Power Up: Exclusive Interview with Jambo From Sidequest
I have been at Dread for over 2 years. As far as farewells go, I cannot think of a better or more befitting ta-da than this. It is with great joy that I present you this interview with Jambo, founder and Manager of Sidequest. They are a group of gamers, streamers and industry people making a difference in people’s lives. Gaming is serious business! But making a huge difference in people’s lives can be fun, too. Take it away, Jambo!
DreadXP: Can you please introduce yourself, and your position at Sidequest?
Jambo: I’m Jamie (also known on the internet at Jambo) and I am the Founder and Manager of Sidequest!
DXP: What is Sidequest, and what drove you to create it?
Jambo: Sidequest is a strong, special, diverse team of like-minded creators striving to make a difference both on and off the platform. Over my years as a creator, fundraising and charity work have been a big part of our platform. I spent a lot of time questioning and doubting whether or not I was a “big enough” creator to make a difference, until one day someone who inspires me greatly, still to this day, said “you are NEVER ‘too small’ to make a difference” and from there, I ran with it.
After I got Partnered on Twitch, I immediately approached my best friend (the Charity & Community Outreach for Sidequest, Violet) with the idea for Sidequest. I didn’t have a name yet, but all I knew is I wanted to create a space where creators could come together, in the capacity they choose, to fundraise for various organizations, uplift each other, support amazing causes, and hopefully help drive home that it doesn’t matter your size, the impact you have is what matters. And we ALL can create an impact.
DXP: There is a nearly insurmountable amount of causes which need help. How do you make the hard choice of which to support?
Jambo: It’s a seemingly impossible decision at times, and our staff has run into quite a few moments of “AHHHH WHY CAN’T WE SUPPORT THEM ALL??” but in truth, this first year was a big trial run for us on how to manage events, the administration behind them, doing our research, listening to our team, and focusing on the world around us. We chose the campaigns we did this year as organizations we were familiar with. We took feedback from our team, made some changes along the way, took their suggestions, and also took part in huge campaigns across the platform. We have run 8 campaigns (so far) through the life of our team, and next years we intend to more than double that, and help as many organizations and foundations as we can. We don’t plan on stopping any time soon.
DXP: How are other team members chosen to be a part of SQ?
Jambo: We started with a pretty bare bones idea of what we wanted. We had a loose (very loose) viewership requirement, which was essentially 3 average viewers. We looked at charity experience, which also wasn’t a driving force, as we wanted to allow folks a space to learn and get into charity streaming with the support of a team (we thought that was important, as I didn’t have that when I started). We also did extensive looks at social media and Twitch to make sure that who we brought on fit the morals that we had structured. Honestly, we look at everyone as individuals. We don’t have a stern mold. We just want to have a full, powerful, beautiful, inclusive, safe, ambitious team, and that is exactly what we have – we are so thankful to those who have applied, and wanted to be a part of what we’re building in this space, we couldn’t do it without them.
That said, it’s been a grueling process, and turning people down is the hardest part. Every time we have gone through applications, our staff has been on the brink of tears (if not IN tears) knowing we will be letting others down. But through all of this, all of the trial and error, involving the team in the decision and taking their recommendations along the way, we are excited for future applications, which will be opening in January of 2022!
DXP: Can you give us an overview of some of the work that SQ has done since its inception?
Jambo: In our time as a team, Sidequest has fundraised for multiple organizations, including Gamers Outreach, Feeding America, Heart Support, Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, St Jude, Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, charity:water and the American Cancer Society. Through all of these campaigns, our team has raised $335,600.46 and we still have four months to go!
Alongside that, we also have done (and will be doing many more) community campaigns, wherein we open a campaign up to both team members and the community (via Discord or Twitter) to fundraise with us! Our community team has raised $12,864.84 (through one campaign, also for Gamers Outreach and we have one more coming up this year)!
DXP: What does it feel like, on a personal level, to see that GO Kart SQ donated being used by children who need it most?
Jambo: It’s… surreal. As both a creator myself and the leader of Sidequest, it’s incredibly humbling to see how much we can do when we come together for something greater than ourselves. Seeing how we’ve helped others, and the impact that we’ve had as a team, is beautiful. While it’s painful to see hurt in the world in any capacity, it’s nice to know that we are able to help, even in the smallest of ways.
DXP: I know it’s a bit difficult, but can you share with us some of your favorite SQ moments? Perhaps a reaction from a beneficiary, a moment where SQ made a difference in someone’s life, stuff like that?
Jambo: I’m going to limit this to my favorite moment within campaigns, because otherwise it would be impossible to choose! I think I would have to say it was the moment that Sidequest, together, raised $100,000 as a team, in our third campaign. Not only was that an incredibly emotional moment for me, but for our team, and the recognition among us that we were building something beautiful and impactful. To this day, seeing all that we have accomplished in a year of being a team (our birthday was September 9th), I can’t believe the impact we’ve had. It’s incredibly humbling to be at the helm of this team, but to know that I can lean on them at any time. To know that on any given day, they’re just as much a part of this as I am, if not moreso. To know that we have the most kickass group of people surrounding us, in our efforts to make a difference, change lives, and leave the world a better place than when we found it. There’s no better feeling.
DXP: What is your opinion on the current state of the gaming industry with regards to philanthropy, charity work and generally helping each other?
Jambo: Gaming does good, you know? It’s incredible to see that creators of any size, whether you’re raising millions a year, or one dollar, you’re giving those in need something they didn’t have before. I try to say this as often as I can, but while streaming, content creation and gaming are generally seen as competitive in nature, charity is not a competition. Seeing others come together to be part of something bigger, uplifting each other, giving themselves or creating exposure for causes, and taking part in changing the lives of others around the world who need it is inspiring. I really hope that more and more of the gaming industry, including companies, devs, studios, etc. become involved and we can keep increasing the good the gaming community does together.
I think it’s also great that organizations have been putting together info packs that include how much each dollar helps, and essentially “itemize” what every $1, $5, $20, $100, etc. do to help those who need it, and I think it helps put in perspective for those who worry that they aren’t doing “enough” to see that they make an impact a dollar at a time. It’s amazing to see, and I hope more put that information out and available.
DXP: How can companies reach out to work with SQ to create a positive impact through their platform?
You reach out to us on both Twitter (@TeamSidequestTV) or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)! We’re actively seeking organizations for campaigns for 2022, so if interested, please reach out! We’d love to speak with you!