In July, the video gaming community came together once again for a good cause by livestreaming for hours straight to raise money for HelpHOPELive. The organization For Cairne Sake engages in monthly livestreaming events, selecting a new nonprofit cause for each mini-marathon.
Joshua Dunn, Farronox to his fans, is the organization’s Lead Project Coordinator. We asked him about gaming for a good cause and building a community of compassion for charity.
What was your first interaction with charity fundraising?
The first charity marathon I viewed was the Minecraft Marathon by the Qubetubers to benefit the nonprofit Child’s Play. I happened to tune in just as streamer Syntria said, “This is going so well, we’ll have to extend it through to tomorrow!” After that, I found the Mario Marathon, and those were the discoveries that set me on my path.
Why did charity streaming appeal to you?
What inspired me was the passion. Passion for gaming, first of all, since gaming is a pastime I love and spent most of my time on as a child. My passion for gaming turned into a passion for compassion. I knew I would be able to spend time I was already spending to empower others to do good things. It was my way of being sure I would leave a mark on the world.
My favorite thing about streaming for charity is the community it builds. The connection between gamers who love these causes and support them is full of compassion, and that shared compassion makes great things happen.
Why don’t you stream for personal financial gain?
Streaming for charity carries a twofold gain. It multiplies the good you can do personally by drawing in others to achieve something greater together. It also builds a community of compassion that, if nurtured, can grow to encompass even greater things, far more than anyone can do alone. Streaming for charity can also help unlock financial stability if you use it to build your reputation and influence.
How do you choose which causes to support?
I think that everyone is naturally inspired to support causes they are affected by personally. There’s a heartfelt connection that each community of like-minded individuals shares that makes people in those communities want to help each other. That’s why For Cairne Sake makes the effort to allow for a majority vote when choosing our monthly supported charity. By choosing through majority vote, we allow our team to express their passion for the cause that they hold dear while allowing us to support a varied range of nonprofit organizations.
Are you glad you chose HelpHOPELive?
So glad! This past event has become one of my favorites. Having a contact from the charity working so closely with us, tuning in, and actively engaging with us was hugely energizing. My favorite part of the marathon was during streamer Spiritonfire’s Chrono Trigger stream. We were able to discuss some of the important issues facing the people who work with HelpHOPELive and clear up misconceptions about transplantation and living donation. So many great things were discussed, including the day-to-day realities involved in the cause we were fundraising for. We were careful to make sure that the game got a decent amount of attention as well!
Do you think it’s important for streamers to remember that they can raise funds AND awareness?
Absolutely! It’s easy to get bogged down by whether or not your event is a fundraising success. Over the years, I’ve taught myself that anything done for charity is good and “enough.” It’s still hard to remember that at times. But it is during those times when donations are low or non-existent that you have to remember that even if you don’t raise anything, you still talked about the charity’s mission, educated yourself about something new, and had the opportunity to teach others.
We never know what will happen after an event. Who’s to say that one of the viewers engaged in our past marathon isn’t going to donate to HelpHOPELive at a later time? What matters is that they saw a passionate gamer talk about a cause that means something to them.
Can you give some tips to someone who wants to get involved in charity streaming?
Make the charity the priority. Be sure to talk about the cause enthusiastically and often. Try to educate as many viewers as you can about what you’re doing and why you’re there.
Interact with the chat. Answer questions, respond to comments and engage with those who come to watch. Call out lurkers (viewers who don’t say anything) because they are as important as the people who do interact. Inviting them to be involved is often enough.
Communicate why your event exists. This goes beyond the chat or info about the nonprofit. Make sure information about the event is visible wherever it can be viewed. Why your stream exists is the first thing people should see, whether on your Twitch page, visually displayed on the stream layout or on your website. If people don’t know why you’re streaming right away, they may not stick around long enough to find out.
The hardest part is drawing in viewers. It requires dedication and a lot of effort, but the effort is rewarded: with more communication and interaction comes more viewers, more donations and more people looking to do the same great things for a good cause.
Where would you like to see For Cairne Sake go in the future?
I would love to see For Cairne Sake become an organization that can stream for charity more regularly and for longer periods at a time. It would be nice to have a large team capable of managing a 24-hour schedule so we can raise for our Charity of the Month every day of the week rather than just two days out of the month.
The end goal is to reach that point and also be able to confidently turn For Cairne Sake into a registered nonprofit, enabling us to do much more to directly support causes around the world.
What does HOPE mean to you?
Hope means finding your away when you are lost. It means the possibility of survival when all paths have grown dark and you think there’s no chance.
Thanks for taking the time to speak with us!
I look forward to our next HelpHOPELive event!
You can connect with For Cairne Sake on charitylivestream.com and on Twitter @ForCairneSake.