Last spring, YouTube celebrity Markiplier delivered on a promise he never thought he’d have to keep. In March, he noticed that his fan base was nearing 20 million people. He’d previously said that if he surpassed that milestone, he’d celebrate by doing something even crazier than his fans were used to seeing from him—humorous gaming videos, animations, sketches, and challenges.
At first it didn’t seem too radical an idea. He would create a calendar featuring himself, sell it through his online shop, and donate the proceeds. The catch? He would do it entirely in the nude. The keyword: tastefully.
To say the humorous, PG-13 calendar was a huge success would be an understatement. In just two days, the Los Angeles resident, whose real name is Mark Fischbach, raised nearly $500,000 in donations to the Cancer Research Institute—his most successful charity event to date.
It’s not the first time Mark has selected the Cancer Research Institute to benefit from his charitable work. In 2013, when his fan base was 600,000 people strong, he raised $8,000 during a 24-hour gaming live stream. The growth of his following has allowed Mark to turn his fame into a force for good. Since he began hosting online fundraisers, he has raised more than $3 million for charities.
We spoke with Mark about his YouTube success, his charitable work, and the pain of signing all those calendars:
Like many people, cancer has touched Mark's life. When he was in his senior year of high school, his father was diagnosed with lung cancer and died shortly thereafter. “It’s one of the hardest things anyone can go through,” he said, “but there’s more hope every year. I don’t think we’re going to cure cancer anytime soon, but the only way we’re ever going to get there is to keep working toward it.”
When choosing a beneficiary, Mark checks the charity’s ratings on Charity Navigator—where CRI has four out of four stars—and scans financial information to make sure donations go to charitable programs rather than overhead.
Mark hopes he can inspire others to raise awareness of the issues that are important to them. “You don’t have to be a career YouTuber to do this.... Volunteer in [your] communities. Reach out to your own circle of friends.... If everyone did that, it would accomplish more than I can asking my fan base alone.”
Mark plans to raise money for CRI again one day soon. Now with 23 million subscribers and more than 10.6 billion video views, we’re betting he’ll do a world of good.