28 February 2024 / < 1 min read

Insights leading into 2024 fundraising

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Insights leading into 2024 fundraising

2023 saw its share of ups and downs in the fundraising sector. Last year, micro donors (those who give under $100) took the biggest hit, going down 15% YOY by Q3, according to the Effectiveness Project. That statistic does become amplified when we look at livestream fundraising and creator fundraising. Micro donations make up about 95% of the volume on Tiltify, where we saw a 21% drop in that category.  

Due to the economic downturn in the gaming and streaming industries over the past 18 months, we also saw a decline in fundraiser participation among multiple programs targeted at streamers specific to gaming.

We did see some positive signs. 

  • Individual campaign totals increased 7.3%
  • The average donation amount increased by 3.6%

We launched a new feature allowing donors to create donation-matching challenges that saw $3 Million matched in the eight months that feature was available in 2023.

The effectiveness of fundraising has increased among those participating.

We've also seen a shift in volume by platform as creators move to multiple platforms, with Twitch creator fundraising declining by 18% and YouTube creators increasing by 48%

Over the past few years, the creator fundraising sector has undergone significant changes. It all started when Twitch introduced livestreaming over a decade ago. Initially, only gaming content was allowed to be streamed. However, livestreaming became more widespread with the emergence of other technology platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and others. Consequently, the content across channels and platforms grew to include gaming, music, art, podcasts, news, chess, dance, woodworking, how-to, IRL, and more.

Along with the continued growth from short and long-form recorded video, we have seen a revolutionary industry emerge now called the creator economy, altering how we perceive content creation, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy. 

Livestream fundraising was new and innovative beginning in 2015/2016, specifically for gaming creators. Many charities benefitted from early adoption and investment. The creator economy is the ecosystem's maturation, and it has opened up a massive opportunity for the future of how hundreds of millions will now interact.

Let's take a closer look.

Evolution 1: The Creator Economy

The creator economy is the fast-growing sector centered around independent content creators, influencers, bloggers, and entrepreneurs who produce and monetize their content online. It encompasses various activities across various platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Twitch, Spotify, Reddit, and personal blogs, among others.

There are now a staggering 5 billion social media users, which has born an estimated 200 million content creators. The popularity has reoriented childhood ambitions. About 1 in every 4 kids aspires to be a social media influencer. 

93.5% of 5.3 billion global internet users and 88.4% of 5.6 billion mobile phone users are on social media.

Essentially everyone. 

The creator economy is estimated to be worth $250 Billion. And it's expected to double in market size in the next 3-4 years.

For context, the US supermarket/grocery store industry is worth about $750 Billion.

This is no longer the niche group of people who are catered to in a separate silo. This is the present and future of person-to-person interaction.

How has this become so big?

Evolution 2: The Demographics

When I began Tiltify, we spoke a lot about Millennials and Gen Z and that this was a fantastic way to reach that coveted young group. It was, and it is. However, the interest and ease of content creation, along with years passing, has changed what that age group looks like.

Despite the stereotypes, Gen Z is now far from the most dominant generation in the creator economy. Millennials make up 41% of content creators. Remember that those millennials from 10 years ago have grown up, started a family, began a career, and are between 28 and 43 years of age. Right behind them is still not Gen Z, but Gen X (44-59) at 30%, and, wait for it, boomers at 15%. That's right, more boomers are making content than Gen Z (14%).

It's not that Gen Z has left; everyone else got involved. Next time you scroll through YouTube or TikTok, note the demographics you see; it will all make sense.

With that in mind, be careful using "young person" imagery or assuming these are all Gen Z. The popularity of content creation and its growth into the general population over the years allows you to widen your scope. Like reaching out wide for a walk event because you feel it's something anyone can do, content creation is creeping up close to being in every household.  

Evolution 3: The Fundraising Activity

Forbes released their 2nd annual Top Creator List in 2023.

The 50 honorees total an estimated $700 million in earnings, up 20% from 2022 — brands spent over $20 Billion on creator marketing last year.

From a fundraising activity standpoint, please scroll through the list. At #1 is Jimmy Donaldson, AKA Mr Beast. Jimmy doesn't play games or stream. However, he raised over $50 Million for charity between #TeamTrees and #TeamSeas, using a CTA for long and short-form content creators alongside a single crowdfunded campaign promoted across social media.

#2 is KSI. With his content group, The Sidemen, KSI helped create the Sidemen Charity Football Match, which last year took place in the 2nd biggest football stadium in the UK to a sold-out crowd of 60,000. It was the most watched sporting event on YouTube ever, with 2.5 million concurrent viewers, and raised £2.4 million.

As we go further into the list, you encounter many creators popular for different content, from comedians to podcast hosts to short-form and long-form stars. Those focused on the gaming space may be familiar with YouTube stars from the gaming space Jacksepticeye and Markiplier. They provide even more examples of the diversification of fundraising content. Jack raises millions through Thankmas, a Jerry Lewis-esque streamathon event with creator and celebrity friends. Mark raised an undisclosed but significant amount of charity money, making a sequel to his "tasteful nude" calendar fundraising on OnlyFans.

As a useful exercise, I would suggest looking through the Forbes Top Creator list and considering what strategy, potential challenge, or action could attract these creators and their communities.

This year, we saw an increasingly large array of activities being participated in, from cycling through Japan for nine days, a recorded video series of trying to live off a penny, creator boxing matches, high-end sothebys style auctions, and even a tried-and-true high-end Gala dinner with an added live viewing audience and online auction.

We also saw increased outreach from creators participating in major marathons, fitness challenges, and other large-scale P2P events asking how they can use certain Tiltify fundraising tools to fundraise for that program and even how they appear on leaderboards. With the mass growth of this sector and widening of the demographics, I would urge consideration of how creators can be included in the same fundraising opportunities you are pitching to people in their demographics without bifurcating their experience.

And I'd want to point out that though I am making the point by showing prominent examples with mega-creators, that's only the top 2%. 67% of creators have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers.

Final takeaways

With all that said, consider a few final things as you plan for the rest of 2024 and beyond and how to include the participants of the creator economy in your plans.

  1. Consider what programs you are running, whether the scope should be adjusted, or whether you are targeting exactly the group you intend. No adjustment may be necessary if you created a gaming program specific to gamers or a streaming program specific to streamers and intend to keep it that way. If you want to reach a larger or different group, then consider what adjustments you can easily make.
  2. Consider your imagery and marketing materials. Are they speaking to the right demographic, knowing the new landscape?
  3. If you are hoping to convert donors to fundraisers, consider that viewers may participate in a different fashion than those they watch. i.e., You may have someone who streams, but the likelihood of their viewers also streaming is much lower than participating in another way alongside their favorite creator. I watch many cooking shows but asking me to bake for a fundraiser is outside my comfort zone...but I play guitar.
  4. Continue to look at what is going on and the content being created. Whether it's podcasting, how-to, or guitar playing, how can people participate, and potentially, what is the challenge? There is so much we have not explored because every year, creators surprise me with their fundraising ideas.

I’m excited and optimistic about the years ahead and the mass of possibilities for the creator economy and philanthropy to intersect.

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