- Social Media
- Active Citizenship
- Good Giving
- Corporate Responsibility
- Be Fearless
As they say, history is repeating itself. No, I’m not talking about the second Great Depression. I’m talking about the second revolution in media and communications. Just as the last millennium brought us the printing press, then the motion picture, and finally, broadcast television, this millennium the internet has given rise to blogging, YouTube, and finally, Ustream.
Ustream may sound like another MyFaceTube or TweetBook, but this tool provides a unique and powerful feature that Facebook and Twitter cannot: live video streaming, often referred to as livestreaming or lifecasting. Ustream, along with its two main competitors Jason.tv and Livestream, gives every individual or organization with an internet connection and a camcorder the ability to start their own TV show. And I’m not talking basic cable. With over 2 million registered users and 1.5 million hours of video broadcast every month, this thing has more channels than even your most expensive Comcast sports and movie packages.
As we have seen in the past, nonprofits are outpacing the for profit industry when it comes to social media, and Ustream is no exception. Nonprofits are quickly learning that instead of breaking their wallets on live TV spots or letting cable programs dictate their interviews, they can take video broadcasting into their own hands, for free. What’s more, live broadcasting can help them raise money, rather than spend it. For example, check out how Extra Lives used Ustream to raise over $12,000 for Free The Children, to provide clean water, healthcare, food and education to children in developing nations
Ustream also offers nonprofits a whole toolkit of items that live TV broadcasting can’t. These tools not only help make broadcasting easier for you, but it makes it more fun, interactive and accessible for your viewers:
- Chat: Allows your viewers to communicate with you in real time. Give your viewers what they want, when they want it.
- Social Stream: Ustream allows viewers to sign into the chat using their credentials from Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and AIM (even simultaneously!) so that their conversations appear as live updates to their networks. This can really help your broadcast go viral and grow your audience.
- Mobile Broadcast: You can now broadcast on Ustream on the go from your mobile phone.
- Video Archiving: After your broadcast is over, your video is not lost. You and your viewers still have access to your entire broadcast, and you can even upload it to YouTube.
- Highlighting: Ustream allows you to break up your videos into highlights with their own titles and URLs. Great for sharing parts of your video on Twitter.
So now that you know what Ustream is, you're probably wondering what your nonprofit can do with it. Well, the possibilities are unlimited, but here are a couple of ideas I have floating around.
- Broadcast an event: Having a gala or a conference but don’t have room for your whole audience? Let them watch it live online. For a great example of this, check out the archived videos of 2009 National Conference on Citizenship held at the Library of Congress in DC.
- Conduct an interview: Let your viewers ask you the questions and share your knowledge. Check the Case Foundation’s Gear Up for Giving program, where we interviewed nonprofit social media gurus.
- Give a talk: Whether it’s your CEO speaking at an event, or you broadcasting from your cube, let your viewers know your organization’s message. Check out Mac from Public Allies giving talks on careers, connections and other topics.
- Run a live telethon: Use Ustream to broadcast a live, interactive telethon (with or without the phone). You can promote it with Facebook, Twitter or your organizations' newsletter. Check out how the Tweetathon used money to raise money for clean water for the children of Kenya.
- Nonprofit News: Are you a nonprofit promoting Cancer research? Run a weekly news program detailing recent developments in your field. Check out the Business Boomer network, which engages audiences from communities of purpose by providing original content, production and distribution.
But most importantly:
- Show your impact: People want to see what your organization is capable of, so find ways to broadcast your progress.
Have your own nonprofit Ustream channel? Post it in the comments section and share it with our audience. If you have a great idea of how nonprofits can use Ustream, share that, too!