How live streaming helped Bernie Sanders hit 4x his fundraising goal

Friends of Bernie Sanders live streamed a Strokes concert in 2020 and raised 4x their initial goal in under two hours! This is how you use gamification in live streaming to fundraise or monetize.
How live streaming helped Bernie Sanders hit 4x his fundraising goal

It’s safe to say that the rules of the political campaigning game have changed drastically and enduringly in the past few years. Even before the pandemic drove most campaign events online, candidates and their teams were looking for new ways to reach more voters, engage supporters more deeply, and raise more funds.

Friends of Bernie Sanders, the committee behind the senator’s 2020 presidential campaign, led the pack, using live video to broadcast town halls, fundraisers, and rallies before March of 2020.

Mia Fermidoza, Technical Director at Friends of Bernie Sanders, says Restream was key in helping her team reach their goals. For one, Restream’s multistream feature enabled the campaign to join multiple online communities at once in a turnkey manner. That meant that a single town hall event could be seen at once by multiple political Facebook groups and members of a dozen partner organizations in different locations.

Forging deeper connections via live stream video

To Mia Fermindoza, taking events virtual was about more than reaching disparate audiences.

“It became clear very early on that live streaming was about the depth, and connectivity, and accessibility you were able to give in an increasingly online world,” notes Fermindoza.

What type of live streamed events in particular helped people get up close and personal with Senator Sanders? Fermindoza recalls one fireside chat between the senator and his then campaign manager Faiz Shakir, that really engendered a deeper connection with voters.

“That was an exciting change that you saw from the candidate at the podium in a very official manner, and then all of a sudden we were scaling it over to a very intimate conversation in the living room,” shares Fermindoza. “That was a very enjoyable experience not only for the senator but for everyone tuning in.”

Gamification + fundraising = results

The reality is that beyond reaching and engaging voters, political campaigns need funds to keep the lights on. But if supporters can’t attend a fundraising event in person, they can’t join the drive for donations. Luckily, live streaming allows more people to tune in to a fundraising event, watch the entertainment, and actually send in money.

Friends of Bernie Sanders took this strategy to new heights during a fundraiser featuring a Strokes concert in February of 2020. Fermindoza’s team superimposed a leaderboard on the live stream tracking the highest donation amounts. Virtual attendees quickly engaged in an attempt to outbid others by a dollar and reach the top spot on the board. Even Fermindoza joined in on the fun, donating $27 to see if she could get on the leaderboard.

The results of this experimental strategy? Nothing short of record-breaking. The campaign raised over $80,000 in donations in under two hours. That’s 4x the initial goal for the event! A prime example of how to use gamification in the live streaming experience to raise funds or monetize your business.

Live streaming and the future of politics

After witnessing astounding success during the 2020 presidential election, Fermindoza thinks live streaming and politics will be inextricable in the future.

“We have to take ourselves away from the idea that…it’s really important for [voter engagement] to be in the field and in person,” suggests Fermindoza.

As technology improves and VR streaming in particular becomes more accessible, politicians and their teams will only dive deeper into the world of live stream video. Next time your favorite political candidate sits down for a fireside chat, can you imagine taking a virtual seat right beside them? We might only have to wait until the next election to find out!

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