The Dingus Boys, Andrew and Nick, have been fundraising for the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) since 2014, raising a total of $5,803 to date. Early on, the two picked a creative way to support cancer immunotherapy research: video game live streaming. While this practice is not new, their key to a successful fundraiser is finding a game with a ravenous—and generous—fan community. In 2019, they picked Dark Souls—a game known for its depth of combat, intricate level design, and use of flavor text—and raised $1,734. We spoke with Andrew and Nick about their connections to cancer, passion for fundraising, and advice for fellow charitable streamers.
What’s your personal connection to cancer?
Andrew: Two of my great aunts, my uncle, and as of December 2, 2019, both of my grandfathers, have all lost their respective battles with various forms of cancer. My grandmother is the lone cancer survivor in our family, somehow beating the staggering odds. It's a disease I want to see eradicated on a very personal level.
Nick: Thankfully, many of my close friends and family members have not had cancer, but most of them have loved ones who have suffered from it. I never met one of my grandmothers because she died of cancer before I was born. It's a nasty disease that touches nearly everyone.
Andrew of Dingus Boys Gaming
Why did you choose to fundraise for the Cancer Research Institute?
Andrew: We started fundraising for another great organization, but were slightly disappointed with the U.S.-centric focus of their programs and their higher overhead spending. We settled on the Cancer Research Institute because of its international focus. Moreover, as a smaller operation, we want to maximize our impact by choosing an organization that gave as much as it could directly to research efforts. CRI was a pretty clear choice with those two criteria in mind!
Nick: We chose the CRI because, as the years went by and we continued our “Prepare to Destroy Cancer” live stream, we wanted to donate to a charity that had little overhead expense and whose work could benefit both the American and international community. After a fair bit of research, we agreed that CRI was one of the best picks, given how much money goes to research programs and the fact that this research has the chance to benefit all humanity.
Why did you chose video game live streaming for your fundraising effort?
Andrew: Our first fundraiser was a 24-hour relay-walk. When our team for that event went their separate ways, I wanted to choose something I knew I could sustain for 24-hours straight. Since gaming is my favorite hobby, I thought it was pretty much the only choice! The level of passion and fanfare involved in the live game streaming community is astounding, and I knew we could gather some great outside support by leveraging that.
Nick: We are marginally better at entertaining people, and given that live streaming allows us to reach further than just our families, the choice was obvious. Also, we just like live streaming and playing video games, so there's the selfish factor.
Andrew and Nick of Dingus Boys Gaming
What made your most recent fundraiser successful?
Andrew: We streamed Dark Souls, which has a ravenous community of fans. While we enjoyed modest success for our first several years, we really started to take off once Nick began reaching out to prominent players in the community to come on as guests. From there, we've made so many great friends in the community, who always go above and beyond to give us a signal boost, or pop into chat to offer some supportive words throughout the night. Digging into what makes the community great in the first place—its players—has transformed the way we approach our charitable live game streaming for the better. It's allowed us to rub elbows with some amazingly talented, compassionate folks who've done so much for Nick and me that we could hardly begin to repay them.
Nick: The Dark Souls fan community is very supportive of fellow fans and their endeavors. We've had a lot of help from people big and small, from people who simply share the event, to donors, to a few big names in the community who have come on as guests—not to mention all the behind-the-scenes encouragement and promotion we've gotten from the friends we've made over the years.
Nick and Andrew of Dingus Boys Gaming
Do you have any advice for your fellow fundraising streamers?
Andrew: It's totally possible to go about live streaming on your own, and there are tons of successful streamers out there who do great work as solo acts. However, it's so important to remember that you don't have to do any of this alone. Lean on your friends and family, and don't be afraid to reach out in the hopes of making new friends. Try to seize on what makes your community great and nourish that. There are so many good people in the world who would love to help—and that's ultimately who you're trying to get donations from! It doesn't make sense to go it alone. Not to mention, it's much easier to stay awake if you've got a friend to chat with for 24 hours.
Nick: As the one who does more of the community stuff, I would say, first of all, don't be afraid to ask bigger fish in your own community to help you out. There are a lot of nice people out there who are willing to help for a good cause. Secondly, try to be kind to everybody. Half of fundraising events is about building relationships. A lot of the people who you meet along the way are genuinely nice people. They should be treasured for the light they bring to your life. Any help or donations is just a bonus.
Learn more about the Dingus Boys on their fundraising page, Twitch, Twitter, and YouTube.
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Andrew and Nick of Dingus Boys Gaming