Hotline Sehwani is a YouTube channel with more than 15,000 subscribers. It features video-game-themed LoFi remixes that set the tune (and mood) for work, studying, gaming, or chilling out. But what exactly does that have to do with Dreamscape Foundation – and how does it impact its mission?
Part of the link lies within the name. Hotline Sehwani (Follow on Twitter @HotlineSehwani) is a project started by Dreamscape Foundation founder Joe Sehwani during the “lost year” known as 2020. While the connection between this creative platform and the non-profit may not seem apparent at first glance, a common thread runs through them both; a thread that reaches back to the very start – and the very heart – of Dreamscape Foundation.
Dreamscape Foundation’s Began with the Help of Sehwani’s Art
Sehwani was sixteen when he began to lose his sight. The onset of Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy, or LHON, was sudden, its impact swift. He went from possessing 20/20 vision to completely losing his central vision. Yet somewhere amidst grappling with this new reality, Sehwani set a goal that would become Dreamscape Foundation’s primary mission (bridging the accessibility gap), and he was determined to do so in a creative way.
Before his central vision faded completely, he created an Indigogo campaign called the Dream 10 Program, which raised $5,410 to help him kickstart Dreamscape Foundation by creating artwork for donors who purchased specific donation packages.
“At the time my mindset was, ‘I’m losing my eyesight. I don’t know if I will continue to do [art], so at least I can do something good out of it and then step into my career in a nonprofit life,” he said.
Over the years, Sehwani continued to find creative, and unorthodox, ways to raise funds for the non-profit. Much of those efforts exist in the digital space, such as eBay sales, affiliate marketing, pay-per-click campaigns, charity streams, and non-profit benefits through e-commerce activities such as Humble Bundle and Amazon purchases.
“I feel that he one of our biggest differentiating factors is how we’re uniquely fundraising,” Sehwani explains. “We have a very grassroots and unorthodox way to fundraise, but, in the end, it’s always going to be for a good cause.”
By tapping into avenues and opportunities that connected with everyday activities, such as online shopping and watching livestreams, Sehwani was able to consistently raise funds while finding opportunities to bring awareness of Dreamscape Foundation and its very niche mission to a wide audience. It’s a meet-people-where-they-are approach rather than trying to lure an audience to come to them.
“It’s difficult for a nonprofit, to really go viral on social media,” Sehwani said. “People follow and like these organizations because they like what they do and it’s nice to kind of see some positivity here and there. But nobody is picking up their phone and going, ‘I wonder what’s new in the American Red Cross world today?’ I wish I wish that was the case, but it’s just just how it is.”
Hotline Sehwani’s Affiliation to Dreamscape Foundation
So how exactly does Hotline Sehwani play into all of this? The YouTube channel began as a pandemic hobby where Sehwani reconnected with his creative talent. In collaboration with others, he produced multiple videos featuring animated Sonic artwork and original LoFi music. He then used his keen talent for digital advertising and marketing to grow the channel’s exposure and audience.
As his viewers and follower count swelled into the thousands, Sehwani began to realize that this was more than just a hobby. Hotline Sehwani could be used as a platform to help fund and grow Dreamscape Foundation’s mission, too. Through monetization, his YouTube content earns money through views, clicks, and ads. Additionally, the YouTube Giving program lets him create campaigns on behalf of the non-profit. The campaign would appear beside the videos on his channel where viewers can read about the organization’s mission and donate if they feel compelled.
As Hotline Sehwani’s music spread to other platforms like Spotify, it opened up additional opportunities for monetization. Every view, every listen turned into drops of income, and as the volume swelled so did the flow of funds. Thus, he decided to use those proceeds to support his non-profit. All of the proceeds from Hotline Sehwani support Dreamscape Foundation, and its efforts to make the world more accessible for those with visual, and other, disabilities.
“If you’re listening to these tracks, if you’re sharing them, if you’re adding them to your playlist, if you’re putting on in the background to work, you are raising money for their organization, in some way, shape, or form,” Sehwani said.
In a way, it’s a return to Dreamscape Foundation’s origins. The non-profit began with Sehwani selling his own artwork in order to raise enough money to start the non-profit. Now, several years later, he has found a way to create a form of art once again, and it’s become yet another vehicle to drive the organization’s mission.« PreviousNext »