How to fundraise effectively in the gaming space

How to fundraise effectively in the gaming space

The video game industry has come a long way since the days of arcade machines. In 2022, the global video game industry was estimated to have generated more than US$300 billion in revenue, engaging more than two billion people on a daily basis across consoles, PC and mobile. It’s a form of entertainment that eclipses non-interactive mediums like film, TV and music, yet ‘gamers’ aren’t necessarily top-of-mind for consumer brands and non-profits.

Identifying and reaching the gaming audience can be a challenge. With few options to reach the gaming audience through the games themselves (outside of mobile in-game advertising), how does one engage gamers, particularly for non-profits with limited resources? Here are some tips and guiding principles to help your charitable organisation find success in the gaming space.

6 Tips to Fundraise effectively in the gaming space

  1. Build credibility:

People often use gaming to escape; to leave reality behind and visit a fantastical realm, connect with friends across the world, or test their mettle in a challenging experience or online competition. Through interactivity, gaming is an emotion-filled form of entertainment, so when a brand interrupts that experience, it’s not always welcome. It’s why building credibility in the eyes of gamers is so important. To that end, think about the brands endemic to the gaming space you can partner with to help introduce your charity to the gaming audience, such as well-known publishers like Xbox, EA Games and Ubisoft or consumer brands like Elgato, HyperX and Logitech. Similarly, are there content creators or personalities in the space who can act as ambassadors for your cause? Before jumping straight to the biggest names in gaming and streaming, like Ninja, Loserfruit and Dr. Lupo, try starting small first and expanding from there. Grassroots creators are much more likely to work with you as they grow their own online, personal brand. Laying a strong foundation of credibility first will make it much easier to build upon your success in the space.

  1. Find the right experts:

It can be difficult navigating a world completely unknown to you and the team, so look for ways to engage experts in the space. This doesn’t necessarily mean hiring someone from the gaming industry. There are many people in the space that can deliver the expertise you need. If community fundraising via live-streaming is your first focus, start with influencer and talent agencies that represent these content creators, and be sure to ask questions when you start. It’s likely that these agencies field proposals from a variety of brands every week and the last thing you want is for the creators they represent to view you in the same way they view another brand looking to advertise via their streams and social channels. Ask how the agency’s creators like to work with charities. What would an engaging charity or fundraising campaign look like to them? Is there a way their creators can team up to create something larger, like a streaming marathon where multiple creators work together? With a bit of imagination and collaboration, creating something a bit different can be exciting for the creators you work with.

  1. Add value:

Always remember that your partnership with these creators and brands is exactly that: a partnership. How is your charity adding value to this relationship? Can you demonstrate the impact the audience’s involvement will have on your mission? Particularly for grassroots content creators, spotlighting them on your website and social channels can be really meaningful. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone as well. Jump on livestreams with creators who fundraise for you and thank them and their community for their support. You don’t necessarily have to play the game they’re playing, but just appear as a guest for 10-20 minutes and show how much they are appreciated. The same can be said for any brands you partner with. Treat them in the same way you would any traditional corporate partner and build that value together.

  1. Be where they are:

A part of finding the expertise to navigate the gaming space is understanding where and how to communicate with gamers and content creators. You’ll likely have a difficult time gaining support by focusing on social ads, cold emails and phone calls. Instead, look to where the gaming audience is highly engaged. X/Twitter and TikTok are both platforms content creators use to speak directly to their own communities, so try casually sliding into their DM’s there. Try not to be too heavy-handed in your initial approach either; they don’t need the full pitch upfront. Ask if they’ve fundraised for a charity before and if they’d be open to working together. If you have the capacity and resource, taking the time to get to know streamers when and where they stream can be hugely beneficial. Tune into their streams and pop in their live chat to say hello. This can make it much easier to then send a message to them after the stream to introduce yourself more formally.

  1. Leverage a connected community:

One thing that is definitely true about content creators in the streaming space and people who work for big gaming brands is that everyone is connected. When you chat with a brand manager at Nintendo, it’s likely they know the local team at PlayStation or an agency who works for Twitch. Similarly, the content creators you chat with likely have creator friends, are involved in a community of streamers who play together, or know creators who have had success supporting charitiesin the past. Even if someone is unable to support you directly, they will likely know someone else who can, so always ask for those introductions or to be pointed in the right direction.

  1. Don’t forget the basics:

It’s important to remember that gaming brands and content creators you partner with are not dissimilar to other corporate partners or P2P fundraisers. Everyone who supports your organisation wants to do a good job, so be sure to make it as easy as possible for them to find success. Equip them with all the usual fundraising tools who would your traditional partners and fundraisers. For content creators, it’s worth taking the time to create assets suitable for their streams as well. Being a good partner and empowering your supporters to do the best job they can will maximise the chance that they’ll come back and support you again.

Shane Bailey

Shane Bailey

Head of Gaming and Streaming for Cure Cancer Australia

Shane Bailey is Head of Gaming and Streaming for Cure Cancer Australia and leads on their Game on Cancer fundraising programme. If you’ve read this and want to explore the gaming space further, you can contact Shane through his LinkedIn to ask any questions.