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Insights on working with brands for prizing during charity fundraising

Libby Kamen (aka Askesienne) is a community management and marketing specialist in the gaming & livestreaming space. As the Chief Marketing Officer of Radiance Media, she seeks to create meaningful and authentic influencer relationships that help create connections in the digital era. In addition to her own broadcasts, she also manages Team Kitty – a stream team aimed at women’s empowerment in gaming.


Hello, all! My name is Libby Kamen, and on the internet I go by Askesienne

I’m a community management & marketing specialist, with a focus on the livestreaming space and how broadcasters, brands, and communities can band together to create change. In addition to my industry roles, I cofounded Radiance Media, a marketing agency designed at helping brands break authentically in the gaming space – and I manage Team Kitty, a broadcaster team aimed at empowering women. As a whole, the team has raised over $180,000 for various charities in the last three years. 

I’m excited to be joining up with Alyssa from Influencer Fundraising for a guest post today. I began streaming myself in 2014, inspired to go live by starting with a charity streamathon. On Team Kitty, I help arrange our charity campaigns; opening doors with organizations, getting our streamers the right information so they can rock their broadcasts, and curating giveaways and prize packs to incentivize donors even further. 

Alyssa asked me to share some thoughts on how our team works with brands to help create those prizing pools, to hopefully help lend insight on how nonprofit organizations or creators could also do so themselves. We’ve found that announcing giveaways can lift our donation total by 15% or more, and even encourage donors who’ve already given to increase their existing pledge to a campaign. 

To start, identifying brands (games, products, or communities) that align well with the mission of the organization is key to ensuring that the prizes or giveaways will motivate the audience. An NPO aimed at raising awareness for health & wellness, for example, may not want to be giving away packages of energy drinks to donors – and the donors who (obviously) care about health & wellness probably don’t want them, either!

It can also be immensely helpful to look at the broadcasters’ demographic information when planning a campaign’s giveaway options. We’ve found a great deal of success working with gaming peripheral brands or game studios for product, since typically a gaming streamer’s viewer is also a gamer, and would want high-quality accessories to go with their existing gear. 

Whether you’re reaching out to a brand as the organization or the creator, being able to present key metrics to the brand can help to curate an appropriate prize pool. For example, in Team Kitty’s most recent giveaway, we presented to potential brand partners exactly how many streamers were participating, along with up-to-date information on their concurrent viewership, watch time, and a few other social media metrics to help the companies understand exactly what kind of attention this campaign might bring. We also provided examples of other charity events we’d done, with specifics on how much they’d raised for the campaign and what similar prize donations had helped to create. In our case, this allowed companies we’d already worked with (and even some we’d just pitched to for the first time) to decide on the quantity of product they’d offer for our donor prizes. 

After you’ve determined your prize pool, the next step is to make sure the dollar-value for each prize pool entry makes sense for the item, and properly incentivizes the chance of winning something, without making the donor feel like they could have just gone out and bought the item themselves instead. This might be something a sponsoring brand wants to determine, or they may leave it up to the creators. This will vary heavily based on the incentive, the number of expected donors based on the channel’s size, and the value of the item itself. The key is making sure the community feels comfortable giving that amount of money to the campaign, even if they don’t end up winning the prize in return. (And, of course, check applicable platform guidelines and regional laws for how to appropriately run this sort of giveaway!)

Finally; you’ve arrived at the campaign. Whether you’re representing an organization, or you’re a content creator looking to fundraise, there’s a number of things you can do to help out the ‘other side’. From a nonprofit’s side, giving clear talking points, deliverables, & media assets for the streamer to use can help them create even clearer calls to action for their community. For influencers, clear representation of your channel’s metrics during and after the campaign, and maintaining communication with the organization helps keep visibility clear & your channel supported. No matter what, you’re building something awesome together. 

I sincerely hope my little slice of experience in this space has been helpful to you as you plan your next influencer fundraising campaign. If you want to connect with me, I’m always happy to answer questions. You can find me on Twitter, Twitch, LinkedIn, and YouTube – where I’m about to launch a series on community management for creators. I want to give a big thank-you to Alyssa for inviting me to guest post, and wish you all the best of luck with your next charity campaign! 

