What is streaming?
A stream is an online feed of media (like audio/video) broadcasted over the internet, showing a viewer something happening in real-time. A "streamer" is the person hosting the live video broadcast. Streaming platforms provide chat features that connect viewers and streamers in real time, creating an interactive experience.
Is streaming popular?
Streaming accounts for 2/3 of all internet traffic and by 2020, that number is expected to grow to 82%. People of all ages watch and create live streaming video, with 80% of consumers prefer to watch live video over other social content.
Isn't streaming just for gamers?
Not at all! Thousands of people regularly stream themselves making art, music, cooking, and more. You can use whatever you're most passionate about to connect and engage with an audience.
Do people really stream for charity?
Thousands of people regularly stream to raise money for charity and the numbers are increasing dramatically across all streaming services. Streamers on Twitch alone have raised $75 million for charity and it has as many or more monthly viewers than cable news channels like MSNBC and CNN
How could streaming help my fundraising efforts?
Streaming empowers you to bring your fundraising to life. It makes your donors feel like they're part of the event, wherever they are. Donations show up on the spot and you can thank your donors in real time. It creates excitement and a sense of community, helping you reach even more supporters for your campaign.
What equipment do I need to stream?
One of the greatest things about streaming is that it doesn't require much to do - a recording device, such as a smartphone with built-in camera and microphone, or a desktop computer or gaming console with external microphone and headphones. If you're using a mobile device, you’ll need a Streaming Service app such as Twitch, YouTube, Mixer Create, or Streamlabs. If on a desktop, you'll need video/audio capture software such as Streamlabs OBS while those using a gaming console need to be signed in to their streaming service such as Mixer (for Xbox users), or Twitch (for PlayStation 4 users).
- The first step is to choose which platform you want to use. If you want to add your stream directly on your fundraising page, you'll need to use either Twitch, Mixer, YouTube Live. For each of these, you'll need to sign up and create an account.
- Once you've created your account, you'll want to register for one of MDA's fundraising events, which you can find here.
- After registering for your MDA event, you'll be asked if you want to add a stream to your fundraising page. You'll need to sign in with your Twitch, Mixer, or YouTube Live credentials and then your stream will be added to your page. You can also choose if you want your stream to show automatically any time you broadcast or if you want to manually control when the stream shows on your page.
- If you don't add your stream at this time, you can always add it later by going to the “Settings” tab on your fundraising page and checking the box to “add a stream to your page”.
- If you've chosen to stream on Twitch, make sure you add MDA Let's Play Charity Fundraising Twitch Extension to your Twitch channel. This allows Twitch viewers to donate towards your MDA fundraising total without ever leaving your stream. It also shows your top donors and your progress towards your fundraising goal.
- Sign up for Streamlabs, where you can set up alerts for donations and stream updates. You'll first need to link your Streamlabs account to MDA in the "Charity Streaming" field on the Streamlabs Integrations page.
- MDA has created a custom overlay that automatically updates to show your fundraising progress, your top donations, as well as the MDA logo so everyone knows who you are raising funds for. You can add the MDA overlay to your stream by copying the link on your fundraising page and adding it your streaming account. The overlay will always display, unless the viewer is using a mobile device.
Leading Up to the Stream
- Land on a format - will you be playing games, crafting, cooking, or simply talking to your audience? While you don't need to have every minute of your stream scheduled, it's good to go in with a plan, especially if this if your first time broadcasting.
- Pick a day and time that you'll start your stream and how long you plan to stream for.
- Decide if you'll offer any incentives. While they aren't required, incentives can be very effective when soliciting donations. They're not restricted to physical goods either - incentives can be things you do live on the stream. For example, for $20 the donor gets to choose your character in the next game, for $50 you do 10 pushups on camera, and for a $100 the donor gets a personalized drawing or card. Be creative.
- Start posting on social media as soon as possible. Highlight when you'll be streaming and why you're doing this. While viewers will randomly discover your stream, you also want your friends and family to join in. The best way to drive traffic to your stream is to set a schedule and promote it on social media regularly as you get closer to your stream date.
- Do an equipment check the day before. Make sure you have everything you need assembled, and do a test of your audio and video quality.
- Share your connection to the cause and talk about why you're streaming. Make sure you repeat it often, so that people signing on and off your stream all get to hear it.
- Talk about the direct impact of the money you're raising, how specific amounts translate to tangible items for the nonprofit you're supporting.
- Ask viewers to make a donation. This one may sound obvious, but it's important to actually make the ask so that viewers know they have a part to play during the stream as well.
- Ask viewers to share your stream with their community. While not everyone may be able to make a $100 donation, everyone can help promote your stream and grow your viewers.
- Set fundraising goals. Not just an overall goal, but set interim goals as well, such as in the next hour, I want to raise at least $200. Breaking up your total goal into smaller, achievable amounts can help encourage donors to give a little more to help you reach your next milestone.
- Thank your donors live. One of the most personal touches of streaming is that you can acknowledge and thank your donors live during the stream, showing your gratitude instantly. So when you see those donations coming in during your stream, make sure you give a shout out to the donors.
- Use a bot during your stream to remind your viewers that you are streaming for MDA and to share links to donate or get more information from MDA.
- Engage with your viewers. Keep an eye on the chat window so you can answer any of their questions.
- Take breaks, especially if you're streaming for an extended amount of time. Make sure you move around, get something to drink, and use the restroom. Play a video about the cause you're supporting, or put up stinger slides during your break so viewers know you'll be returning.
- Have fun! Remember that you're doing this to support an amazing cause and that we appreciate all of your hard work and commitment.