August 6, 2010

How to maximize your nonprofit’s impact with YouTube

  • Buffer
  • Buffer

Charity: water’s “World Water Day” video contains a call to action starting at about 10 seconds in.

By Jessica Haswell
Socialbrite staff

Nonprofits have long known that creating a YouTube channel can help tell your organization’s story. But did you know that YouTube offers a nonprofit program? YouTube’s program gives nonprofits a number of handy features to get your message heard.

One nonprofit that put the program to good use is charity: water, which raised more than $12,000 in one day through the use of an in-video ad overlay on their World Water Day video, shown above.

Features of the YouTube Nonprofit Program

What exactly does YouTube’s Nonprofit Program offer?

  • More exposure. Videos will be listed in YouTube’s nonprofit channel and Nonprofit videos pages, and you’ll have your own nonprofit channel, which can be fully branded to suit your organization.
  • New outreach and fundraising opportunities. Your organization can add Call-to-action ad overlays on your videos, and a Google Checkout “donate” button can be added to your organization’s YouTube channel to help drive campaigns.
  • Volunteer videographers. You can post a video opportunity on the YouTube Video Volunteers platform to find a skilled YouTube user to create a video for your cause.

To us, the most exciting feature of this program is the call-to-action ad overlay. You know how about 10 seconds after you start watching a You Tube video, an ad pops up at the bottom of the video? After joining this program you can now control the content of the ad overlay wording on all of your videos, giving you the ability to include a call to action: Link the viewer to your website, additional content, places to donate or other external sites. Cool, right?

Make your channel count

After you join the Nonprofit Program, you’ll have your own nonprofit channel. You Tube offers some good tips on how to maximize the impact and exposure of your channel. Among them:

  • Reach out. Post videos that get YouTube viewers talking — perhaps you’ll want to create a compellng digital story. Then engage in an ongoing conversation with comments and video responses.
  • Partner up. Find other organizations on YouTube that complement your mission, and work together to promote each other.
  • Keep it fresh. Put up new videos regularly and keep them short — ideally under 5 minutes.
  • Spread your message. Embed your video on your own blog, and share the links and embed code with supporters so they can help get the word out.
  • Be genuine. YouTube has a wide demographic, so high view counts come from content that’s compelling, rather than what’s hip or trendy.

Videos are still limited to 10 minutes in length, even if your nonprofit is accepted into the program.

How to join

Membership in the nonprofit program is free, and it’s currently only available in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

To apply, first make sure you fit the meet the program requirements, and then click apply now to fill out an application.

Has your organization joined the YouTube Nonprofit Program? If so, we’d love to hear to hear your experience — please leave a comment below.


Guide to shooting better online video (Socialbrite)

Creating media: a roundup of guide & tips about how to create video & more (Socialbrite)

Complete guide to creating a video project (Socialbrite)

Google for nonprofits

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2 thoughts on “How to maximize your nonprofit’s impact with YouTube

  1. Hello Jessica,

    This is very interesting information! In my regular job I oversee our charitable donation program. A while back an organization asked for a product for their online auction. It was a non-profit that specialized in assisting those with disabilities enjoy the outdoors. I noticed that their Facebook page only had, and still has, 28 followers, their website gets little traffic and, unfortunately, their online auction did not go so well. I have been educating myself on non-profits and have considered volunteering my time, and very novice social media skills, to helping them get the word out about what they are doing. The ability to set them up with a YouTube channel like you describe in this post would be wonderful for them.

    I have been nervous about reaching out to them with my offer because I have never managed social media for a company before, although I am an avid reader and have tons of ideas. I need to remember the saying, if you never ask nothing changes. If I offer and they accept it could open up big doors for both of us.

    Thanks for spreading the word about YouTube's non profit program.


  2. Thanks so much for your response Rhonda!

    This would be a great opportunity for their organization…if it is their first time developing video or if they are looking for help creating their video I would recommend that they post to the You Tube volunteer network to find a skilled You Tube user to create a video for their cause ( Hope this helps!