Direct Relief Gaming: A New Initiative to Engage Gamers in Philanthropy

Direct Relief has launched a new fundraising initiative in the video game broadcasting community.

Direct Relief Gaming will provide tools, advice and incentive for gamers worldwide to raise funds for Direct Relief.

Online gaming and charitable donations may seem like an unusual pairing, but the gaming community has raised nearly $5 million dollars over the past five years for Direct Relief’s efforts around the world.

Viewers – many of whom are gamers themselves – tune into online broadcasts as gamers play a video game with live commentary. Some of these broadcasters will ask their viewers to donate to a charitable cause, occasionally unlocking more difficult challenges or more games for their broadcast.

Helping lead this month’s launch of the Direct Relief Gaming initiative is Matthew “MC” Moffit and Brooke “Kampy” Malone, whose efforts over the past seven years have raised over $1 million for charities worldwide, including more than $336,000 for Direct Relief alone.

“We are extremely excited to bring our knowledge and skill of charity gaming broadcasts,” said Moffit. “Direct Relief does amazing things worldwide, and it is our absolute pleasure to help them begin to interact with a new generation of potential philanthropists.”

The 23-year-old was first introduced to the concept as a teen, when he noticed that many of the best gamers asked their online viewers to donate to charity. Moffit decided to use his influence to do the same, and contacted Direct Relief about partnering up in 2014.

When Direct Relief was selected as the charity for Zeldathon, a six-day gaming marathon that took place earlier this year, “We were over the moon,” said Steve Lange, who manages web production for Direct Relief. He has also spearheaded the gaming partnership.

“There are so many people out there who watch people play video games, hundreds of thousands of people,” said Lange, who is a gamer himself.

The viewers make up a range of ages, but the primary demographic includes people ages 18 to 24.

“You get a really broad swath of people, in terms of demographics,” Lange said. “It’s a global audience and the viewership is huge. At any given time, there are potentially millions of people playing, and there are millions of people watching.”

Viewers are usually gamers who enjoy watching people who have considerable skill. Lange compared the concept to a person who plays recreational softball during the week, but tunes into a Major League Baseball game on the weekend to see the best of the best take the field.

Online viewers often donate $5 or $10 to a given cause during the broadcast of the game, and those micro-donations can add up.

“Sometimes they’re not so micro,” Moffit said of the amounts, adding that it’s not unusual to see generous viewers donate $1,000 or more.

Some very notable names on Twitch, a gaming broadcast website, are helping to launch the program this October. Twitch users Calebhart42, Pokéthon, The8BitDrummer, Trihex, TheNo1Alex, VGBootCamp and ProtonJon are all planning broadcasts during the month to benefit Direct Relief.

Starting in October, gamers will be able to visit https://directrelief.org/gaming to download a toolkit with full instructions on how to begin raising for Direct Relief.

For up-to-date news on when Direct Relief Gaming broadcasts are happening, visit the new dedicated Twitter account, https://twitter.com/DirectRelief_G.

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