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  • Writer's pictureCharity Chat Podcast

E180 - Charities and the world of gaming with Tom Downie

“…the real value comes not from the games themselves but from the personalities behind the games, or rather playing them…” - Tom Downie

In this episode we speak with Tom Downie, Charity Manager at Tiltify. We speak about the world of online gaming, the communities within it and how charities can and should be engaging with them.

1. Donor centred wins again

The world of online gaming, and the community within it, like other fundraising audiences, is not a monolith. Gamers are also runners, regular donors, and volunteers, and we should not fall into the trap of, as Tom said ‘othering’ our audience. We shouldn’t try and segment them out, and speak to them as if their only interest is the game.

It can be hard to approach fundraising by looking at the interests of those wishing to fundraise rather than trying to direct them to the user journey that we already. But many fundraisers, we think would recognise that the most enthusiastic and ultimately successful relationships with donors and supporters that they have had has started with understanding that person and the nuances of what interests and energises them.

2. The gaming community

As Tom said, gaming is a community space, that brings people together. It is this audience which charities do and can have a relationship with. It’s not the games but the gamers that raise the funds, and charities should stay true to their identity and ask gamers to get involved and fundraise for their cause.

Reaching the community is something that can be done by charities getting to know their existing supporters, and communicating with them in ways that suit them. With the age demographic of 18-40 years olds being more likely to game online, the Gen Z/Millenial generations, email is redundant.

Charities, their staff, volunteers and supporters would do well to spend time in these relatively new communities, helping to draw it together with their cause and to help drive a culture of giving within the community.

3. Tips for online gaming for charities

Tom rmade some good points about charities and individuals making sure to be as inclusive as possible, and recognising that your audience online is likely to be an international audience, and to make sure to include the time zone in any marketing for online gaming events.

Streamers are often at the leading edge of technology use and expect systems that save them the trouble of archaic fundraising practices. For example, live updating totalisers and other functionality are becoming more mainstream, and so charities need to think about which platforms they are promoting to encourage online communities to give.

For charities worried about what is said and done during online gaming events, there are censorship and monitoring devices on platforms, and like any event it’s always a good idea to measure risk with a risk assessment. But charities need to balance risk mitigation with the risk of dampening the enthusiasm which can lead to substantial support for causes, which may well have been struggling a lot recently.

Finally, gaming offers a plethora of opportunities to engage or re-engage a charity’s corporate supporters. The chance to bring your online gaming community in with your corporate supporters to amplify the benefit to both while raising more funds for your cause.

4. Find out more about:

This episode of Charity Chat has been brought to you by our platinum sponsor Work for Good. Work for Good believes everyone should be able to turn the work they do into good. Through their fundraising platform, they offer charities a way to engage and work with small businesses, including founders, owners and sole traders who want to make an impact for charities through their sales. To find out more, please visit

We hope you enjoy this week’s episode.

Related episodes that you may be interested in:

E67 - Gaming for Charity with Lucy Squance

E63 - Gaming for Social Good with Natasha Stone

E55 - Freemason Fundraising with Paul Crockett


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