Early Covid-19 Charity Education Panels

When Covid-19 first hit hard with shelter in place, I was all of a sudden inundated with charities wanting to understand charity and Twitch. I hosted several panels with influencers and one with Tiltify.

These were hosted with speed in mind over production. The panels were recorded using Google Meet after a federal mandate of social distancing and IRL events were cancelled – please excuse the tech issues.

Join Alyssa Sweetman as she moderators a panel with Twitch streamers TheOnlyRyann, PleasantlyTwstd and DMPeyer. The streamers discuss what goes into their preparation for when they do a charity stream and what things they like to see out of charities
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This was recorded on March 17, 2020.
Join Alyssa Sweetman as she moderators a panel with Twitch streamers GamrEnchantment, PleasantlyTwstd and DMPeyer. The streamers discuss what goes into their preparation for when they do a charity stream and what things they like to see out of charities.
This was recorded on March 25, 2020.
Join Alyssa Sweetman as she moderators a panel with Twitch streamers GamrEnchantment, PleasantlyTwstd and DMPeyer. The streamers discuss what goes into their preparation for when they do a charity stream and what things they like to see out of charities.

This was recorded on March 27, 2020
Join Alyssa Sweetman as she moderators a panel with Twitch streamers TkBreezy, PleasantlyTwstd, DMPeyer and special guest from LATINX in Gaming, Cristina. This panel dives into what their experiences have been like working with organizations as people of color in the gaming and content creation space.

This was recorded on April 2, 2020
Join Alyssa Sweetman as she moderators a panel with Tiltify Charity Success Managers Daniel “iKasperr” Bong, Ashley “Ashleeeeen” Mandel and Brian Montgomery. Listen in as we discuss some frequently asked questions by charities new to the space.

This was recorded on March 27, 2020

Hire an Influencer Fundraising Program Manager

One of the best things you can do when your organization starts down the path of creating an influencer fundraising program is to hire a person to manage that program.

Anecdotally, each charity I have worked with that invested in a program manager saw results faster than those who did not, and they saw more repeat fundraisers than those who did not. While organizations may call the role something different, the role is roughly the same across most organizations.

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions that I have received regarding hiring an influencer fundraising program manager:

What exactly is an influencer fundraising program manager? The job of this individual is to work with online content creators/influencers, online communities, and organizations to recruit digital fundraisers and execute custom fundraising activations.

What’s the difference between an influencer fundraising program manager and a community manager? A community manager is similar to a program manager in that they both focus on working with external parties and executing programs; however, community manager is a relatively new title and is concentrated in the gaming / influencer sphere. In general, a program manager often has additional responsibilities beyond a community manager’s role such as exploring fundraising opportunities with any and all digital influencers rather than just gaming. That said, many use the terms interchangeably.

Does the individual I hire need to be a streamer? No, they just need to be well versed in social media platforms, general marketing strategies, and why they care about your cause.

What background would be ideal for candidates? Good starting places include Influencer Marketing, Community Management, Brand Campaign Managers, and (non-technical) Program Managers. You’re looking for somebody who has strong communication skills and a high emotional intelligence.

Who would this person report to in my organization? The same person your social media manager reports to (but not the social media manager directly). It’s also important to note that community managers are not social media managers. You can learn more about the difference on Sprout Social.

What kind of goals should I set for this position? While output goals can be a good metric (number of fundraisers in a year or amount raised in a year), the best goals to measure the success of this role are input goals. Examples include:

  • Number of new influencers reached out to over a given period.
  • Number of returning influencers reached out to over a given period.
  • Prepare monthly / quarterly reports.
  • Specific initiatives such as working with a team of influencers on an activation once a quarter
  • Identifying key events to travel to and the goals for each trip.

If I hire an influencer part-time to take on this role, what kind of boundaries and expectations should I have?

  • Workload expectations – You may decide to hire an influencer that is still in the throes of their career, and without setting expectations your cause may not be a priority. Be very clear on the boundaries and expectations as well as the goals you’d like to work towards.
  • Consultant vs community manager – If you hire a part-time consultant, note that you’re paying for a review of the work you’re doing and feedback on how it may be received by other influencers. Consultants are not expected to act as community managers or represent your organization on their social media.

