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Live Streaming For Charities - Help Guide

Updated: Mar 24

Charity fundraising has traditionally adopted a face-to-face approach from tin shakes to fundraising events but a large percentage of your donors are online and you will never meet them.

The Covid 19 pandemic has meant people are far more comfortable joining online events and now has never been a better time for you to start creating live video content.

In this guide we will cover:

Why you need to consider live streaming

When face-to-face communication is not an option broadcasting an event live allows your audience to chat and interact with you, ask questions and send donations instantly while it's happening.

Live video creates a buzz - Maybe design your broadcast so people have to watch it live or they miss it.

We've become so programmed to being able to 'view again' or 'view on demand' but if you take that away and make it a 'watch it or miss it' event you're more likely to hold that audience captive. Broadcasting at the right time of day for this then becomes crucial though.

To reinforce our point you can see some stats below.

  • People streaming on Twitch sent over £60 million to charities in 2020. [source]

  • 80% of people prefer to watch a live stream than read a webpage or blog. [source]

  • By 2028 the video streaming market is set to be worth £167.87 million. [source]

  • In 2020 people watched an average of 16 hours of online video per week. [source]

DIY options you can use to livestream

Thanks to platforms like YouTube and Facebook live streaming is a free to use service and you can go live with little expense, dependent on the quality you want to deliver of course.

You will need the following to conduct a basic single camera live stream.

Computer: Most laptops and recently purchased desktop computers should be powerful enough to live stream a basic broadcast.

A Camera: Most laptops contain a built in camera but this will mean you cannot re-position it easily.

You can buy plug-in USB webcams which should provide a higher quality picture. You could also consider plugging in a camcorder.

Microphone: In our view audio quality is far more important than anything else and people get very annoyed if the quality is not excellent. Internal microphones on a PC or laptop are probably not the best to use. We would suggest investing in an external microphone like a lapel mic.

Software Encoder: You need to use either a software or hardware encoder to send the pictures and audio to your choice of broadcast destination, known as a CDN (Content Delivery Network). External hardware options are preferred as they put less stress on your PC's graphics card and CPU.

Broadband connection: A reliable and fast internet connection is key. The UPLOAD speed is what to look for here as you're sending the pictures outbound not inbound. Each CDN will have a recommended bitrate it requires for the various video quality, e.g SD or HD.

CDN - Final destination: There are a wide range of free CDNs you can stream to. These include Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and now LinkedIn.

Most charities will want to create a higher quality broadcast than just a single camera and for that you can work with a company like ours.

Advantages of using a company like StreamWorks

We work with a range of charities providing various services from a simple single camera live stream through to multi-camera event coverage.

A few of the advantages of using a live streaming company are:

  • Use of cameras fit for purpose with a range of lenses to suit the job

  • Use of multiple microphones and an audio mixer

  • Expert live streaming engineers who understand the CDNs and their requirements

  • Properly planned broadcasts with a camera crews and a dedicated stream director to help and advise your team

  • Bonded video encoders providing connection redundancy giving you peace of mind

  • Recordings made available for post event editing and re-purposing

live stream charity event

Hints and tips for a good charity live stream

Set goals/targets

What's the reason for your broadcast? To raise money, awareness, launch a new side of the charity?

The following questions may help you sieve some ideas.

  • How much money do you need to raise from the broadcast?

  • What are your aims on viewing figures?

  • What will the duration of the broadcast be?

  • What time of day best suits your audience?

  • Are you doing this to gain followers and if so on what channels?

Ensure these goals are achievable and realistic especially if live streaming is new to your charity.

Planning the broadcast/stream

A good live stream may appear to be fairly spontaneous but is in fact very planned and in some cases heavily scripted.

  • Make sure you allow time for your viewer interactions via Q&A sessions or reading out their tweets. This puts the viewer at the heart of the event.

  • Ensuring you have a range of questions pre-prepared is always a good idea in-case people are slow at starting the flow.

  • Structure the broadcast holding back some more exciting content for later to keep viewers engaged and watching.

It's all in the title

Like food that we first taste with our eyes, a live stream title and the broadcast's description is important to first grab your viewers attention.

The description should contain a brief overview of the event and the planned contents along with some hooks to tease the viewer. If you plan to ask for donations ensure the links are included here as well.

Rehearse Rehearse Rehearse

All CDNs allow you to set a broadcast as 'unlisted' or private for your eyes only so make sure you rehearse and do a dry run. This is especially important if you're doing the stream yourself and not using a professional streaming company.

Market the broadcast

When everything is set you have to promote the hell out of the broadcast. If streaming to an existing platform like your Facebook page you will have a captive audience but get the stream scheduled and on the page as soon as you can so people can add reminders to watch.

Make sure you also share the link to the broadcast or event page frequently on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram and all your other channels. A one hour reminder post is also good to use.

Audience Interaction

Make sure that regularly throughout the broadcast you allow the viewers voice to be heard. Ensure people can ask questions or why not take a poll if the CDN allows it? We suggest you appoint a dedicated person to monitor the live chat and questions. Someone will need to feed this back to your moderator.

Recycling the streamed content

Many clients don't consider planning their broadcast so they can also re-purpose some of the elements post event. A good example of this is Elite Business Live. We work with them every year to broadcast their two day event. They then cut up the keynotes and talks and release one a month throughout the year. This allows double exposure of the talks and gives them regular content to blog and promote each month.

You can also work with us to edit the material down into a highlights video or a series of short films for your social media channels.

Another idea might be to lift the audio and merge it into a podcast or share with the local radio media if it's newsworthy.

Live streaming ideas suitable for charities

We have gone on how to broadcast your event now we'll look at a few ideas if you're looking for inspiration.

Host a group discussion

Invite a panel of industry experts to come along and discuss your event's main topic. We can also bring in remote speakers so they can join the debate.

Use previously filmed material and merge with live original live content.

If you're anything like Help For Heroes, one of our regular clients, you will already have a lot of pre-recorded content. This is ideal to re-promote or use alongside original live content on the day. It also allows your live presenters to have a breather mid show.

Stream an existing event

Why not stream an event you have already planned like a charity dinner or ball? Allow your online viewers to maybe pick a winner or give them a gala PDF pack to download so they feel part of the event.


Why not broadcast a 24 hour fundraising challenge event? Audience can dip in and out at any point and donate as they do.

Live streaming is an ideal and cost effective way for charities like yours to raise awareness for your cause.

Expand your audience and stay engaged with your current loyal followers.

We hope this guide has helped and we're here to help with any professional services you may have.

Please contact us for more information.


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