Delt Esports Pro Leads JDRF Fundraising at FIT
With a brother who is an esports professional, it’s no wonder Iota Xi Chapter was poised to run a successful fundraiser for JDRF. William Branca began playing professionally when he was 13, earning a world ranking well before reaching college. Florida Tech recruited him to help start the university’s esports program and he serves as the program’s student director involved in building and opening the esports center while studying computer science and cybersecurity.
When Branca took over as the chapter’s philanthropy coordinator, he brought expertise and inspiration to raise money for JDRF. He applied his background in running video game tournaments and worked with chapter officers to develop a fundraising plan. Branca also connected with JDRF’s Game2Give team to ensure all funds raised through the Florida Tech Delts Twitch channel go to JDRF.
The chapter exceeded its initial $500 fundraising when its FIFA tournament brought in $1,800. They implemented a $5 registration fee per person, reached out to corporate and local sponsors and found ways to develop passive income directed to JDRF.
“We have a donation button where you can donate directly to our Tiltify campaign. If you have Amazon Prime, you have a free Twitch sub every month. When you subscribe to our channel with your free Twitch Prime sub, we get $2 every month and we donate that to JDRF,” Branca said. “We have 35 brothers right now. If 20 of them have Amazon Prime and you get the $2 free per Amazon Prime sub, that’s $40 a month.”
To start Branca’s setup will average about $100 per month of passive income. “And that’s from us just doing what we do anyway. Establishing something where we can continually donate is something I love,” Branca said. “All the brothers play video games together. So why not put it on the Twitch channel?”
Building an audience is like building a brand and Branca acknowledges growth won’t happen overnight. “I started as a pro player and became a content creator. It took me about four years to get to 4,000 followers. It takes time to build a community. The one or two years you invest will reap the rewards for years to come,” he said. “It’s all about engaging your community and engaging the brothers,” Branca said.
In early spring, Florida Tech Delts had 60 followers on Twitch with the hope of hitting 100 by the end of the year. On their Rocket League stream last semester, the chapter averaged about 70 viewers. Not counting undergraduate brothers, that included about 50 people watching who were not active brothers. They hope to continue building their community.
FIT is currently building a massive esports center and Branca dreams of his chapter hosting future JDRF esports fundraising there. Additionally, before the end of his senior year, Branca would like to run a massive live event.
“I want to invite chapters to send teams here, to compete in person in a massive JDRF philanthropy event,” Branca said. “I want to get the word out. I want to help Delt and tell the story and promote the connection with JDRF. Esports is where everything is moving. With COVID it just expedited everything. The shift to online has moved exponentially and I think this is going to be one massive for some of our chapters to raise some real money.
Plug and Play
Delt is capitalizing on JDRF’s partnership with Jackbox Games (creator of party games Quiplash, Fibbage, Drawful, Trivia Murder Party, and more) to offer chapters a plug and play virtual fundraising solution. Chapters can fundraise for JDRF through video games, simply by visiting tiltify.com/jdrf/dtd-2021 to set up a campaign. There, chapters can contribute toward an overall Delt goal and to compete on the leaderboards against other Delt chapters. Before announcing the spring JDRF Game2Give opportunity, two Delt Chapters had already found success in virtual fundraisers. In November 2020, the men of Iota Iota Chapter at John Carroll University hosted a Livestream for JDRF with Among Us, Mario Kart and Warzon raising $1,600. Iota Xi Chapter at Florida Institute of Technology held a tournament, raising $1,800 with guidance from Philanthropy Coordinator William Branca (Florida Institute of Technology, 2023), who only learned about Game2Give at the end of 2020.
About JDRF Game2Give
Started in 2019 by the JDRF’s Northern California chapter, JDRF Game2Give raised more than $700,000 for type 1 diabetes research in its first year of fundraising. “JDRF is a fantastic organization and their support of families living with and managing T1D, including mine, is invaluable. Working with JDRF Game2Give will likely be the most important thing I do in my gaming career,” Larson said. “Video games hold this great power to connect and mobilize, and I’m excited to harness this power for fundraising and community building around T1D, alongside the talented, driven members of this team and the Advisory Council.”Visit jdrf.org/gaming to learn more or jdrf.org/stream to join the JDRF livestream fundraising team. Follow @JDRFGame2Give on Twitter.