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Broadway Unlocked shares five lessons learned from hosting a livestream benefit

Each year, one in six people in the U.S. will be victims of violent crimes. Two years ago, we became part of the effort to change that, when we began work with Broadway Unlocked. 

Two years ago, we met Jessica Ryan — a woman whose mission is rooted in two seemingly unique spheres: celebrating live theatre and helping survivors of interpersonal violence. Jessica founded the  Broadway Unlocked #giveback concert, a livestream, interactive benefit concert aimed at connecting the two communities and helping raise awareness and donations for the Crime Victims Treatment Center (CVTC). The CVTC, New York State’s largest and most comprehensive hospital-based victim assistance program, provides therapy and services to survivors of assault, abuse and violence. All treatments at CVTC are free.

In an effort to reach a larger audience and expand the nonprofit’s donor base, Broadway Unlocked collaborated with Google for Nonprofits to broadcast the show and spread the message globally in 2016. On February 22, Google for Nonprofits helped bring Broadway to YouTube for the second year in a row with one night of song and social responsibility through the concert. To bring the show beyond NYC, Google Fiber hosted a watch party at the Fiber space with local Kansas City theatre groups and community members. 

This was a Broadway show unlike any other. This was Broadway with a variety of star performers, including Kyle Dean Massey, Carolee Carmello, Ali Stroker, Natalie Weiss, and Collabro. This was Broadway hosted by Google Fiber. Streamed via Google Hangouts on Air. And fueled in part by fundraising through donation cards on YouTube. This was Broadway on the internet -- crowdfunded and broadcast for one night only.

How did Broadway Unlocked make their globally livestreamed and crowdfunded event a success? We’re turning the mic towards Broadway Unlocked to hear what they learned.

5 Lessons Learned from Hosting a Livestream Benefit

  1. Engaging the community is key: Using Hangouts on Air, we were able to pull off a cross-city sing-a-long! Check it out. The video wasn’t flawless, but we successfully transported Broadway beyond the Big Apple.

  2. Global events can help grow engagement and donor base: Putting on an event in different cities is no easy feat. But it's amazingly rewarding to bring like-minded people and groups together to support similar causes. Hangouts and livestream technology made reaching new communities easier to do in one event. And by engaging these communities, we’ve been able to grow a stronger community and ultimately, donor base.

  3. Interactive video adds another dimension of creativity: Using Hangouts allowed us to engage the audience on the other side of the screen, adding a new dimension unique from watching on a passive screen. Our creative team came up with Musical MadLibs, (our new favorite game!), which really shows how we were able to interact with the crowd through video chat.

  4. Google is a gamechanger for nonprofits: YouTube and Google Fiber enabled us to livestream the concert to theatre lovers and supporters in Kansas City and hundreds of people at home that night. This allowed us to increase the viewership of our benefit by 10X more than if we had only shown the concert to the folks at the Greene Space in NYC.

  5. Crowdfunding and donation cards can help you reach your goals: Through crowdfunding using donation cards on YouTube, One Today donations, live fundraising at the concert, and private donations, we raised more than ever before -- an astounding $50,000. This additional funding will hugely impact our ability to provide treatments for victims of domestic violence in tandem with the CVTC.

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate in the nonprofit programs, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

If you are a U.S. nonprofit looking to add donation cards to your YouTube videos, learn more here.

Nonprofits aren't endorsed by YouTube or Google