Everything You Should Know about Gaming Fundraising
The incredible popularity of video games paired with the massive success of several gaming fundraisers has many nonprofits wondering how to get in on the fun! If you want to learn more about this exciting, relatively inexpensive type of fundraiser, read on to learn how they work and five ways to raise money.
It’s an understatement to say that video games are popular. Around 3 billion people play video games worldwide and that number is only going up. That’s why so many nonprofits have gotten into gaming fundraising to take advantage of this popularity. Plus, charity gaming events are just plain fun!
In this article, we’re going over the ins and outs of this exciting way to fundraise. Think of this as your video game fundraising tutorial – and you can’t skip this one!
How Do Gaming Fundraisers Work?
The details of charity gaming vary greatly from event to event, but the one constant is that someone plays video games to raise money for a charity. Typically these events are live-streamed, but you can also make them work in person with smaller audiences.
Watching others play video games is a widely growing form of entertainment with live streaming platforms like Twitch, and those streamers are great at getting their audiences to support an important cause.
An example of a hugely successful gaming fundraiser is Awesome Games Done Quick (AGDQ), a speed-running streaming event where popular gamers play games as quickly as possible. The event typically lasts a week with 24-hour streaming. Their last event of 2023 raised $2,268,302 for Doctors Without Borders. Since donations happen live, some of the stream time is dedicated to reading the donation messages and providing real-time appreciation to the donors.
Should Nonprofits Host Gaming Marathon Events?
Just because your nonprofit doesn’t have anything to do with video games doesn’t mean you should avoid gaming fundraising!
Plenty of organizations benefit from video game fundraising without connecting video games to their mission. Sometimes the connection can simply be that a popular gamer or streamer is passionate about your mission – and their audience cares about what they care about.
This type of fundraiser is an excellent way to earn funds creatively. But it’s also an opportunity to connect with a new audience. Video game fundraisers can help nonprofits that generally attract older donors broaden their donor pool by appealing to younger gamers.
5 Ways Your Nonprofit Can Raise Money with a Gaming Fundraiser
There are many different ways video game fundraisers raise money. You can even choose to combine some of these methods!
1. Live stream with live donations
This type of event typically involves a longer time spent gaming where the live-streamers are regularly soliciting donations from the audience.
There are a couple of different ways to collect donations on a live stream. Here’s how they work –
Text-to-give is a way to quickly get viewers to access your donation form without leaving the live stream.
Donorbox Text-to-Give makes giving during a stream super easy for your audience. Simply enable Text-to-Give in your Donorbox account. You can choose the basic or shortcode plan, as outlined in the image below.
Once your supporters text your custom keyword or unique campaign ID to the number or short code, they’ll receive a link to your online donation form and can donate from there.
They can also quickly give again by texting “GIVE” to the same number, making it easy to give multiple times throughout the stream. This drives up your income for the event!
This is what it looks like for your users –
1.2 Airmeet and Donorbox Integration
Airmeet is an all-in-one streaming platform that allows customers to host various events, including video game fundraisers!
With the Donorbox integration, it’s easy to collect donations directly during your live stream so your donors don’t get distracted by leaving to donate. All you have to do is embed the Donorbox widget into your Airmeet event. You can also amp up your gaming fundraiser donations by putting a customized call to action in the event chat.
Watch this video for step-by-step instructions to enable this integration for your next Airmeet event –
Selling tickets for your video game fundraising event is a great way to make it a success. This works better for events with well-known gamers playing fan-favorite games – otherwise, the average participant might not feel it’s worth it to pay.
Donorbox Events is a great tool for selling tickets for online events because you can easily set different tiers with different perks (for example, early access for a Q&A with the streamer) and designate quantities for each tier so you have a set maximum for attendance. Scheduling a last day to buy tickets encourages your attendees to go ahead and get their tickets so they don’t miss out!
For example, the last day to buy tickets for this event was May 31. There were two ticket tiers, one with 15 tickets available and one with 300 tickets available. Also, each ticket tier listed the amount of each tier that was tax-deductible for an extra buying incentive!
You can also choose to ask for additional donations on top of the ticket purchase, which helps ticket buyers get more generous when they already have their wallets out.
Tickets are automatically distributed via email so your attendees will know exactly how to access your event when the time comes. Each ticket has a unique check-in code or QR code that you can simply enter or scan to check in your attendees if you’re hosting an in-person event. This streamlines your gaming fundraising so you can raise more!
3. Collect pledges and donations ahead of time
Another option involves collecting donations and pledges before the event. This works well for things like marathon video game fundraisers, where gamers are playing for a long time and get donations based on how long they play.
A great tool for collecting these types of donations is peer-to-peer fundraising. Peer-to-peer allows anyone to fundraise on behalf of an organization.
A nonprofit can make a “parent” campaign and invite gamers to create their own “child” fundraising pages, where any funds collected flow directly to the main campaign’s account. Donorbox Peer-to-Peer is super easy to set up – all you do is create your campaign and enable peer-to-peer fundraising. Then you decide if you want to send invitations to participants or if you want participants to start fundraising on their own.
Each fundraising page also has its goal meter to track each gamer’s fundraising progress. This helps encourage more generosity! And gamers can add details about why your cause means a lot to them personally.
Check out how Gamers on the Edge enabled peer-to-peer on their crowdfunding campaign where they raised $6,600 to supply gaming supplies to children in the hospital. Anyone could fundraise on their behalf by clicking “I want to fundraise for this.”
Streaming is a great opportunity to sell fun merchandise because the gamer can show off the merchandise during the stream. You can also sell merchandise before and after the event to both generate interest and allow attendees to purchase a souvenir.
This merchandise can be related to your nonprofit or to the game the gamer is playing. Think t-shirts, collectibles like Funko Pops, artwork, etc. Just remember that you’ll have to ship merchandise to those purchasing it, so factor that into your expenses.
5. Offer incentives
Often during video game fundraisers, the streamers or event hosts will create incentives to drive donations. One example might be if a particular fundraising goal is reached, the gamer will do something specific in the game that they otherwise wouldn’t do. Or you can use donated items like fan art, gaming equipment, and more with a “donate to win” drawing incentive.
This creates a greater sense of urgency during your event to keep driving donations and raise your overall fundraising.
Over to You
Although it may feel like a new phenomenon, video game fundraising has been around for a while. The first AGDQ was hosted several years ago! And it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
Charity gaming events are an exciting option for nonprofits looking to tap into new donor audiences.
There are many ways to raise funds with these events, from selling tickets to fundraising before, during, and after your event. And don’t forget to choose a platform like Donorbox to help you with every step of your gaming fundraiser!
Donorbox helps nonprofits make their fundraisers even more successful with different options to collect donations, sell tickets, and more. Boost your fundraising and launch your first campaign today.
Plus, check out the rest of our Nonprofit Blog for more fundraising ideas and event support. Subscribe to our newsletter to get blog content delivered to your inbox every month!
Lindsey spent years wearing many hats in the nonprofit world. Whether she was helping arts nonprofits with their messaging and content, planning a fundraising gala, writing an NEA grant proposal, or running a membership program with over 400 members, she learned how to navigate – and appreciate! – the fast-paced world of fundraising. Now, she loves sharing those hard-earned lessons with the Donorbox community. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.