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Reflecting on Bridge Conference 2023

It's been two weeks since I spoke at the Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference (aka The Bridge Conference) and I'm still feeling the residual excitement of being at that conference. It got me thinking about the first time I spoke there.

Four years ago, no one was talking about video games or livestreaming as a vehicle for fundraising. It was an alien concept to many, and there were a lot of misconceptions about the video game community both as donor audience and as a pool of fundraisers. the feedback I got from that experience was mostly good, but the negative feedback was actually quite informative. Some attendees felt that streaming platforms like Twitch were not the best way to reach their audience. Others felt that video games and gaming as a whole would not be relatable to their constituents. I took that feedback and internalized it for the next speaking opportunity.

Four years later, that opportunity came when I was invited to speak at The Bridge Conference once again. This time, instead of limiting the session scope to just livestreamed video gaming, I expanded it to include esports and corporate partnerships. I also shifted the focus from a primarily peer-to-peer fundraising model to a more marketing oriented approach, which included tips on establishing an organization's brand in the video game community, ideas for engaging corporate partners, and opening eyes to the rise of esports as the new frontier in video game fundraising.

To help shore up the points on esports, I invited Dexter Carr, CEO of Game4Good, and President of the Esports Trade Association's Maryland Chapter. Together, we delivered two sessions that were both well attended (we ran out of headsets for the first session!) and well received.

The results are only anecdotal based on my experience, but I found more people willing to talk to me about their fundraising program, asking me how to start a fundraising program around gamers, and most fun of all - I found many attendees who just wanted to talk about video games in general. Gamers in the nonprofit fundraising industry talking with each other about the things we love. Can't beat that!

If you are interested in my presentation deck, please feel free to reach out!

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