“Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award-winning short film TREVOR, the Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.” -the Trevor Project’s website
For his past two birthdays, Tyler Oakley, a YouTuber, has asked people to donate to the Trevor Project. Tyler, himself, is gay and is an active advocate for LGBTQ rights. Both years, Tyler set up his campaign on a website called Prizeo. Prizeo allows people to set up a campaign so that people may donate. The maker of the campaign can set a goal for how much to donate, and add prizes that are awarded when someone donates a certain amount. For every $5 donated to Tyler’s campaign, it counts as one entry into a raffle to win a trip to VidCon where Tyler will also take the winner backstage. Being backstage at VidCon is very prestigious, because it’s not like other events where people can buy VIP tickets and get backstage. There are other prizes awarded for higher donations such as a customized T-shirt, a hand signed poster and even Skype calls with Tyler for really high donations.
Last year, Tyler set his goal at $150,000 throughout the campaign, and over $500,000 was raised. This year, right from the beginning, Tyler set the goal at $500,000. Throughout the campaign, Tyler has been doing all sorts of things to interact with his fans and encourage them to donate. He tweets about it pretty regularly and mentions it in his videos very often. He also does live streams where he will challenge those watching to try and donate as much as they can in a minute (the record was over $8,000 in one minute) and he also sets small goals to reach throughout the live stream. If the goals are reached, he will reward fans by telling them insider information or calling them.
The $500,000 goal was reached on March 26 while Tyler was doing a live stream with a friend and fellow YouTuber, Korey Kuhl. The campaign officially ended on March 31st with a total amount of $532,224 which beat last year’s total.
I am a fan of Tyler Oakley myself and his fan base has a reputation of being very close knit and powerful. There have been instances where we’ve have crashed voting websites because we were trying to vote for him for award shows, or had a tag trending on Twitter that Tyler wanted to get trending. The Trevor Project is a really important resource for any LGBTQ youth who may need someone to talk to, and feel they can’t turn to someone they know. Even if someone doesn’t need a resource like this, it’s reassuring just to have it be available. Tyler wrote on his Prizeo campaign’s website, “It’s important to help The Trevor Project every year for my birthday, in hope that we can help others live to celebrate more of their birthdays.” I think this is a really powerful quote to keep in mind, and it really speaks to why a campaign like this can have such an impact on so many lives.