A Guide to Livestream Fundraising For Beginners

 live stream tips
Livestream fundraising has quickly become one of the top digital fundraising tactics, which makes sense in this post-Covid world. They’re cost-effective, fun, and a great way to engage an audience from anywhere in the world, but deciding on a platform and setting up a stream can get confusing even if you’re tech-savvy. Each platform has its own advantages, audiences and influencers - there is even an opportunity to fundraise with video. Cool right?!

So if you are looking to learn more about online fundraising or are hoping to brush up on your skills, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s start at the beginning:

What is Livestream?

A livestream is a live broadcast from the internet that can be about anything. We’ve seen Q&As, performances, shows, and yes, even fundraisers streamed all over the internet. We’re living in a digital age, so platforms like Twitch, Facebook and Instagram can become great places for charities and other organizations to hold their online events. 

To make it even easier for your organizations, Tiktok, Twitch, Instagram and Facebook have their fundraising tools built directly into their software. 

There are a ton of fun ways you can use a live stream, like:

  • Performances or stories performed by celebrity supporters, clients, staff or volunteers 
  • A Q&A about your organization or on a specific topic or campaign 
  • Live webinars
  • Announcements or messages from your founder, board or leadership team
  • Live reaction to fundraising results
  • A live cat, dog or bunny cam

Any in-person event (with a little tweaking) can become a digital livestream, something that can be useful far beyond COVID. 

How to Fundraise on Twitch

You may be familiar with Twitch as a live-streaming platform for video gamers.  In recent years, charities have experienced significant success leveraging the platform for fundraising. One leading example, St.Judes, has raised over $10 million through their St. Jude PLAY LIVE® program. Alyssa Sweetman broke down the platform for us and explained how to fundraise on Twitch. 

The first thing you need to know is that Twitch is accessible for all ages, demographics and backgrounds. She explains in our interview that there are more than just gamers on the platform. There are woodworkers, chefs, blacksmiths and almost anything else you can imagine. People’s preconceived ideas of Twitch often stop them from seeing it as a viable fundraising platform, but by using the right tools and connecting with the right influencer, you can find success. 

It breaks down to 4 Steps: 

  1. Create an account usingTiltify, Just Giving or your preferred software that supports embedded livestreaming that will make donating easy
  2. Generate a list of influencers you want to contact. Their content doesn’t have to directly relate to your cause, but it does help if you enjoy their content. 
  3. Start to steward influencers by sending a short (and Alyssa stresses that it has to be short) no more than one-page email to influencers explaining your nonprofit, ways to donate and ask to connect. This is the first step to building a relationship (think about treating your influencers like you would a potential major donor).
  4. Create a contract between you and the influencer

And this can be applied to almost any platform. For more tips on influencer fundraising and using Twitch listen to our full interview below: 


3 Main Types of Livestreams 

Organizational Livestream Fundraising

In this type of livestream, your organization is the host and uses channels like YouTube, TikTok, Facebook as the streaming channel. Organization livestreams are a great way to start your livestreaming journey and test the waters. The best part is that it’s easy to set up; most of the work will go into creating a focus for the stream. 

It’s also a great addition to use for future in-person events. Streaming on your social channels allows you to reach a broader audience and connect with people from all over the world. All you need is a smartphone! 

Third-Party Livestream 

A third-party livestream is when someone else hosts the livestream on your behalf, like on Twitch or through social media. These livestreams are a bit more complicated, and your organization can choose how involved you want to be with it. 

This method of fundraising does require you to set up a system for people to process your donations, and you are putting a level of trust onto the influencer you choose. Because it is their platform, and they are hosting the event, they control their actions and vocabulary. When creating your contract, make sure to mention if you have any guidelines like not using profanity or restraining from specific activities like first-person shooter games. 

The best part of a third-party fundraiser is that you're introducing your nonprofit to a whole new audience and finding a ton of new supporters. Keep in mind you are also using the influencer’s donated time. Social media is their way of making money, and they are giving up their time and income to support you. They also spend a lot of time connecting and building trust with their audience, so having a mutual contract and relationship with your chosen influencer will help you immensely in your livestream.
Formal Event Livestream

You may have seen some organizations move events like gala’s online. This is a perfect example of an event livestream. These livestreams are usually large, have an agenda and contain several parts like speakers, performances and messages from your organization. It can be paid or free entry, but either way, you should be broadcasting your event on multiple channels. 

When you’re hosting a high-profile event with paid talent, speakers or entry fees, you want to make sure everything runs smoothly during the stream. The best way to do this is to diversify your channels and put the same focus on managing the event as you would a "real world” event.  Engage your major donors and leadership to sell tickets, secure auction items, secure key large gifts in advance, plan some surprises to delight, etc.  In some cases, charities have arranged to deliver a gourmet meal to all participants to enjoy at home while watching the event! 

There are a ton of free software out there like OBS or Streamlabs that you can use, but it does require a bit of a learning curve. Alternatively, you can also hire a vendor to host the livestream to ensure that everything is running smoothly on the big day. For more tips on large event streaming, listen to our interview with Donor Curve, where they shared how they raised over 100,000 dollars through an online event.


You have a ton of fun and engaging options to choose from when livestreaming. If you’re new to the digital space or not tech-savvy, it can seem daunting to set up and host a stream all by yourself, but the hard work comes from finding a subject for your livestream. 

If you are new to the livestreaming space, it’s always good to follow up with your donors for feedback on the event. We have a whole blog post dedicated to creating exceptional donor surveys, but if you’re looking for more information on communicating with your donor base, please reach out to us!

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By Trust Driven on Oct 22, 2021, 12:00 AM


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