Spitfire Strategies

Right There with You: Livestreaming Best Practices for Nonprofits and Foundations

Imagine standing on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court Building with LGBT activists before a landmark decision – or riding on a boat with protesters blocking an oil rig in the Arctic. Livestreaming offers advocacy organizations an exciting opportunity to engage audiences online and bring them right to the action. Many nonprofits, foundations and cause organizations are successfully using livestreaming to share major announcements and events in real time.

When the Supreme Court was hearing oral arguments on whether states could prohibit gay marriage, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) sent its communications staff to livestream a rally on the Supreme Court steps using an app called Periscope. HRC seized the opportunity to share a pivotal political moment directly with their members, helping them to feel as if they were a part of the historic event.

Greenpeace uses livestreaming to promote a range of natural habitats “in action.” From kayaking to hiking, livestreaming enables users to share adventures with their networks in real time. Activists have also livestreamed during protests, such as those surrounding oil drilling in the Arctic this summer.
Livestreaming has also gone global. 100 Cameras gave children in developing countries phones and tablets that allowed them to share their lives with viewers. This compelling tactic put the storytelling power directly in the hands of the organization’s beneficiaries, creating an authentic video that inspired compassion in their audience.

In California, our friends at the New Teacher Center organized a conference across the state that brought 20,000 teachers together on college campuses. During peer-led conversations on best practices for teaching Common Core, participants shared their discoveries via livestreaming so that other teachers could watch and learn, even if they could not attend in person.

Organizations use livestreaming to invite audiences into the conversation, change perspectives, tell stories or bring the action right to their followers with just the click of a hashtag. Apps such as Periscope, Meerkat and Google Hangout can bring your audience closer to your mission and drive them to take action for your cause.

How do you know if livestreaming is right for your team or organization? Check out our two-pager on best practices and tips for broadcasting your story.

“This has been a tremendous eye opener. It shows us how to pull the aspects of communications skills, from the message, to the audience. It forced us to identify our strengths and our weaknesses in an effort to become more strategic in how we prepare our messages and communicate them.”

- Training Participant

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