The highlight of last month’s Nonprofit Technology Conference in Washington, D.C., for me came when Ramya Raghavan, YouTube’s News and Politics Manager, detailed all the programs and services that YouTube provides for the nonprofit community. At NTC, Google announced that nonprofits no longer needed to apply to each program individually — now an all-in-one application process was in place. Fill out an application form, answer a few simple questions and within 30 days you’ll be notified if you’ve made the cut. Qualifying nonprofits will be able to participate in Google Grants, Google Earth for Nonprofits, Google AdWords for Nonprofits and much more.
What was shocking, though, was that of the more than 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States, only 10,000 had bothered to apply for the YouTube nonprofits program.
Are you kidding me?
If you’re not participating, here are a half-dozen reasons why you need to get off your duff.
Video is a great way to tell your nonprofit’s story, Ramya said. “It’s the kind of connection that is very personal, very unique.”
YouTube gives nonprofits branded channels, Ramya said, “which means you can upload an image map banner and link back to your website, you can choose custom thumbnails for your videos, you can upload videos longer than 15 minutes — even a feature-length documentary — and you can put call-to-action overlays, or external annotations, on any video to drive action to your donation page.”
6 ways Google is offering free help to nonprofits
Ramya outlined six ways in which Google is offering free help to nonprofits:
1YouTube Insight is a self-service analytics and reporting tool that enables anyone with a YouTube account to view detailed statistics about the audience for the videos that they upload to the site. “You can see who’s watching your videos, their age, location, gender, number of views, and you can even see at what spot in the video a person has (stopped watching),” she said.
2YouTube GoodWork. Nonprofits that don’t think they have the capability to create a video can apply to this program, a partner with Cannes Advertising Festival, asking ad creatives to make ads for nonprofits, for free. The top five entrants will be flown to Cannes, France, to participate in a nonprofit showcase.
3YouTube Direct is an open source uploading platform that you can embed on your website, allowing your supporters to upload a video directly to your YouTube channel, which you can approve or disallow through your moderation pane.
4YouTube Moderator allows any YouTube user to collect commentary, questions or ideas on your YouTube channel and watch the best ones rise to the top. Bring a group of people together on a topic of your choice and leverage their collective wisdom to vote on the best video and text submissions.
5Call to Action overlays is one of the most powerful YouTube tools, letting nonprofits create a text call to action that’s superimposed over their video, asking supporters to make a donation, text a text2give number or visit a url.
6YouTube Annotations is a new way for you to add interactive commentary to your videos. You can use it to add background information about a video, create stories with multiple story threads or link to related videos or search results from within a video.
JD Lasica, founder and former editor of Socialbrite, is co-founder of Cruiseable. Contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.