What is gaming for giving? 

Gaming for giving refers to the use of video games and the gaming community to raise money and awareness for charitable causes. 

It offers charities a way to raise funds that is similar to traditional fundraising events such as 5k runs and baking challenges but reaches an entirely new audience – gamers. Gaming for giving is gaining traction with charities looking to reach new, younger audiences eager to contribute to their missions.

Examples of gaming for giving initiatives

  • Charity-focused events: Organisations like Gamers for Giving host live streaming marathons or LAN (Local Area Connection) parties where gamers play and encourage viewers to donate to a specific cause.
  • Charitable partnerships: Game developers or publishers directly work with charities by featuring in-game donation options, creating special fundraising bundles, or donating a portion of their proceeds.
  • Individual initiatives: Gamers themselves can host their own fundraisers, like charity streams on platforms like Twitch or Youtube, or participate in existing campaigns like Extra Life, where they challenge themselves to play for 24 hours straight and fundraise for children’s hospitals.
  • In-game fundraising mechanics: Some games integrate specific mechanics that allow players to directly contribute to chosen charities within the game itself.

What are the benefits of gaming for giving?

Increased Awareness: Gaming for giving campaigns can highlight various causes to a large and engaged audience, potentially attracting new supporters. 

Engaging Fundraising: Combining gaming with charitable action can be a fun and interactive way to raise funds, motivating both players and viewers to contribute. 

Community Building: These initiatives can foster a sense of purpose and solidarity within the gaming community, uniting players for a common goal.

The fundraising potential of gaming and live streaming

Gaming is a multi billion pound industry, with profits staying high post-pandemic when their profits soared. Just last year in the UK alone, the gaming industry was worth £7 billion and predictions are that the number will continue to grow. 

Gaming can be a perfect fit if you get the strategy right. Recent studies show very promising statistics about the gaming community, as seen below in information from USwitch and UKIE

With such a large potential audience, incorporating a gaming event into your annual fundraising strategy could be something to seriously consider. 

How to get started with gaming for giving

Here are our suggestions for charities that may be interested in finding a way to introduce fundraising using live streaming and gaming:

Choose the right gaming platform. Think about your charity’s mission. Are there any games that would have an emotional connection for your audience? For example, if your charity is about animal welfare, choose an aligned product such as Animal Crossing or even Pokemon. If this is your charity’s first time running a game fundraiser, try starting with an easy-to-use mobile app. It may have a shorter play time built in but is just as effective and fun.

Create engaging and interactive gaming events. Utilise Instagram Live or YouTube Live to host an hour of “Dance Dance Revolution” with your colleagues and your fundraisers together and dance it out while raising funds. You can easily engage with the donors’ chat, and cheer them on as you dance together.

Use popular games or create custom challenges. There are a host of games and virtual worlds available where your team can create a unique space designed just for your charity’s mission. Why not host a challenge whereby your fundraisers must complete the goal of finding all the ‘lost items’ related to the needs of your charity such as in Minecraft, Habbo, or Roblox. A charity for the visually impaired might choose to hide items such as glasses, colour-spectrum sunglasses, and a braille message to decode. 

Set fundraising goals and milestones. Create an event where your fundraisers can achieve goals throughout your fundraising challenge. Get your fundraisers to share their online activities, such as “Complete 5 Levels in 30 Days”, sharing their gaming experience on their social pages, garnering new donors.

Gaming is something that is enjoyed by entire families and can help mobilise an entirely new demographic of life-long fundraisers. 

This is the future audience for the next 20, 30 years. The average age for a video gamer in Europe is 31, so even if you don’t talk to anyone under the age of 65 as a charity, you will talk to that person in a couple of years, and if you can start now being meaningful, gentle, on the same platforms as them, then you’re setting yourself up for the long term value of that supporter and that will be great.

Georgia Paton, Gaming and Streaming Manager at British Red Cross

At its core, live streaming and gaming for giving is about harnessing the passion and engagement of gamers to make a positive impact on the world through fundraising and awareness campaigns. Gaming for giving offers a powerful way to combine play with purpose, making a positive impact through the shared passion of a vibrant community.