At the end of the day you’re going to have to decide what you want this role to be at your organization. As long as you remain flexible and open as the role develops within your organization, you’re set up for success.

Sample Job Description

The Influencer Fundraising Program Manager (or Community Manager) will work with online content creators/influencers, online communities, and organizations. The ideal candidate has a customer service mentality, rich history with awareness campaigns, charity events, or influencer campaigns, a passion for working with influencers, and the desire to combine those qualities into an exciting career.

Responsibilities

  • Assist content creators/influencers, online communities, and organizations in creating and executing upon a variety of content opportunities
  • Educate content creators in best practices for utilizing our tools and resources
  • Manage and strengthen relationships with existing influencer fundraisers
  • Identify key ambassadors for the organization.
  • Work with the Marketing team to identify brand safe content creators/influencers, online communities, and organizations events.
  • Work with brands in gaming and influencer marketing to identify possible campaigns.

Requirements

  • Excellent verbal, written, and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to work effectively and accurately under pressure
  • Detail-oriented, organized, flexible, and highly motivated
  • Excellent collaboration skills and proven ability to work in a fast-paced environment
  • Polished communication and customer service skills
  • Love of content creation and influencers
  • Ability to travel to various events as needed
  • Love of learning and growth mindset

Bonus Points

  • Experience with organizing or coordinating live-streamed charity events
  • Familiarity with the fundraising platform Tiltify 
  • Familiarity with Twitch, YouTube, Mixer, and TikTok
  • Strong existing relationships within the online community
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university

Interested in connecting with influencers who want to take on this role at your organization? Shoot me an email at alyssa@influencerfundraising.com with the subject: Influencer Fundraising Program Manager Role. If you’re an influencer and you’d like to add your resume to the pool, please email me your resume with the same subject line.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital pivoted when Covid-19 canceled their annual summit and you can too!

On March 9th St. Jude announced that the annual in-person Play Live Summit would need to be replaced with an all new digital experience due to the growing concerns of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19. 

The St. Jude Play Live Summit is a tradition that started in 2015 with 15 individuals (crying and) walking the halls of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Since then the summit has become a gathering kindred spirits who believe in the mission of St. Jude.

The fist St. Jude Play Live Summit | Spring 2015

That belief in the St. Jude mission and the impact of seeing the work and research done at the hospital has given thousands of influencers the power of authentic story telling and last year in the month of May those same influencers crushed a $2 million community goal.

So with the summit cancelled St. Jude pivoted quickly and created an amazing “summit in a box”.

Inside the box are tools to learn about St. Jude, things to share with your community, and fundraising challenge tools.

St. Jude didn’t need to go as far as providing fundraising challenge tools (incentives/rewards). They could have sent a much smaller box focused on just providing learning materials focused on St. Jude and their mission.

The VR experience showcasing a “no more chemo” party (my personal favorite) and AR patient artwork was more than enough to pull at my heartstrings.

Instead of just asking influencers to fundraise for them, they took the time to set them up for success. You likely have heard me talk about impact statements and St. Jude arms their influencers to the teeth with them.

The summit in a box included all the supplies for influencers to include the fundamental donation incentives. Most seasoned influencers already have these items on hand.

Take aways

It is unrealistic to expect that a “summit in a box” is something your nonprofit will be able to execute on right off the get-go; however, there are key learnings you can take back to your team.

All of the creative ideas you have ever wanted to try are now possible with influencers.

One of the biggest wins you get to experience when it comes to working with influencers is all of the crazy online fundraising ideas you have wanted to try are within reach. This does not mean they will all be a hit success but it opens the door to outside the box programs.

St. Jude created an experience that, while it replaced their in person summit this year, has the ability to be recreated and used in during other influencer fundraising campaigns.

Setting up influencers to succeed is key.

Perhaps one of the most asked questions I get is, “The information is freely available on our website. Why would I need to create separate or additional resources for influencers?”

First – if you do not make it easy for influencers to fundraise for you they are likely to pick another charity who has taken the steps to set them up for success.

Secondly – just like you would create a package of fundraising tools and information for your run/walk or birthday program demographics you would also create a package of tools that would fit the demographics of the influencer.

Influencers know their audience better than you do.

St. Jude took the time to prepare a bunch of tools and information and some influencers will use exactly zero of the tools provided. Maybe it doesn’t fit their style but it is important to provide all the resources for those who might use the tools.

