Hosting a charity stream on your channel is a wonderful way to give back, especially if you use Streamlabs Charity as we give charities 100% of the funds raised. To learn what makes a good charity stream, we’ll take a look at Twitch Streamer and YouTuber lilsimsie (Kayla Sims), a creator who has hosted countless charity streams with great success. Lilsimsie (“Simsie” for short) is predominantly known for her Sims 4 YouTube videos and tutorials. You can also find her streaming every day on Twitch. If you can’t catch her live, check out her VODs on her second YouTube channel, moresimsie.
1. Choose a cause that’s important or personal to you
There are so many charities around the world that deserve our support, making it hard to choose the right one for your live stream. Therefore, we recommend choosing a charity that you have a personal connection with in order to help endear it to your viewers. Lilsimsie supports a number of causes, but she shares a personal connection with St. Jude because one of her close family members has cancer. Because of this connection, donors almost feel as if they’re supporting the charity and lilsimsie at the same time.
2. Promote, promote, promote
In order to have as many viewers as possible, promote your live stream across various social media platforms ahead of time. Give yourself at least a week or two to promote your stream, making sure to post multiple reminders as the time draws nearer. If the charity you’re supporting has a social media presence, consider reaching out to them directly. Who knows? They may even direct people to your stream to help you gain more viewers and donors.
3. Host giveaways and use them as donation incentives
Though most people support donating to charity, not everyone will show up when called to action. One thing people will always show up for though, is free stuff. In order to encourage viewer participation, lilsimsie often gives download codes for Sims 4 expansion packs during her charity live streams. She spaces the giveaways throughout her stream, so people need to actively watch to make sure they don’t miss their chance to enter.
For your charity stream, try giving away a few small items—the trick is not to say when. Even if people are only there for the giveaway (which isn’t great but can’t be helped), the more people you have hanging out in your live stream, the better. Streamlabs Cloudbot can help you give away items of your choice, like merch. Check out our article on how to run a giveaway with Streamlabs Cloudbot. You can also host giveaways where people have to donate (rather than simply type a word in chat) to be entered. This article on how to run a timed giveaway for charity will show you how.
4. Break up your main goal into smaller chunks with incentives
Depending on your follower and average viewer count, come up with a lofty yet achievable goal for your charity stream. Then, break up your goal into smaller chunks and list rewards for each amount. The Milestones tool within your Streamlabs Charity profile is perfect for this—this article on the Milestones widget will show you how to set it up. In August of 2021, lilsimsie hosted a charity live stream for AbleGamers with the ultimate goal of 100K USD. To incentivize viewers to donate, she offered rewards at 25K, 35K, 50K, etc. including a future drinking stream, something her viewers really wanted to see.
For some reason, viewers love watching streamers suffer (in a jovial and safe manner, of course). Consider incorporating activities into your goals where your viewers can watch you squirm, whether it be eating something unpleasant or attempting a frustrating challenge in a video game. Another fundraising method lilsimsie tried (with great success) was in October of 2021, when she let her viewers control her game based on the dollar amounts they donated. Ten dollar donations granted her sim some much-needed cash while $50 donations took away a big chunk of her sim’s money. The higher the donation, the harder life became for her sim, with a $500 donation requiring her to bulldoze her sim’s home and start from scratch.
5. Do something special on stream
For your charity stream, try doing something a little different from your usual content to encourage your viewers to make a point to show up. While lilsimsie usually plays the Sims 4 on stream, she’ll often attempt difficult challenges such as Rags to Riches or the infamous 100 Baby challenge. She also incorporates other activities such as baking and dyeing her husband’s hair.
To try this on your own charity stream, think about your usual content and how it can be tweaked to make it just a touch more special. You can also put feelers out during your normal streams and ask your viewers what they’d like to see. You can cosplay as your favorite game character, do some cooking or crafting, or simply stream for longer than your usual time.
6. Dollar Donation Trains for the win
Oftentimes, viewers don’t have a lot to give and will avoid donating because they think a few dollars won’t make much of a difference. Lilsimsie is great at reminding people that while large donations are wonderful, small donations made by many people can have just as much of an impact. She’ll often encourage $1.00 donation trains, which have the same fun energy as a Twitch Hype Train but with even more positive vibes.
Try encouraging dollar donation trains throughout your charity live stream. To kick one off, give a short speech on why small donations are important. Dollar trains are especially effective when you’re near one of your goals, so keep an eye on your numbers and don't be afraid to suggest one when you’re getting close.
7. Come up with funny donation ideas (donating as pets, celebs, etc.)
Speaking of donation trains, viewers love jumping in when a funny donation thread starts. On lilsimsie’s August 2021 charity stream, someone donated as “Simsie’s Right Toe” around the six hour mark. This made her chuckle and jokingly encourage viewers to donate as toes. Within minutes, donations flooded in from viewers trying to outdo each other with ridiculous toe-related puns, from “Little Toe Peep” to “Jeffrey Betoes.” Donating as pets is also a popular pastime on Simsie’s streams, with viewers leaving cute messages like, “I stole my mom’s wallet because she took me to the vet yesterday.”
Though kicking off a quirky donation train isn’t always easy, “Toe-nation 2021” might not have occurred had Simsie not encouraged it. Before your charity stream, think of funny donation ideas and keep them at the ready. If donation activity is low, try challenging your viewers to get creative with one of the ideas from your list.
8. Thank every donor
One of the best things about Lilsimsie is that not only does she try her best to thank each and every donor, she gives thanks with the same sincerity, regardless of the dollar amount. Giving too much attention to large donations can discourage smaller ones (and vice versa) so try your best to show the same appreciation to each donor.
9. Show media from your charity of choice during your breaks
When streaming for long periods of time, particularly during a charity event when the pressure is amped up, breaks are important. Try killing two birds with one stone and showing videos from your charity at timed intervals so you can step away, stretch, and grab a snack. When Simsie streams for AbleGamers, a charity that helps make gaming more accessible for those with disabilities, she often shows short, three minute videos featuring those who have been directly helped by the organization. This allows viewers to learn more about the charity and inspires donations while allowing Simsie much-needed breaks.
Try playing different videos from your charity every half hour or hour. If you can’t find any videos, try contacting the charity directly or make your own. You can create recordings with Streamlabs Desktop, such as browsing the charity’s website or showing Google Slides with voiceover.
10. Use Streamlabs Cloudbot to spawn your donation link
If you don’t have a team of mods to control your chat, Cloudbot has got you covered. With Cloudbot, you can schedule messages to appear in chat at timed intervals. Try using Cloudbot to spawn the link to your donation page every few minutes, particularly if you have an active chat so the link doesn’t get buried. You can also use Cloudbot to remind you to take water and stretch breaks.
Another very cool feature that Streamlabs Charity offers is a unique QR code for you to display on your stream. Viewers simply have to scan the code with their smartphone and will be brought to your donation page. Once you’ve created your charity campaign, you can find your QR code in your Streamlabs Charity profile under media assets.
Hopefully we’ve inspired you to start your own charity fundraising campaign. To learn more, you can visit Streamlabs Charity or check out this article on how to start a campaign. Don’t forget to stop by lilsimsie’s Twitch channel to catch her live or stop by the moresimsie YouTube channel to see one of her charity VODs. Good luck with your charity live stream!