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The fight against the spread of the coronavirus has instituted all-new social distancing regulations that affect every inch of society. All those digital tools that may have been optional have suddenly become necessary! Any nonprofits that have delayed incorporating digital into their communications strategies are now pressed to do so. To help your nonprofit move into this digital space, here’s a primer explaining the use of livestream in the fundraising landscape.

What Is Livestreaming?

Streaming allows people to effectively broadcast video to their own channels. When people are in quarantine, when they are in locked down, they’re thirsty for that type of content! Similarly, well-known individuals and organizations also want to create content and are happy to post what they are experiencing—whether it is the boredom of being at home or the stress of serving on the front lines of the fight with the virus.

Unlike video conference calls (i.e., FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Zoom, etc.), streaming takes place on Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Live Stream, Twitch, IGTV, and others. These platforms allow you to send video out to your followers and viewers and then engage with them as they comment and engage with you via messages and reactions.

How Can Livestreaming Facilitate Fundraising?

First there is the traditional stream. Here, the organization is the content creator, and they’re relying on their social media streaming channels as well as their base of social media followers to broadcast and boost awareness to them. This is a controlled, direct, and live appeal to their followers. Many nonprofits are using this to communicate their unique COVID perspective, broadcasting live from where they are executing their mission. Livestreams showing supporters, donors, people who care, what the nonprofit is doing, and more give viewers a personal look inside the organization. And along with that is a call to action, typically an invitation to give in support of this work being done.

Second, we’re seeing more and more volunteer, supporter, ambassador-driven content, where individuals are livestreaming on their own, to their followers, on behalf of a nonprofit organization, to raise funds for the cause. Of course, there are some risks because you lose control of the content—it’s live and not driven by your organization’s brand. Many nonprofits looking to stimulate and promote this type of peer-to-peer fundraising via livestream should provide guidelines and some coaching, but you’ll also need to have a lot of trust. Specifically, gaming has become a huge success with peer-to-peer campaigns. Gamers are playing and then making an appeal to the viewers, asking everyone to support the cause.

How Are Donations Received?

Once you determine the type of livestream content that fits your organization, you also have to think through how viewers can respond to your CTA.

Some platforms allow of direct donations via integrated buttons. You’ll have to follow the instructions to get that setup behind the scenes before you go live.

But even if you aren’t ready to take the step toward integrated donation collection, you can still direct your viewers to your online Give Page. Just make sure the URL is easy to remember and provide embedded links within the platforms wherever possible.


Listen to the podcast version of this here!