For example, when I work on fundraising campaigns I personally take the time to curate my list of impact statements and build a campaign around them. I am unlikely to use the charity’s logo or even need to communicate with the charity.

In other cases the influencer may want to run everything they do by you even if only to validate their efforts.

Influencers come in all shapes and sizes, their approaches are far and wide but in the end they know their audience better than you do. They built it.

So take a page out of St. Jude’s book and brainstorm ideas how you can take your program to the next level.

If you’re looking to connect with Twitch you can reach out directly using charity@twitch.tv. If you’d like to discuss your program in more detail outside of how it works with just Twitch please feel free to reach out to me outside of Twitch.

What’s the deal with charity live-streaming on Twitch?

By now you have probably heard about how Twitch streamers have raised millions of dollars for charity. If you haven’t, you should know that since 2011 Twitch creators have amassed over $200 million for charities around the world. The number of creators fundraising for charity increases all the time and creators who have fundraised in the past seek to keep a regular cadence on supporting causes they are passionate about. 

It is important to note that I am using the term creator and not gamer. These individuals are so much more than gamers. When somebody hears “gamer” most individuals will have a very dated idea of what that means, even though adult women outnumber any other group for “gamers” in North America. Creators or online influencers are small business owners. And being a small business owner is many jobs in one (e.g. Brand Manager, Marketing, Production etc).

Creators spend hours outside of their live stream perfecting their craft and analyzing data to make business decisions. It is important to know that playing a game on stream is just a content decision not their entire identity as a creator. While gaming is the most prevalent thing streamed on Twitch it is not the only type of content. You can watch art, music and fitness outside of gaming. 

Joker / Joaquin Phoenix Painting Session on Twitch from raluca gheorghe on Vimeo.

How do I get Twitch creators to participate in my influencer fundraising programs?

Why do creators raise money on Twitch? Creators are motivated by several factors when choosing a charity to fundraise while streaming. 

  • The charity addresses a cause they are passionate about. 
  • They want to take part in an established larger campaign –– you already have some of these!
  • They are incentivized to join a campaign –– your corporate partners can help with this!

Why are their fans or viewers motivated to donate during a charity live-stream?

  • Their creator is passionate and authentic in asking for support and donations.
  • They love their creator and want to see them succeed at their milestones and goals.
  • They are incentivized to donate based on rewards offered by the creator. The best incentives are ones that are engaging with the audience.

Let’s address the elephant in the room, “gaming might be bad for your organization’s brand”. Often I am asked about maintaining control over your organization’s brand and image on a live stream. Concerns stem from what incentives might be offered, how the creator might talk about your organization, and what games they might play.

The easiest way to overcome this hurdle is to compare it to a birthday campaign on Facebook or a run-walk event. You do not vet what individuals say or post on their Facebook pages. You do not scour their timeline to make sure that they have never posted anything out of line with your brand. You do not screen every run-walk participant to make sure they are safe brand ambassadors. Creators (influencers) should be treated the same. Unless you are endorsing this individual do not fret. Telling a creator thank you for their fundraising efforts or inviting the masses to participate in your program is not a direct endorsement of the Creator or their content choices.

Besides you're working with creators or influencers not gamers.

Let’s get started

You might be thinking, “Great! I’m interested, how do I get started?” First you’ll want to sign-up on Tiltfiy through their charity portal or similar platform. Once you’ve set up your account and have been activated you’ll want to start thinking about what resources you’d like to provide to creators. Some resources include: 

  • One-page pdf with bite-sized information and impact statements.
  • Short videos (60-90 secs) showcasing your organizations impact
  • Statistic graphics
  • Logo for use –– if you don’t creators might us an outdated or pixel-ly one from google image search.

Once you are accessible and have provided resources, you’ll want to start making connections with creators. You’ll want to make connections with all sizes of creators, not just the ones you’ve read about in the news.

Let’s find some creators

Social Media: Announce where your followers can create live stream fundraising campaign for you. Ask on Twitter what Twitch creators employees should watch on their break. 

Approaching Twitch creators: It is recommended that you do not reach out to a creator through their chat while they are live.

Go on Twitch: You never know who you might connect with in chat. Check out my break down of streaming on Twitch as an organization.

