Digital events

Macmillan for Gamechangers logo

Online charity gaming with Macmillan and Twitch

From 14 – 15 November 2015, some of the biggest gamers in the business took part in Macmillan’s Game Changers – a 24-hour marathon of online gaming, streamed live on our Twitch channel from Twitch HQ in Soho.

For those of you wondering what Twitch is, don’t know what a gamer is, haven’t got a scooby what online gaming entails, or why Macmillan have got involved, this post should clear it up.

Twitch is the world’s leading social video streaming platform, and community. The basic premise is that people can broadcast themselves playing video games live (we call them gamers), while interacting with those watching the action unfold. For people who enjoy computer games, it’s a fantastic way to connect with others who share their passion.

Some of the gamers on Twitch are so entertaining that they’ve grown massive followings and become major online influencers. Check out LTZonda (286,537 followers) and LeahLovesChief (89,367 followers).

That’s great but what’s it got to do with Macmillan?

In February 2015, Twitch commanded 1.8% of peak US internet traffic, a percentage beaten only by the giants Netflix, Google and Apple. That’s a lot of people using it! Check out these other stats from October 2015 which will blow your mind.

At Macmillan, we are actively trying to reach new audiences through our fundraising activity so we have to engage people in ways which appeal to them. With Twitch’s popularity, it makes the platform the perfect place for charities to connect with a whole new demographic.

A quick look at the user demographics over the past 30 days (from quantcast.com) shows that Twitch users are largely white males between the ages of 18-24, with an average household income of $0-50k. This has traditionally been a difficult audience for Macmillan to engage with outside of standard physical challenge events so this is a great place to find them.

Back in 2014, Adam Lyne raised over £40,000 for Macmillan in under a week by holding his own gaming marathon, so we knew there was serious potential with this audience. We noticed that although individuals were fundraising, there wasn’t much outside of this so decided to create our first organised charity gaming event. We asked Adam and some other gamers to get together and brainstorm how an event like this would work as we wanted it to be as credible as possible – run for, and by gamers.

What happened on the day?

With Twitch’s help, 17 popular gamers were brought on board to take part in our main Game Changers event which was streamed live on the Macmillan Twitch account.

People sitting in front of a large wall mounted screen in a room at Twitch headquarters. They are pleaying video games and wearing headsets with microphones..

While gaming, they encouraged viewers to donate by agreeing to complete challenges. For example, when someone donated £1000, one gamer shaved their eyebrow off live on the stream. Nice! There was even a wheel of misfortune which was spun whenever a fundraising target was met. Onions were eaten, legs were shaved, eyebrows were waxed, hair was dyed, hot sauce was eaten and even Muggy (our Coffee Morning mug costume) was worn.

A collage of the gamers doing their challenges like shaving their eyebrows, eating onions, dying their hair and wearing shower caps.

It wasn’t just traditional gaming which was being streamed though. Beth Freeman, a talented creative streamer who streams different kinds of art, produced this original piece for Macmillan, and her stream has raised a staggering £1,368 so far.

A piece of art depicting two computer screens, keyboard and a Game Changers mug full of coffee

Alongside the main event, we also encouraged supporters to hold their own DIY 24-hour gaming marathons and raise money by completing forfeits.

One of our gamers Valkia, chronicled the day in this YouTube video.

Has Game Changers been a success?

We definitely think so. The event has raised £60,704 so far and there will be further DIY events taking place till the end of the year so we expect that total to rise. On our main stream, over 2 years worth of footage was watched over the 24 hours, and there were up to 2000 viewers at any one time. Our second stream which took place on Adam Lyne’s own channel got over double this, so that’s plenty of engagement.

This is just the beginning of Macmillan’s relationship with gaming so watch this space.

Thanks to Twitch for giving up their headquarters and helping to run this event. And thanks also to our sponsors HyperX and Xbox for helping to make the first year of Game Changers such a success.

Thoughts? Questions about this post? Leave a comment below or tweet us @mac_digital, we’d love to chat.

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