Choosing A Charity For Your Fundraiser

Selecting a nonprofit that you want to fundraise for is always the first step for any charity livestream. There are 3 core aspects to selecting a charity to fundraise for:

  • Determining a cause you can be passionate about
  • Researching the organizations that support that cause & verifying nonprofit status
  • Getting into contact with a representative

Selecting Your Cause

The most personal aspect of any charity stream is determining the cause you want to fund raise for. It’s important that the cause you choose is something that you have a personal connection to, regardless of whether it’s a small local organization or an international nonprofit with global impact.

Remember, you’ll be devoting days, or weeks, organizing & promoting your event with the big finale being a broadcast for several hours where you entertain to inspire donations from your community. By knowing you’re working to support a cause you have passion for, or that connects with you on a personal level, you’ll have the drive to succeed, beginning with the organization stage, until your exhausted final hours of the stream.

What Lights A Fire In You?

It’s easy enough to just say “Pick a cause that gets you excited”, but if it’s your first stream you may not know what that is. There are thousands of 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations in the USA alone, all working towards helping others, and with that many choices you may not have strong feelings about any of them. My recommendation is to “make it personal”. Don’t think about a specific nonprofit you want to support in the beginning and instead think about a cause you can get yourself behind.

Choosing A Beneficiary

Think to your own life and personal values to identify who you feel deserves assistance. Remember, the end result of fundraising for charity is so that someone in need, through no fault of their own, is able to benefit. Here are some helpful starter questions:

  • Has your life or someone close to you been affected by an illness or adversity?
  • What types of people do you admire? Are they facing an issues/injuries in the course of their work and can use assistance? (Military Veterans, Police, Firemen, Teachers, etc.)
  • Who are the types of individuals you sympathize with and in what ways do they face illness or adversity? (Children, Animals, Students, Mothers, Fathers, etc)

After deciding on who the type of beneficiary is that you want to help, it’s much easier to narrow down causes to assist them.

Choosing A Cause

Once you know who you want to help, the next step is to determine how you want to help them. Depending on the beneficiary you want to support, there are usually multiple avenues to that nonprofits can take to help those in need.

I’ll use military veterans, a group I personally care about, to show some examples of choosing different paths for causes you may want to identify:

  • Physical Recovery (Assisting veterans with medical rehab, recovery, and ongoing treatment for injury/illnesses)
  • Psychological/Emotional Recovery (Assisting veterans with coping from the mental stresses of service)
  • Education/Skills Training (Assisting veterans with the translation of military training into the civilian skill sets, financial assistance, expansion of college education)
  • Job Discovery & Placement (Assisting veterans with finding work and reintegration into civilian life)
  • Home Ownership & Living Conditions (Assisting veterans finding a home and avoiding homelessness)

These are just a few examples, but it should be noted that this list is a high level overview of causes. These reflect the “what” of the problems, whereas nonprofit organizations are groups of people reflecting the “how” of solving those problems.

Researching & Verifying A Nonprofit

When it comes to validating a nonprofit for a charity livestream, there are essentially three steps:

  1. Verifying that the organization is actually registered as a nonprofit entity
  2. Verifying, as best you can, that the nonprofit does what it claims to do
  3. Verifying that the nonprofit can accept online donations, preferably from a crowdfunding portal.

Validating USA Nonprofits

In the USA the Internal Revenue Service – IRS (Tax Collection Agency) has created a web application to verify if a nonprofit’s EIN is legitimate:

Additionally, there is a USA government program, called the Combined Federal Campaigns (CFC), that runs direct payroll deductions to non-profit organizations & gathers information on non-profits for public awareness.

How Do I Know If The Charity Does What It’s Supposed To?

Always research organizations you’re interested in supporting. Non-profits are usually required to list out the percentages for how their donations are spent. A basic rule of thumb is that an organization should spend the vast majority of it’s funds on it’s mission. To be more specific, the percentage of funds being used on overhead and salaries should be well below the 35{90a6d81482ddedbcdfd778c825eccd6b40ee0d05f38df3ad6f856a1adc621028} BBB Wise Giving Alliance industry standard. Below are several sites dedicated to listing, tracking, and verifying nonprofits:

All nonprofits on CLS have the option to add a direct link to their Charity Navigator & GuideStar profiles, but you can easily look them up via their EIN number if their profiles haven’t been fully filled out yet.

Is The Nonprofit Able To Accept Donations Online For Your Charity Stream?

This will vary based on the nonprofit, so the best method is to first check their CLS profile on for answers and if the answers aren’t listed in their profiles, to contact the nonprofit directly and ask.

Contacting Your Nonprofit

If the nonprofit you want as your beneficiary has an account on, finding the ways to contact them for a charity livestream is easy as it’s included in their profile. If they haven’t signed up for their free account, then the general contact information should be available on their website.

It’s important to get into contact with the nonprofit and start a conversation early in the planning process. Some nonprofits will have specific platforms they accept crowdfunding donations through or  even have resources specifically for broadcasters and fundraising teams to help with promotion and visual presentation of events.

If a nonprofit has worked with broadcasters for charity streams in the past, it’s a much easier process because they will already have answers to your core questions of “how can the community donate to you” and “what resources, if any are available to assist with my event”. Additionally, having a nonprofit approved, donation collection mechanism where you don’t touch the donations is a big step in ensuring the trust of your viewers [See more in step 5].

Charity Livestreaming Is Still New

It’s important to keep in mind that smaller nonprofits may be unfamiliar with charity livestreams and the good that the gaming and art communities have done. It’s not very common, but there have been several instances where smaller broadcasters reaching out to nonprofits have had their emails unanswered or, worse, after making contact have been met with dismissive attitudes to the idea of “people playing video games and trying to raise money for charity”.

Despite the millions of dollars raised in the last 5 years alone, livestream fundraisers are still niche (a fact that this site is seeking to change), so it’s important to not get disheartened if this happens to you. There are two courses of action in this scenario:

  1. If you strongly feel the people at that organization are effectively helping your cause and are worth having your community give them free money, then take the time to educate them on the industry and the charitable giving that has been successful for other organizations so far. Pointing to past events hosted here on the site and infographics like Twitch’s Charity Results from 2015 can help you make the case that they should be paying attention to fast growing fundraising events that combine live video and community interaction. Conversations with the organizations can quickly move from “Wait, what are you doing?” to “Awesome, how can we help?” once they understand the potential.
  2. If you don’t feel strongly about their organization, then forget them and move onto another nonprofit. It may sound harsh, but remember YOU are the one who will be volunteering your time, effort, and energy so your community can donate to them. Never let your drive and potential be discouraged because a group doesn’t want to get free money and awareness. There are plenty of organizations actively seeking broadcasters to work with and you can always come back to a dismissive nonprofit later if you want to give them another try.

Still Unsure?

Another way to determine what cause or nonprofit to fund raise for is to simply ask your community. They’re the ones who will be supplying most of the donations, so it makes sense to choose an organization that everyone can get excited to support. Pose it as a question in a social media post/video/livestream and take suggestions directly or go through the research step below for several organizations and have your community vote on a few of your top choices.

Now that you have a better idea of your cause and how to validate the organization you want to fundraise for, check out the Nonprofit Square to see nonprofits with accounts on the CLS. Each one is familiar with charity streams, is eager to collaborate on new livestream fundraisers, and has additional information on what they do and how to contact them.

Submitted by cliveadmin on Sun, 01/20/2019 - 09:06