When we floated the idea of a Good Bites on Gaming, we weren’t sure anyone would come. The huge and growing gaming industry and audience have been largely ignored by the voluntary sector until recently, but there’s a growing appetite to engage with the world of play. The proof —Â last Thursday’s session was a sell-out.
Our three speakers gave us completely different perspectives on the world of gaming, which combined to give us a 360 view.
David Thomas, a professional gamer, talked about his move from a steady 9-5 in the financial sector, to embarking on a career as a professional streamer, playing games 10 hours a day on streaming platform Twitch.
Michael Thomas (no relation) from Twitch, talked about the growing popularity of the platform, which is building huge reach and engagement and already generating significant amounts of support for charities via gaming marathons and in-platform donations.
And finally, Elisabeth Little from WarChild talked us through the charity’s innovative use of gaming partnerships to drive advocacy, engagement and fundraising.In summary, gaming offers huge potential for engagement, storytelling and fundraising —Â but only if approached with creativity and audience needs in mind. Here are some key take-outs.
- Charity gaming marathons and speedruns are already a popular pastime on Twitch and other platforms. They’re happening at a grassroots level, but a few organisations like Macmillan are arranging their own and partnering with gamers to deliver them. JustGiving has seen a huge upsurge in donations from gaming events and challenges in the last couple of years.
- Influencers are a hot topic in the world of fundraising and engagement —Â and many of the world’s biggest influencers are gamers. In the US, PewDiPie and Athene have raised millions for Save the Children. Now Twitch is building a new generation of more accessible influencers and a culture of positive community support.
- With the rise of smaller ‘indie’ games and studios, many games companies are now more open to partnering with good causes, to develop games and in-game content. Games don’t have to have massive development cycles to be popular and online platforms like Steam offer seamless download and payment.
- Gaming offers great potential for charities to innovate and play —Â whether partnering with gamers or games companies, there are near-limitless opportunities to develop new models and ideas in fundraising, engagement, storytelling and service delivery.