Live-streaming digital platforms have been around for some years. But when the pandemic made in-person gatherings no longer feasible and confined people to their homes, the take-up and growth of these services took off dramatically. Many charities now regard live streams as the new telethons, and they’ve already raised millions for good causes.

Variety joined the trend in late 2020, holding a Zoom-based virtual Christmas quiz event in partnership with Accessible Retail. However, it took a recent successful gaming live stream fundraising event hosted by OnceUponaWillow and fellow Twitch streamer, kiramillie (who go by their Twitch usernames) to make Variety really sit up and take notice of the potential of Twitch – a next-generation video-streaming platform that offers a fun, social way to watch people play games or perform music.

Having successfully built up a large online Twitch community and become a Twitch affiliate (which allows her to monetise her channel), OnceUponaWillow began to think about how she could leverage her following to make a positive difference. She also knew that supporting a cause can be a great way to bring your community together around a common goal. “The community aspect is what I really do this for,” says OnceUponaWillow. “Being a streamer has opened doors for me and I love its inclusivity.”

OnceUponaWillow and kiramillie celebrated their birthdays a day apart from each other. They decided they wanted to jointly mark the occasion by hosting a Twitch charity streaming fundraiser, called a ‘special event’, in January this year.

Together, they trawled through lists of charities on Tiltify, a fundraising platform, to choose the cause they most wanted to support. They were both really struck by Variety’s mission statement and what the charity stands for.

Having picked Variety, the two women then needed to reach out to their Twitch communities to gain their support. “Your Twitch followers can choose to subscribe to support you monetarily – and, thankfully, both our communities were on-board with our Variety fundraiser,” says OnceUponaWillow, who streams her gameplay to her audiences seven days a week.

On the day of the fundraiser, OnceUponaWillow and kiramillie co-hosted the live stream for nine hours altogether. They started off playing an action survival game called ‘Dead by Daylight’ and then switched to another game for the last two hours. People joined them on the stream, chatting and commenting as they played, and donating at key milestones in the game. Tiltify works closely with Twitch to embed fundraising tools directly into user streams so viewers can easily donate to a charity of the streamer’s choice. 

“The fact that we did it together, really helped,” comments OnceUponaWillow. “At first, kiramillie was sceptical, but as it turned out, her audience, in particular, went crazy with the fundraising, especially during the first hour. I’m so proud of our little community for raising £392.14 for Variety!”

To anyone thinking of hosting their own streaming fundraiser on behalf of Variety, she adds the following: “Charity streams can be a great way to build your audience on Twitch. And it’s super-easy to set up a Twitch fundraising live stream session. Acting selflessly can mean so much to someone else – you’ll never know just how much unless you do it. I really like what Variety stands for and would encourage more people my age to be selfless and support disabled and disadvantaged children, who might not have a voice.”

kiramillie says: “Playing games online is something I do already, so hosting a gaming charity stream, which means so much to a cause like Variety, made complete sense. It was so easy, an absolute no-brainer – you literally just press a button. I hadn’t heard of Variety before, but it was obviously a good charity to pick, helping vulnerable children to have a good quality of life and providing them with a similar experience to what I had growing up.”

Off the back of the successful fundraiser, OnceUponaWillow began thinking about how she could further support Variety. She’s currently running another Twitch streaming campaign for Variety – called ‘A Very Variety Valentine’, from February 8th to March 5th 2022. She comments: “I am so excited to be raising even more money for this amazing charity!”

Gaming fundraising is here to stay, and we’re looking at how Variety can make the most of it – and new platforms like Twitch – in the future. 

How to fundraise for Variety via Twitch

Whether you hold a 24-hour gaming live stream or set your friends a challenge, fundraising via Twitch is a great way to support Variety. Here’s how:

  • You’ll need to set up a Twitch account to start live streaming.
  • Next, you can connect your account to JustGiving to collect donations while you stream.
  • Decide on your challenge and how much you’d like to raise. Whether you raise £100 or £10,000, every penny counts towards providing vital support for disabled and disadvantaged children.
  • Invite your friends and family to join in the fun and support you while you live stream your gaming. Most importantly – have fun!