Seán ‘Jacksepticeye’ McLoughlin Is Raising Money For Charity With The Help Of His Community

Seán “Jacksepticeye” McLoughlin has 28.1 million subscribers on YouTube, is one of the most recognizable faces on the website, and spends much of his time playing video games. One thing in which he takes great pride is his charity work, like the charity drive supporting New Story in 2021 that raised $5,399,105. McLoughlin doesn’t just want to raise money, though — he wants to get his entire community to take part.

He’s largely done this with the help of an organization called Tiltify, which lets anyone who wants to make a charity drive get a site that’s already partnered with the organizations themselves. This allows events like McLoughlin’s Thanksmas to become a huge yearly money-raising event. McLoughlin’s work with Tiltify earned him the honors of being named their top creator fundraiser in 2021 after raising more than $11.5 million in 2021. Recently, Uproxx got to talk to McLoughlin about his charity work, Thankmas, and getting a community active.

When did you start doing charity streams?

I’ve been a part of live streams in the past where people have been raising money and I’ve always kind of been fascinated by it and I’ve seen other YouTubers do it before me. And I don’t know, I kept trying to think that I need to get into it, I need to do it, I wanted to help out. I wanted to get involved and I kept having this sort of big mental barrier in my head thinking that it was much harder to do. Because whenever people would do live streams, they would always talk about talking to the charity and organizing stuff. And I thought, “Oh man, that’s a lot of organizational work that I’m terrible at.” But when I got in touch with Tiltify they made it super easy and made it really, really straightforward, and a bunch of the charities we wanted to work with initially were already on Tiltify. It just made it so easy to plug into and go. So then kind of like 2018-ish, we started really hitting the charity live streams.

It’s always really interesting that these charity drives so often involve the gaming community, too, because it’s one of those things where — and I play tons of video games myself — but it’s impossible not to see some of the more negative labels that get attached to those communities. And then you have these events and there are amazing people in these communities that are willing to give so much to help people.

Yeah, it’s the same with any community, the bad stuff always gets highlighted anywhere you go and that’s sensationalism in a nutshell. But I think the root of people who like video games is just people who want to play games together. It’s such a tight-knit community, especially these days with so many multiplayer games that people can do. I think that idea of sitting down and playing a game with your friend on the couch was always a really big thing when I was younger, and I think now it’s even bigger because you can do it with people all across the world. It’s that sort of open connection now, with everybody, especially with YouTube becoming a thing and audiences having access to creators and vice versa. And you can interact with each other on a more personal level.

I think it’s amplified it all in such a positive way. It’s made things so much bigger and so much more accessible to do and everybody can have a voice on the internet now, whether good, bad, or indifferent. So, I think when you use that in a positive way, it tends to attract a lot of people who want to do good already, but feel like they don’t have a voice themselves. Then people flock to creators to be like, okay, you lead the ship and I’ll be on board and I’ll do whatever you need me to do.

So, what are some of your favorite moments from one of your events so far?

Man, I think the Thankmas ones have always been … they’ve just been getting bigger and bigger, and the one we did in December for New Story was not only the biggest one we’ve ever done, it’s one of the biggest charity fundraisers from a creator ever or from a single stream, and that just absolutely blew my mind. I couldn’t believe that because we were hitting so many milestones personally that we had never hit before and it was so wonderful to see the community come together. But to see it go even crazier, way beyond what I thought it would, seeing people’s faces and people’s reactions online, seeing the families that the houses were going to be built for, and the communities and everything. It’s always there, the human aspect behind it. All that warms my heart and makes you want to do it more and more. It’s so wonderful to just see how much a difference it can actually make.

What’s it like seeing other streamers trying to use their own platforms for good and similar ways?

I think it’s awesome. I’m always trying to encourage people to do it over and over again. That’s why we focus Thankmas now on putting power into the creator’s hands to be able to do it however they want, because I was trying for the longest time to just encourage people to do charity streams. Anytime anybody asks me, I tell them it’s way easier than you think to just jump in and have fun with it, because there’s no guidebook for it. There’s no rulebook or goal you’re supposed to hit or anything like that. It’s about whatever you want to do, you can do.

And then, we saw that we could enable that with Thankmas, and Tiltify made it so easy. Just make a website and then everybody just goes there and creates their own unique links. It’s one thing to do a stream, but to ask everybody to show up and come to it is a hard ask because people are busy, people have their own thing going on, or they’d rather do their own stream instead of coming to yours. There’s a ton of emotional politics involved in it, but if we create an event that has a good cause behind it and people believe in it, then you can just give the power over to them, and then they can do the stream however they want and make it their own thing, and it doesn’t even have to involve me. And I think that that’s sort of been the saving grace for Thankmas over the last couple of years, because it just gets more people involved.