Populace Gaming is a charitable gaming team based in Los Angeles, California that has raised over $6k for charity. Founder Brent Sanchez is a former U.S. Marine passionate about helping others. He took the time to answer some questions on behalf of the group and to tell us about what they do and how to get involved with charitable gaming.
TechRaptor: How did Populace Gaming get its start?
PG: Populace Gaming (PG) started with an idea, that was to use our love for gaming to help raise money for charitable organizations. Most of us on the PG Team got our start in charitable gaming world with Extra-Life.org which helps benefit the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals and for most of us on the team, the Children’s Hospital here in Los Angeles. I was approached by our first sponsor, Western Digital, who was looking for a local gaming team who was focused on charity. Knowing that I had been a part of the Charitable Gaming Community, they asked me if I could put together a team that they could sponsor. I knew right away to ask a few members of the Extra Life Los Angeles Guild who I had not only gamed with but also were comfortable streaming. When I spoke to them, they were more than excited and willing to jump at the chance to help raise money as a team. We then established the Populace Gaming Team in October of 2016, with the support of Western Digital and we continue to grow every day.
TechRaptor: Why did you decide to use your streaming to support charity?
PG: I know that this is still a new concept for people outside the gaming world, “Gaming for Charity” to them sounds like we are just making an excuse to play more video games, but they couldn’t be farther from the truth. It takes dedication and a lot of heart to keep pushing forward and trying to raise our goals. As a former U.S. Marine, I have always looked to try and help others. For a while I did not know how to channel that energy into something more productive, until I found Extra-Life. Extra-Life gave me the opportunity to do something I loved and actually did for fun, and use it to help raise money and awareness to the Children’s Miracle Network of Hospitals. In 2013 I did my first Gaming Marathon on the official “Day of Play”(Day of Play takes place in Late October early November every year and most of the “Extra Lifers” have a 24/25 hour gaming marathon), and my goal at the time was to raise $500.00. It was hard when I first started, but I was able to reach my goal that year. Now a mere 5 years later have already raised over $1200.00 this year and we are still a few months away from the official “Day of Play”. I am proud to say that to date I have raised roughly over 6k in funds for the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.
TechRaptor: How does streaming for charity differ from streaming for fun or personal profit?
PG: There are a lot of streamers out there who game for personal profit and make a great living out of it. I believe it takes a different kind of person to dedicate their time to game for charity. There are a lot of personal profit gamers who also do charitable streams, and they do amazingly, but charitable gaming isn’t their sole purpose. PG wants to change that, and we game solely to help raise money for charity. We are everyday gamers, we are fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers. We are the IT guys and the college students. We game for one reason, to have fun and help raise money and awareness for charities. I think what sets us apart is the fact that we do it for love of the charities we work with not just money.
TechRaptor: You are partners with some great organizations like Extra Life, Operation Supply Drop and Stack-Up.org. How did you get involved with these groups?
PG: Most of us on the PG team started as “Extra-Lifers”, so they will always be near and dear to our hearts. They gave us an avenue to use our love of gaming to help others and charities. I mean, who wouldn’t want to help sick kids? In fact they were our kicking off point when we started PG. Since then we have done Marathons for Operation Supply Drop and we are in the planning phases of having a marathon for Stack-Up.org. OSD and Stack-Up are both near and dear to my heart as a Combat Veteran myself, I always look for ways to help my fellow Veterans and Active duty service members. Stack-Up and OSD are just like Extra-Life in how they raise money and awareness. So it was an easy transition to be able to take what we do for Extra-Life and apply it to these other 2 amazing organizations.
TechRaptor: Do you have a favorite charity you work with or a cause that’s important to you?
PG: All three of these organizations are near and dear to all of us on the PG Team, but I think that Extra-Life will always hold a special place in our hearts because it is what brought us together and helped us start Populace Gaming. Seeing how much good our donations do at the hospital is just simply amazing.
TechRaptor: What are your favorite games to stream?
PG: Right now, we all enjoy different games when we stream, but for our PG Team Streams, Wednesday Nights at 8pm psd, we usually play something like Overwatch, Dead by Daylight, Golf With Your Friends, and most recently Playerunknown Battlegrounds. During our individual streams, we all have our preferences when we are playing solo, but usually another team member will drop in and play some sort of co-op game. Gaming’s always more fun when you play with great friends.
