Starlight aims for content streamers with latest virtual fundraising initiative

Multi-platform Stream Raisers initiative is one of a host of virtual innovations for the not-for-profit as it tries to keep revenues up during COVID-19

A month-long initiative encouraging content streamers across multiple social platforms to fundraise is just one example of Starlight embracing the virtual realm to keep funds coming in during the crisis.

Dubbed ‘Stream Raiser’, the latest initiative runs until the end of June and has the target of raising $200,000 in funds for sick kids. Content creators of all ilk and from across Facebook to TikTok, Instagram and Twitch can participate, a platform-agnostic approach Starlight is claiming as an Australian and global first.

Once live, streams can encourage donations from their own communities via the Stream Raiser website, as well as the donation tool on Facebook Live or Tiltify on Twitch. Starlight has produced specific collateral for content creators to use as part of the streaming effort. In addition to peer-to-peer fundraising, Starlight will hold a three-hour online ‘telethon’ on 25 June, featuring more than 25 celebrities from musicians to comedians, fitness gurus and cooks.

The livestream will also be broadcast across multiple social platforms - Twitch, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter – a feat made possible by Starlight’s partnership with production company, Paper Moose, and streaming platform, Restream.

Starlight Community national partnerships manager, Matt Geraghty, told CMO the idea of the streaming event came from work the not-for-profit has undertaken over recent years in the digital space, as well as with the gaming community.

For example, over the past two years, Starlight has been running ‘Game Changers’, an annual challenge connecting the charity with the gaming community. The initiative, supported by EB Games and Twitch, sees gamers streaming their gameplay to raise funds.

Starlight also embraced virtual peer-to-peer campaigning for the first time this year for the Starlight Super Swim, which ran from January through to February. The initiative raised $700,000 and engaged 10,000 donors, all sharing stories and engaging via the dedicated Super Swim portal.

“It was a game-changer and powerful way to get people to participate in physical adventures,” Geraghty said.

“With Stream Raiser, we wanted to jump onboard and create an Australian-first – engage content providers, influencers and anyone who has an audience. Live streaming has changed everything. Importantly, this campaign is executable on all platforms. So we’re opening new doors and gaining access to a big platform for content creators and brands.”

Starlight has reached out to influencers across different platforms, and partnered with an agency working with TikTok influencers for the content streaming initiative. Geraghty said TikTok’s lack of a direct fundraising mechanism has previously limited its ability as a platform – until now.

Among the content partners for Stream Raiser are The Inspired Unemployed, two South Coast comedy sketch creators boasting of more than 350,000 Instagram followers. They’ll fundraise for two weeks to support creation of a new skit, which will be performed during the livestream event on 25 June.

“Starlight prides itself on being innovative as a cultural principle. In fundraising, we’re taking big steps forward in the virtual space,” Geraghty continued. “With Stream Raisers, we saw opportunity to align to our brand and cause with a powerful way to engage everyday people streaming online. We are also aligning with larger influencers to help us promote and get the message out there.”

With all physical events being deferred or cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Starlight, like all NFPs, has had to rely on virtual in order to keep up funding. This year alone, Starlight has had to cancel 10 major gala dinners, taking a $4 million hit. Then there’s the third-party running events, dinners and corporate retail activity that have also come off the agenda.

“We’re trying to overcome significant losses of revenue, pivot, find new ways to engage donors, offer experiences and new ways to fundraise,” Geraghty said.

Another first to come out of COVID-19 restrictions was Starlight’s debut online auction in June, which raised $100,000. Geraghty also noted company-wide activations are underway with 35 corporate teams, along with community fundraisers as the group tries to touch every part of its donor pool with virtual engagement.

For Starlight Day, a national day in May when Starlight hit the streets to raise funds, the team turned to online to maximise the giving campaign. The charity is also pivoting its ‘Meeting for good’ initiative, in partnership with meetmagic, asking c-suite executives from ASX top 300 companies to host a 45-minute virtual meeting slot with a match third party to raise funds for charity. $750 of the $1000 fee charged for these meetings goes to Starlight.

Supporting these efforts is a data-driven marketing effort out of Starlight’s Salesforce platform. Geraghty said it’s built distinct messaging for different audiences, work that’s seen all teams coming together more than ever before.

As a result, Starlight has chalked up a 300 per cent year-on-year increase in digital fundraising, he added.

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