Playing video games online via streaming platforms like Twitch or Youtube has surged in popularity. Twitch alone has about 10-15 million active users daily. In the past few years, video game streaming has also taken a more generous and philanthropic direction – combining playfulness with altruism.
One of the forerunners of the streaming industry is Streamlabs. The company offers several different software tools, which help content creators with their designs and operational tasks. Streamlabs Charity is one of their newer online services, but already supports 775 charities. In 2020, the platform raised $4.6 million for different charity organizations.
I asked Eric Freytag, Communications Manager of Streamlabs Charity, a few questions about their fundraising platform and what creators should know before they decide to enter the world of charity streaming.
ReadingSavesLives: Since when do you work for Streamlabs Charity and what brought you to the platform?
Eric Freytag: I’ve worked at Streamlabs since 2017 back when it was a pretty small startup, so I’ve gotten to help build a bunch of really fun projects like our theme library, mobile app, slobs remote control app, Safe Mode, and of course Streamlabs Charity.
RsL: Who came up with the idea of a charity platform for streamers?
Freytag: All the credit for this goes to streamers themselves. Charity has always been closely associated with the streaming community; the amount of generosity in the gaming community is incredible. We saw that streamers were already running charity streams using our tipping platform but also that they had to use workarounds and third-party technology to make it happen, so building a new platform with everything streamers need to run a successful charity stream was just a logical next step for us.
RsL: What criteria do nonprofit organizations and streamers have to meet to participate at Streamlabs Charity? (E.g.: number of followers, team affiliation, OBS, 501(c)(3), …)
Freytag: All charities on the platform do need to be registered nonprofit organizations. So they do all need to have charitable EIN (Employer Identification Number) status in the United States, or a similar charity number in their respective countries. They also need to have a website in good standing, and their account needs to be created from an email address that matches that web domain. We welcome charities of all sizes though, so there’s no minimum requirement for followers or anything like that.
RsL: How do you prevent scammers?
Freytag: For every charity that joins the platform, we verify that their charity number is valid and good standing as listed on official government websites. We also audit their website to make sure that the work they do complies with our terms and conditions (no violence, no hate speech, etc.), and we verify that every account holder is in fact a member of the charity. We also validate that their paypal account matches the domain of the charity’s website, and get written authorization from the point of contact listed on the charity’s website.
RsL: Is Streamlabs Charity also usable for people living outside of the USA?
Freytag: Absolutely! We have charities from many different countries, and donors from all over the world as well.
RsL: Can you tell us some common mistakes nonprofits and streamers are committing on Streamlabs Charity?
Freytag: If I could make one recommendation to all charities, it would be to get to know the streaming community. Spend some time watching streams, interacting with streamers, and participating as much as possible. This is how relationships are formed, and the best way to meet streamers that will be excited about helping your mission.
Also, make a special event out of your charity stream. Come up with milestones, giveaways, items to auction, and other fun ways to interact with your viewers to involve them in the event and get them excited about participating. A little planning goes a long way.
RsL: What other advice would you give someone, who wants to become a charity streamer?
Freytag: Before you start the charity stream, learn as much as you can about the charity you’re fundraising for. These nonprofits are doing incredible work for amazing causes, and if you can authentically and enthusiastically share that with your viewers, they’ll be much more passionate about fundraising with you.
Depending on what game you play when you stream, you probably have some down time when you’re in the lobby waiting for the next game to start. Times like that are great moments to share all the reasons you’re excited about the charity, and why all the reasons they could really use some support.
RsL: Why should someone choose Streamlabs Charity over other fundraising platforms like Tiltify?
Freytag: No matter what platform you use, you should be proud of the contribution you’re making. Some of my favorite features of Streamlabs Charity are:
⦁ Our Timed Giveaway overlay widget, which allows your donors to automatically enter a giveaway during a certain period of time, and randomly selects a winner when the time expires
⦁ Our Milestones overlay widget, which automatically tracks and completes your milestones in real time, directly from your broadcast software
⦁ Our Teams feature, built for collaborative fundraising that lets you display alerts for your entire team or individually
⦁ The fact that we’re 100% free for charities, donors, and streamers. Streamlabs Charity is itself a charitable platform; we have no monetization of any kind from the platform so that we can help streamers and donors maximize their fundraising efforts.
RsL: Does Streamlabs Charity work on different platforms like Youtube or Twitch equally well or are there some technical distinctions to be considered?
Freytag: Absolutely! Regardless of the platform you’re on, you’ll have access to our full suite of tools.
RsL: What is the relationship/cooperation with other streaming platforms like?
Freytag: We have a bunch of friends and allies at Twitch and Youtube, and we all help each other out to make it as easy as possible for streamers to fundraise for great causes.
RsL: What are Streamlabs Charity’s plans for the rest of 2021 and beyond? What can we expect?
Freytag: We have a dedicated team of designers and developers that are focused full-time on this platform, so you can definitely expect it to be improving and growing daily. We also love feedback, so if there are specific features that streamers think would be helpful, please let us know any time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you very much for your answers!