-second videos of impact stories or a bulleted list that shows the impact of a donated dollar are great places to start.

Promote streaming in your communications to existing supporters. If you want to start small, begin with a group of trusted fundraisers who are willing to try new things to help your cause. You can also incorporate the idea that people can stream their fundraising efforts into best practices you provide.

Stay connected to streamers

Be sure to track who's streaming for you and check in with them often. Mike Kinney, Managing Director of Digital Fundraising for CMN Hospital's Extra Life program, notes their staff tracks upcoming fundraising broadcasts and contacts the streamer to ask how the organization can help. Effective streaming takes volunteered time and effort, so treat these people like you would a top fundraiser.

Build and maintain your community

Streaming can play a big role in engaging and growing your community. Do some digging and find out where supporters already hang out and chat with each other. Just like other channels, you need to have authentic conversations with supporters where they are.

Many DonorDrive clients that use Live Fundraising live chat with supporters on Discord, a chat app for gamers. A staff person regularly posts mission stories, recognizes people's fundraising or volunteer efforts, and just engages with the community. Hosting live Q&A sessions, posting fundraising tips from your top fundraisers, and making genuine personal connections will all bring supporters closer to your mission. 

2. Integrate streaming with DIY fundraising

DIY campaigns can accommodate almost any fundraising idea that supporters can dream up. Encourage all your DIY fundraisers to stream. Personal challenges, like riding a bike across the state for the cause are a natural fit, but soon you’ll find supporters turning their everyday activities, like cooking and crafting, into fundraising opportunities. Even memorial campaigns can benefit from streaming for sharing memories and promoting the cause.

With DonorDrive’s Live Fundraising, fundraisers can easily embed their stream on their fundraising page and use it as their fundraising hub to get alerts, track donations and achievements, thank their donors, and chat with their audience in real-time via their stream chat.

3. Decide when are you streaming as an organization

Create a regular schedule

There are many ways to incorporate streaming into your marketing calendar. If you're just getting started, start by streaming on a regular basis on the obvious channels, like Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, and Snapchat. Being new to streaming can be a bit intimidating, but these channels are great for shorter segments that don't require high production or long attention spans. For longer streams, we recommend Twitch or YouTube. You'll need to promote your organization's channel and streaming schedule so people know when to watch. 

Don't know what to stream? Mission-impact stories should be at the top of your list. People want to see where the money is going and how it's helping. You can also host regular giving days or special campaigns to raise a specific amount. 

4. Incorporate streaming into your events

Stream leading up to event days which will help generate more awareness and excitement. You can stream regular campaign updates to talk about how close you’re getting to your goal, feature your top fundraisers, and give fundraising tips. Streaming on event day can also create a rallying point for supporters at home, but be thoughtful about the viewer experience. You want viewers at home to feel like they're part of the event, not just a spectator. It's also important to mix it up – you don't need a single person to host the stream the entire time – use staff, volunteers, top fundraisers, people impacted by your mission, and corporate sponsors.

Make it easy for participants to stream themselves at your events. You can provide designated areas (like selfie stations and streaming lounges) at the start, finish, or key spots along the way. Fundraisers and their friends can use these streams to share their personal progress, show what they're doing at your event, and get last minute donations.

5. Involve corporate partners in streaming

Build a more engaging partnership

Work with your sponsors to co-host a stream or series of streams. This is just another way companies can get more involved in your cause, help tell your mission stories, engage their employees, their families and friends, and get value out of your partnership.

Help them increase employee engagement

Sponsors are often looking for ways to involve their employees in causes they support and streaming can be a great catalyst for that. Companies can host streams on fundraising days and during team-building events in their offices. If the company has a team in your walk, run, or ride, they can stream their training leading up to event day and their activities on event day. 

Stream fundraising competitions

Creating competition between a company's offices or departments, or even between different companies can be a fun way to generate excitement and fundraising activity. These are perfect opportunities for sponsors to stream their fundraising efforts and raise some extra cash.

Streaming can take your fundraising to the next level. If you make streaming a natural part of your culture, your nonprofit will be ahead of the curve on using it to grow your mission.

Watch Kasey's Video presentation: Grow Your Fundraising Revenue with Live Fundraising

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