NGO, NPO & Social Enterprise News South Africa

Gaming for good: How GivenGain helps gamers give back

Gamers are giving back to their favourite charities and helping make the world a better place, thanks to GivenGain's #GameForGood initiative.
Jannie Smith, regional manager at GivenGain for South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. | Source: Supplied
Jannie Smith, regional manager at GivenGain for South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. | Source: Supplied

The #GameForGood initiative enables gamers to livestream their gaming sessions to their armies of online supporters in exchange for donations to their chosen charities and it is proving enormous with fundraisers.

Livestreamers like journalist and TV personality Grant Hinds have raised tens of thousands of Rands on the #GameForGood platform, including raising over R41,000 for homelessness charity New Hope SA during his birthday fundraiser.

For charities, the initiative enables them to tap into the livestream fundraising trend by pointing them towards the right tools or promoting their cause to online gaming communities.

I spoke to Jannie Smith, regional manager at GivenGain for South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, to learn more about the #GameForGood initiative.

What is #GameForGood?

It all starts with online livestreaming, which has become very popular globally. There are hundreds of thousands of streamers out there now producing all kinds of live online content, like gaming or podcasting, and they’re followed by millions of fans around the world.

Now sometimes livestreamers, like anyone, also want to give back to society and support the causes they care about and so they use their online presence to "livestream for good".

We realised that some of these livestreamers have challenges in doing so - how do they get started, where do they find a charity to fundraise for, etc. At GivenGain, we created #GameForGood to enable any livestreamer out there, whether they are playing online games or hosting a cooking show, to use their online hobby to help their favourite charity.

They do so by simply linking their GivenGain fundraising page with their livestreaming. So, they're having fun and doing good! We’ve had 10 livestreamers who raised funds for Mandela Day 2021 by livestreaming for 67 minutes.

What are the main objectives of the initiative?

A lot of livestreamers want to use their platforms to give back but they don’t always know how. #GameForGood is about making it easy for them.

GivenGain is an online platform for charities, so we connect them with non-profits and donors around the world and offer them expert advice on setting up and promoting their campaigns.

Thanks to the GivenGain livestream widget we developed, they can also fundraise natively within their favourite streaming platforms.

To date, what has #GameForGood achieved both locally and internationally?

Since GivenGain launched the #GameForGood livestreaming option in 2019, fundraising around this theme has grown significantly.

Our average donation amount is R467 and the biggest single donation we received to date is R25,329. We have extended our support through this initiative to 43 charities in 28 countries across the globe.

The top eight livestreamers on GivenGain have all raised more than R10,000 and include Grant Hinds (R87,503), Afro Daddy (R57,800) and Hibeon Twitch - (R25,329). We were also really impressed by the diversity of high-earning livestreaming campaigns on GivenGain.

Obviously, gaming streamers like Grant Hinds took to #GameForGood immediately, but we also saw Afro Daddy complete viewer-suggested challenges for charity, and Lizzie Hide host an online Halloween party. It’s been a lot of fun seeing all this creativity on display.

How can gamers incorporate this fundraising element into their daily gaming activities?

GivenGain developed a widget that a livestreamer can add to their livestreaming overlay on an online platform like Twitch so that their fans can see it at the top of the screen, where the online activity is being livestreamed.

Viewers see the content as always, like a guy playing a game or running around, for example, but they’ll also see at the top of the screen the fundraising goal and how much has been raised.

Fans can then simply click on a unique donation link that the streamer will share with them, donate securely using their credit card and their name and the amount will pop up on the screen automatically for everyone to see.

The amount raised will increase in real-time. That's great interaction for everyone watching and very motivating to the person streaming.

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How can charities find gamers for fundraising and connect with gaming influencers?

We suggest they send out an e-mail or post on social media to introduce the idea to their fans/network.

Charities could also reach out to individual streamers who talk about topics related to their cause. They can find streamers already taking part in #GameForGood on the event page on GivenGain.

How do charities and fundraisers alike benefit from the #GameForGood initiative?

The biggest benefit is that it is 100% free to charities and livestreamers and they can game, but they can also do anything else that they want, like reading stories to children, giving tips on how to fix a bicycle or how to make the perfect lasagna.

For the livestreamer, there is very little effort involved to plug in the widget. They are still doing the thing they love and it is for a good cause, so it’s even better.

For charities, you just need to let your supporters know about the #GameForGood idea. Maybe there is someone out there who has been looking for an opportunity like this to support you.

With GivenGain, you can do all this from anywhere in the world for a charity anywhere in the world.

How has #GameForGood – and gaming-based fundraising in general – changed the charity and fundraising landscape?

It’s made fundraising more global and more accessible. Real-world mass participation events are incredible fundraising opportunities, but they also require fundraisers to be in a certain place at a certain time.

Now streamers can create online events with hundreds or thousands of people attending virtually – and donating – from wherever they are in the world.

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