TechRaptor: What are some of the challenges to streaming video games? What do you like about streaming and the streaming community?
PG: I think the biggest challenge with streaming games, especially when you are starting, is not getting down on yourself when no one is watching. You have to put the time in to get your community growing, and I have talked to a few smaller streamers who have stopped streaming because they feel like, why do it if no one is watching? Admittingly it is very difficult when you are running a solo stream and no one is on. Carrying on a conversation with yourself or talking about the game you are playing or even talking about what is going on in your life when on stream is a challenge that only a few people can power through. We are very happy with our growing community, and we love seeing it grow daily, but people need to remember that it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes patience and persistence to grow your community. For the most part the streaming community is very welcoming and helpful and are always willing to take some time out of their own schedule to help raise money for different causes. Trisha Hershberger, Chloe Dykstra, and Brandon Winfrey have all given us the opportunity to collaborate with them to help raise awareness for all of the charities that Populace Gaming is involved in
TechRaptor: You recently became an Origin PC affiliate. How did that come about and what does it mean for Populace Gaming and your fans?
PG: YES! We did, and we are quite excited about it. We were at e3 this year and spoke to a representative from Origin PC and asked them if they had a Partners/Affiliate Program and if they were actively taking applications or considering new streamers. He gave us the information of where to go and apply online, and what the guidelines were for the people they chose. When I went over the guidelines there were a few categories that we didn’t quite fit perfectly, but I submitted nonetheless. About a week later I received an email from them congratulating us on becoming Affiliates. For our fans this means they can help the Populace Gaming Team grow when they purchase any Origin PC Products and Gear, the PG Team would then get a percentage of that cost which in turn we will be able to use to help us keep our website active and help us cover some of the overhead. Right now most of the resources are coming straight out of our own pockets, so its going to be great to be able to see some money come back to help us continue to grow. Other than that we will continue to provide the best content both Live Streaming and on our Podcast that we can for our fans and community.
TechRaptor: The gaming community supports many charities. Why do you think that is? Do you think it’s important for gamers to be involved in causes they care about?
PG: I think that many gamers have always wanted to help different charitable organizations, but never had the avenue to be able to do it with. I think some gamers prefer to stay behind the computer or console then to be out there on foot trying to raise money or awareness. So Charitable Gaming is an amazing avenue for them to use where they can feel comfortable in their own homes and at the same time do some good in the world. I think everyone should want to help with causes they believe in, and I think sometimes they just need a little push or a step in the right direction.
TechRaptor: What do you think is the best way for gamers to support a good cause?
PG: Any Gamer who wants to support a cause, like Extra-Life.org, need to only sign up to get going. Once you have your donation page you can always start by donating to yourself to show others that not only are you putting in the time to help raise money but you are also willing to put your hard-earned dollars to help as well. Anything you help raise money for, you should be willing to put into it your own money as well. Once that happens, social media I think is the best way to get your cause out there to the world. Share it with your friends, followers, and community. If you tweet something out, ask the charity to give you a retweet, many times the charity has a larger reach then you might have so never be afraid of asking for a retweet or a shout out.
TechRaptor: Are there any big events coming up for Populace Gaming?
PG: We are currently in talks with a few companies who want the PG Team to help host events for some of the causes that we already support. So, I can’t say definitively what we have coming down the pipe just yet. All I can suggest is to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, YouTube or Mixer to stay up to date on our upcoming events and broadcasts. We always have some amazing give aways whenever we have big events, so it’s always good to keep an eye out for our posts. We do have our official Day of Play with Extra-Life on Nov 4th. So be ready for a wild 24 hour marathon with awesome give a ways and prizes!
TechRaptor: How can people get involved with and support Populace Gaming?
PG: We are actively looking for a few more dedicated members to join our team and help our community grow. If you would like to apply to be a member please contact us as [email protected] If you are looking to support any of our causes please visit our page www.PopulaceGaming.com , and under partners click on the link to donate to any of the charities we currently help. If nothing else follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, Mixer, or on YouTube and help spread the word!
A big thanks to Brent for taking the time to talk with us about the Populace Gaming team and charitable gaming!