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Live Streaming for Social Good: Charitable Initiatives in Singapore

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Singapore is a country known for its speed and efficiency in adopting and adapting to new global and social changes. It’s with little surprise then that it’s no stranger to charity and aid work, with a huge number of organisations and initiatives dedicated to a wide variety of causes. I think that there’s a really interesting topic to discuss in the impact and growth of live streaming Singapore in raising awareness and funds for charitable work in Singapore, especially with recent global happenings. This article is an attempt to take a closer look at why and how Singapore-based charities are turning to live streaming as a viable platform for their cause, learning about the experiences of individuals involved and looking to provide advice and information to those who may be interested in starting something similar for their own cause.

In recent years, live streaming Singapore as a profession and medium has seen incredible growth. Social eating, talk shows, let’s plays, music production—there’s an incredibly wide variety of content out there being produced by an equally diverse group of individuals. A subsection of this field is dedicated to using the platform to raise awareness or funding for charitable causes and initiatives. With the large-scale cancellation of public events, charity streams are quickly becoming more and more relevant.

One of the most devastating effects of the global pandemic has been the financial strain it’s put on countless individuals and families. With numbers of affected individuals continuing to rise, there’s a constant need for support and a sense of community to help pull through these trying times.

Current Landscape of Live Streaming in Singapore

In January 2016, Twitch announced that the local community could start earning money with Twitch. By becoming Twitch partners and accepting monthly subscriptions, Singaporean Twitch streamers could now make a living by breaking the previous stereotype of live streaming being a pastime only suitable for individuals with too much free time. For many charities, monetizing streams on Twitch isn’t anything new. Since 2012, we have been occasionally setting up gaming marathon fundraisers using the platform GameChanger in order to raise money for events and hospitals that mostly benefit younger patients. However, it was only late 2014 where we discovered successful and efficient ways in using Twitch to fundraise. One of the best means we found was to take advantage of Twitch’s social eating category. Essentially, a streamer would have a live mukbang and request for donation food orders, where donations received from viewers would translate to a hospital receiving free catering from the food ordered. When we were appointed by Hovita to help plan some charity events for Assisi Hospice and their patients, Maitre d’ who had previously been diagnosed with stage four leiomyosarcoma, it was evident that there was a shift in how we could now fundraise using live streaming.

Charitable Initiatives Utilizing Live Streaming in Singapore

In December 2016, the Children’s Cancer Foundation reached out to influencers and popular live streaming personalities to help spread awareness for children with cancer. By teaching them how to stream mobile games, the idea was to take advantage of a popular trend among the younger generation and also create a source of entertainment for the beneficiaries. This campaign was a success after raising hundreds of thousands from an initial modest goal of $5,000. One of the most notable contributions was Dr Jiajia, a physician in his late 20s who had just started working, quit his job, and became a full-time streamer to raise funds for CCF. His contribution, together with several others, led to him becoming an ambassador for the campaign and a nominee for the Healthcare Humanity Award.

Charitable organisations in Singapore have not been slow to adopt live streaming into their digital marketing and fundraising efforts. This is largely because they have seen positive results in interacting with their audience in real-time and effectively conveying the message they have for their cause.

Impact and Future Possibilities of Live Streaming for Social Good in Singapore

Streaming has proven to have success in terms of cause exposure, viewer contributions, and long-term coverage.

With the growing trend of live streaming, many content creators and enthusiasts in Singapore have utilized this as a platform for social good. Through live broadcasts, content creators are able to directly interact and engage with potential donors and viewers in real time. These benefit streams involve DJs, personalities, and online communities have shown promising results with the ability to reach out to a wider audience demographic outside of traditional fundraising methods. The traditional methods mentioned here being door-to-door, street or public area, and telemarketing fundraising, which has been the norm for cash donations or joining in on a cause.

Live streaming and online broadcasting are rapidly growing in popularity through social media platforms. In 2019, it was recorded that there are approximately 4.4 million live streaming viewers in Singapore alone. Twitch, the world’s leading live streaming platform, has showed a dramatic increase in viewership base; peaking at an average daily reach of 200,000 viewers. Similarly, Facebook has also reported an increase of engagement and viewership through live broadcasts and streams.

This study aims to investigate live streaming for social good in Singapore. Located in the heart of Southeast Asia, Singapore is a small, yet significant urbanized island with a population of 5.7 million. Today, 82% of Singaporeans are active internet users, with approximately 4.83 million social media users. Furthermore, the local demographic consists of 23% of young adult population between the ages of 18-34, where the majority are active social media users comprising of 98% of this group.

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