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What is Livestream Fundraising?

Livestream fundraising creates telethon-style events that allows donors to give while watching a livestreamed event, which can be hosted by local celebrities, social media influencers, your staff - you name it!

During the livestream, the person broadcasting interacts with their audience while filming themself in real time. This is typically done by linking fundraising software to a content creation platform that already has live broadcasting features, like Youtube or Twitch. 

Click here for some fast facts about livestreaming and fundraising, including this study which found that 78% of viewers want to see more fundraising on their favorite channels.

How Are Other Organizations Using Livestream Fundraising?

When organizations receive support through livestreaming, they’re doing it through a trusted platform that can create an optimized experience for a livestream while also taking donations. There are three primary approaches that a livestreamed experience can be configured to benefit a cause.

  1. Telethon ApproachAn organization hosts and produces the stream that is meant to be digested by a larger audience but with minimal interactivity other than perhaps chat and donations. A recent example of this was the NFL Draft-A-Thon that raised over $7 million in COVID-19 relief for six nonprofits.
  2. Gathering ApproachAn organization organizes a space where participants have a more active role in the event itself. Examples can be virtual conferences or kick off events for “on the ground” fundraising activity. This can also include health and fitness challenges that create hybrid virtual / in-person events, like Bike4Chai’s $7.5 million campaign earlier this year.
  3. Creator-Driven ApproachIndividual streamers utilize a platform either provided by the organization or through a third party that will then benefit the organization but the stream itself is not overseen by the organization. One of the most successful of these is the Extra Life campaign for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

No matter what type of event format is chosen, an organization should always ensure that the right resources are put forward to fundraisers and participants. They are just as resource and time intensive as a physical event.

In many ways, they also offer logistical challenges that staff may not be used to, such as either running a stream yourself or giving support to a community that may be new to you. Still, with the right planning and preparation, these events can be some of the most fun and interesting programs you’ll ever manage!

Livestream Nuts and Bolts

To actually set up a livestream, you will need to familiarize yourself with video broadcasting software, such as the open-source and industry standard OBS Studio. Click here for an OBS Studio Quickstart Guide, and here for more resources on getting set up with OBS Studio. Other broadcasting options include XSplit Broadcaster and Streamlabs OBS.

You can stream your broadcast directly to Twitch, Facebook, or YouTube, and from there you can embed your livestream in your campaign or fundraising page. Once that's done, contact all your fans and donors to watch your stream and donate!

Livestreaming Resources

We’ve dipped into the Neon One ecosystem to curate some amazing resources to help kickstart your organization’s journey toward integrating a dedicated layer of livestreaming in your fundraising operations.