Put it on your website: Wounded Warrior Project is a great example. You never know who might be looking at your website.

E-mail: Creators typically have their email publicly listed on their social media or Twitch channel. When reaching out to creators keep in mind they likely receive an abundance of emails and may be slow to respond to you. Always be authentic.

While you’re exploring this new and exciting digital fundraising space remember creators are business owners and public figures (not matter how big or small). You should focus on making connections and making sure that creators have everything they need from you to put on an entertaining and informed live stream.

Don’t worry creators know their audience better than you do and they put in a lot of work when putting on a live-stream charity fundraiser.

Originally posted on LinkedIn on March 14, 2020.

Why aren’t you live-streaming on Twitch yet?

The Twitch platform is a magical place for charities and NGOs. Not only does the community fundraise and spread awareness for you, but your organization can branch and stream too. 

You are probably reading this right now thinking, “my organization doesn’t have anything that would draw in viewers or build a community on Twitch.” 

And you would be very wrong.

“So Alyssa, tell us what should we be live-streaming?

  • Question and Answer sessions – many of your organizations would benefit by putting a face or two to your organization. People trust people (faces) not organizations. You can even do things during your Q&A sessions (color, paint, play Stardew Valley, exercise… whatever floats your boat). 
  • Public Panels – use the cool and awesome features (like extensions) on Twitch to field questions, vote or get suggestions.
  • A tour around your facilities – You can live-stream directly from your phone and showcase the work your organization is doing in real time to people who could become donors or even better –– fundraisers! This is great for research centers, food banks, animal conservation, shelters and more! 
  • Animals – if your organization has a central location with animals. Animal cams 24/7. Seriously, animal streams. 

The best part about live-streaming yourself is you can collect donations through your organization’s live-stream and let others know how they can mobilize for you. And you don’t need to be live-streaming video games. In fact, it’s better if you don’t. Video games are a saturated market –– be unique, try something new! And don’t forget to tell your base when you’re live on Twitch!

There are a few things you should consider as you venture into this amazing community.

  • Be consistent –– it’s better to stream three times a week at least 2-3 hours at time. If all your organization can do is once a week/month for a set period of time, that’s okay. Just be consistent. (You can’t watch your favorite tv shows if you never know when they’re live)
  • Moderation –– Twitch has great moderation tools. Use them and use them liberally. 
  • Tell everybody you are live –– more of your base would watch than you think they would. People on Twitch are not an “other” and they won’t respond too well if you act like they are.
  • Have fun!

Got questions shoot me an email charity@twitch.tv

Here are some resources for live-streaming.

See you live on Twitch!

Originally posted on LinkedIn on March 13, 2020

Here’s why your paid influencer fundraising campaign isn’t successful.

Online influencer based fundraising has taken the nonprofit world by storm in the last two years, particularly live streaming fundraising. On Twitch alone $55 million was raised for nonprofits world wide in 2019, up from $42 million in 2018.

Media and consulting agencies are taking notice and looking to get a slice of the pie. They are pitching creative brand x influencer x nonprofit crossovers and nonprofits are spending more than they are getting in return and when a paid influencer fundraising campaign performs poorly hopes of getting internal resources to fully support influencer fundraising dwindles.

Media and consulting agencies cannot create an authentic relationship between your organization and the influencer doing the fundraising. Influencers are in the business of authenticity and a media or consulting agency will not tell your story the way you do. They will do exactly what is asked of them and often agencies ask influencers to tell the story in an inauthentic way without the best tools. Additionally, these influencers are uninvested in becoming a reoccurring fundraiser for you.

Influencers know their audience better than you do.

The goal of any nonprofit organization is to create an environment of reoccurring fundraising and donations, paid activations do not yield a year over year commitment (unless you pay for it year over year).

While it is not instantly scaleable creating your influencer fundraising program –– it is worth it, especially on Twitch. Nonprofits who make the necessary investments in the community and the influencers (Twitch Creators) they ask to fundraise will thrive.

The necessary investment is an authentic relationship.

Check out my session on GroupThinkers or The sgENGAGE Podcast. If you’re interested in diving into the topic more thoroughly with me please message me.

Originally posted on LinkedIn on March 6, 2020