This is just one old fart's Twitch odyssey. Join me.
Here're my tried-and-true tactics for finding the right Twitch broadcasters* for your nonprofit. The principles are sound, so you should be able to successfully transfer these steps to another streaming platform, like YouTube, Mixer, or Facebook Instawhatever.
*You can call them broadcasters, streamers, content creators, Twitch business owners, fundraisers, or friends. :)
Let's throw it back, and I'll explain how this article got written.
In early 2020, Funraise rolled out our Twitch integration and started promoting livestream fundraising. As the person who writes stuff designed to amp up your excitement about Funraise products, I was nervous.
Because listen, I'm just like most of y'all. I'm a middle-aged dog lover who swings between wanting to make big things happen and praying that I don't have to pause Netflix. I had never livestreamed a thing in my life. I don't even have FaceTime!
The only good thing was that I sure wasn't alone—at Funraise, we were getting nonstop questions from nonprofits asking for the scoop on livestreaming, worried voices telling us that getting up to speed on this new revenue stream seemed impossible. Well, we couldn't have that; heck no. Here's what I learned as I tried it myself.
Start small. Find one broadcaster.
Just start with finding one person who makes cool stuff that aligns with your mission.
Look around on twitch.tv (that's the website.) Don't be afraid to click all the buttons and get lost—you're not going to break the website, trust me. Find some streamers that you like watching and follow them by clicking the purple button that says "Follow". Maybe chat in their chat space. It's enough to say, “HI! Thanks for having me here!”
Don't pin all your hopes on the first broadcaster you like.
Keep an open mind, because Twitch has all kinds of livestreamed content. Broadcasters stream games, makeup/hair tutorials, cooking, art and drawing, ham radio, fishing in actual streams, or literally anything you can think of. There's a 24/7 stream of a jar of peanut butter, for goodness' sake.
Read broadcasters' profiles for more info.
When you read what broadcasters have written about themselves, you may be surprised! Many broadcasters are members of larger groups of like-minded content creators—gamers, broadcasters, artists, cooks, and so on. They advertise these alliances in their Twitch profiles; looking at the other group members is a great way to see if they're working toward the same things you are.
Decide on one broadcaster that you like the best.
Most broadcasters post a schedule so you know when they're live—pop on every day for a few minutes and greet their chat. Note things they talk about or what they wear or the activities they engage in during their stream. But take it from me, thread that needle carefully because you don't want to sound like a creep.
Reach out to the broadcaster
Send an email.
After, I don't know, a week of light engagement and getting to know the broadcaster, send an email! Usually Twitch broadcasters have their email addresses listed in their Twitch or Twitter profiles, and, according to the broadcasters I talked to, they prefer that method of outreach.
If you kept up with the broadcaster for a week, you should have something to talk about, like a recent stream they did or the topics in their chat or something funny they wore. So don’t skip the engagement step—I promise it makes things easier as you reach out for the first time.
Use a template like the one I've provided below. Note that it’s casual, but it’s respectful of the broadcaster as a business owner. The other thing I found worked well was to put a piece of personal information about myself in the postscript... broadcasters put so much of themselves out to the public that it seemed polite to tell them something about me to kind of even the score. Just beware of TMI. :/
Email another broadcaster. Be confident in your ask.
Once you hit up your first broadcaster, it's easier to find the second one and begin reaching out. Just go for it!
Every time I thought about reaching out, I died a little inside thinking of how silly I would sound. It helped me to keep in mind that broadcasters are as nervous as we are—many of them worry that their fan base won't respond positively or that their contribution won't meet your expectations.
Give them a reason to connect to your cause.
As COVID-19 rages, everyone needs assistance. Every cause is important, so bringing individuals into your fold is a bit less of an uphill battle. But in less fraught times, the next step is to introduce them to your nonprofit's mission and make it clear what both their contribution and their impact will be. This is something fundraisers are experts in, so I won't try to guide you pros from over here on the sidelines.
There are lots of broadcasters that want to be of service in the wider world but just don't know how. Showing them how they can help is a good thing.
Build the relationship
Let the broadcaster get to know you a little bit.
Before you ask a broadcaster to fundraise on your behalf, make sure they feel comfortable with you.
This is for you as well as the broadcaster. In these initial stages of your relationship, you're feeling them out—are they responsive? Dependable? Do they understand your mission? Can they relate in a personal way to the problems your organization's facing?
If this broadcaster streams on your behalf, they'll be representing your organization, repeating your impact statement, talking about the people/animals/environments you work to assist. Are they a person you want representing you? Choose wisely.
Be the fundraising expert they need.
You may think you don't know livestreaming, but broadcasters are thinking that they don't know fundraising. Make it easy for them! When something seems easy, people are way easier to say yes, you know this.
Remember that the broadcaster is a business owner.
This is the #1 most important thing I learned in the streaming world.
Broadcasters aren't lazy or game-addicted, they're community leaders. Small business owners. Hustlers. And when you treat them like a valuable part of your strategic fundraising team, they'll be professional and dependable when they work with you.
Streaming is a broadcaster's job and most likely, they earn money to do it. So if they’re dedicating a stream to you and asking their followers to donate to your cause, that means they are literally giving up their own earnings so that your org can have them. Not to mention that streamers purchase their own supplies and hardware for their streams. If they shave or dye their hair or get a tattoo (all things that we’ve seen!), that’s them giving up autonomy over their own body for your cause.
Don't leave the ball in their court
Go back after you reach out.
If you send an email and then never come back to the stream, the chances of the broadcaster getting back to you are much lower than if you head back to their channel the next day. It really solidified my outreach when I went back after emailing and chatted in the broadcasters' streams the very next day. I had broadcasters who recognized my name in the chat—it was so cool!
If they don't respond to you in a week-ish, even after you've followed up in their stream, let it go. They are not the broadcaster for your nonprofit. There are millions of other broadcasters on Twitch, so just keep on fishing in that stream.
Keep working the system.
At this point, if you continue to find broadcasters, watch their content, reach out, answer questions, and build those relationships, you should end up with some broadcasters that'll fundraise for you on occasion.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that your streaming supporters are experts in what they do. They're business owners and community managers. As you think about them and interact with them, hold onto that mindset.
To make a short story long...
There were a lot more lessons I learned and laughs I laughed during this process. Don't take yourself too seriously in this process and allow yourself to enjoy the streaming community. As you become part of this movement, welcome other newbies to the world of livestream fundraising.
My gift 2 u: an email template to introduce yourself to broadcasters
Modify at will!
Hi Ronald, I'm Erin, the Fundraising Coordinator with Cars 4 Clowns. We're a nonprofit that purchases tiny cars for clowns in need. I saw you on Twitch and was drawn to your content because of your intricate face painting streams. Our office really loved the recent "sad clown"—the blue matches our logo!
I was wondering if you'd consider helping us fundraise through a stream on your channel. We really feel that your work aligns with our mission and that our supporters would enjoy your work—and hopefully, your fan base would appreciate the work we do as well. :)
If you've got questions, you can reply to this email or you can call/text me at 555-555-5555.
That's it! I hope you have the best day!
P.S. I am an official Lobster. In my off time, I play roller derby for Angel City Derby here in LA, and my derby name is... Block Lobster.