How a small team of livestreamers raised over $12,000 for childhood cancer research

Eleven livestreamers teamed up and raised $12,399 in just five days for their World Cancer Day campaign. We talked to three of these livestreamers about how they use their platforms to entertain, educate and fundraise for good.

When COVID-19 made it much less possible for Jarek Mueller, Stephanie Kelter and Katie Arcand to meet with friends in-person, they took their hobbies online. Jarek started streaming himself playing video games. Stephanie (who goes by the username CalyxCreative) started livestreams so she could meet new people who also enjoyed gaming and crafting. Katie (username TheKatIsALie) used her streams to interact with friends while creating perler bead art, knitting or gaming. It became a great way to get the social interaction they needed without having to leave home. But as World Cancer Day approached, Katie started thinking of ways she could rally the community of streamers she’d met around a common cause she’s passionate about – fundraising for childhood cancer research.

Katie gathered a team of 11 streamers to use their platforms to fundraiser for CCRF the week of World Cancer Day. They named their team Team #FightForThe43, a reference to the 43 children each day who are diagnosed with cancer. Over a five-day campaign, this team raised $12,399 for childhood cancer research. We asked them what inspired them to support the cause and how others can do the same.

Why did you decide to use your livestream talents to fundraise for CCRF?

Stephanie (left) and Katie (right) during the #FightForThe43 livestreaming fundraiser for World Cancer Day.

Katie: I’ve worked at Children’s Cancer Research Fund for 13 years, so I’ve done a few fundraisers for them before, but this World Cancer Day campaign was definitely the biggest. It’s been a really fulfilling experience, because it lets me bring people together and rally them around something I’m already passionate about.

Jarek: I’d never done a livestream fundraiser before this. I got into it because a friend of mine saw that I was getting into streaming, and he told me I should check out Katie’s stuff. She let me know about CCRF and how I could help fundraise, and now we’re great friends – someday, we’ll get a beer together.

Stephanie: I did a livestream at the beginning of COVID for the Trevor Project as sort of a replacement for in-person Pride events that were cancelled because of COVID-19, and it raised more than I thought it would. I was interested in trying it again, and a friend told me to talk to Katie. I contacted her on Instagram and she talked me through how to do it, and it ended up being pretty easy.

What motivated people who watched your stream to give for kids fighting cancer?

Jarek: First, people love to make you do something silly for a good cause. We did a lot of things like if someone donates, I’ll eat super hot hot sauce or something. But I think the audience understands that’s not the point, and I was excited that a lot of people who were watching got really interested in the cause. I got a lot of my streaming community repeating some of the stuff I was saying about why research is important, and how for every $1 you donate, researchers can leverage that to get $18 from other sources.

Katie: I think people were motivated to know that no matter how much they give, that amount can make a difference. It helped that we were able to say, even if you can’t contribute money, here’s how you can advocate for us and tell your friends why this matters. It was cool to feel like we had a platform to make people more globally aware of CCRF and what we do.

Stephanie: CCRF was able to give our team of streamers a ton of great info to share, which was really motivating for people. Sometimes if you want to fundraise for a cause, you know why it’s important, but you don’t quite have all the facts and information info you need to advocate and tell other people why it’s important. CCRF had this guide that put all that info in one place, and that made it much easier to relay to our viewers the importance of helping our cause.

How much did you know about childhood cancer before being introduced to CCRF?

Stephanie: I didn’t know much, but during my stream I had a lot of people in my community talking about how they had childhood cancer, or they knew someone who CCRF had directly helped. That made it much more real for people, because they were able to see examples of people who could be helped by their donation.

Jarek: Doing a fundraiser like this made me realize that every single person I’ve met knows someone who has had cancer. So while fundraising for CCRF, I was able to say to those people, you know what cancer looks like, now think about if that was happening to a kid. I was able to tell them that kids can’t fight for themselves, so we have to fight for them.

What is the value of talking about a serious cause like childhood cancer in a fun or entertaining way?

Jarek: I think the lightheartedness offsets the sadness of the cause. There are people who might not want to donate or even be in that streaming space with you if it’s all doom and gloom. But if you draw them in with something fun and say, oh, by the way, this is why we’re all here, you can push the topic you’re passionate about while also having a good time.

Katie: I think it’s okay to be silly, and it’s okay to be serious. We do really fun and non-serious things on these streams, like eat weird foods or give ourselves a pie in the face to incentivize our viewers to give. But we also talk about why we’re doing this – kids fighting cancer need our help. You can educate more people by bringing them into a fun and positive environment, and then reminding them why they’re there.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start livestreaming or wants to use their streaming platform to advocate for a cause?

Jarek: I’d say you can absolutely do it all by yourself, but it helped me to reach out to other people I knew and do it as a group. It was a really cool experience to have the entire stream community raising money for World Cancer Day behind me. Some of the streamers on our team were at my experience level or even less. But because we all did it together, we totally blew the fundraising goal we had set out of the water.

Stephanie: Same here, I set a goal that I thought was unrealistically high and it got blown away. You don’t know how much your community is willing to do for you until you ask. There are so many people out there who have the means and who want to help, and seeing that firsthand was such a great feeling.

Katie: My advice is you’ll be as successful as the amount of effort you put in, so put in the effort! Shoot the organization an email and tell them you want to fundraise for them. Ask them if they have talking points or images for you to share. CCRF did that really well for World Cancer Day, and it made me realize you don’t have to be a hugely popular, top streamer to do this. You don’t have to have thousands of people in your stream to make an impact. Jarek, Calyx and I all have very different viewership, but we had success because we put together a team of people who all had the passion to make it happen.

Start your own livestream fundraiser

Connect with people in real time and raise money together with your community on Facebook, Twitch, or YouTube by creating a livestream fundraiser through Tiltify. Let your followers, family and friends know that you’ll be streaming and encourage them to support you. We’ve put together all the materials you need to host a live stream fundraiser for CCRF.

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