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There is no lingo to be learned when it comes to YouTube. We all know what it is, we have all used it. We have all watched videos of squirrels going water skiing and we are all witness to the Star Wars kid’s totally awesome moves.
But what if I were to tell you that YouTube had much more to offer the world than simply a place to find videos of a guy drinking a blended McDonald’s Happy Meal? Don’t believe me? Well my friends, we have much to learn! YouTube is one of the most effective Social Media tools the internet has to offer to nonprofits.
As the third most visited website on the internet after Google and Yahoo! (according to Alexa), YouTube offers one of the best methods of outreach for nonprofits. Combine this with a free platform to upload videos, easy access to embed videos on other websites, a social networking structure the likes of Facebook and a tag-and-search function allowing for heightened accessibility and web presence. What you get is a dream come true for small nonprofit organizations looking to spread the word about their cause on a limited budget. The bloggers at Wild Apricot said it the best:
“Conventional wisdom says that it is the small nonprofit organizations who stand most to benefit from Web 2.0 opportunities, where so much can be accomplished for such a small investment of time and resources. Online video, for example, puts multimedia broadcasting into the hands of organizations that could never afford to buy television air time.”
The creators of YouTube are well aware of the power they command, and, thankfully, they are committed to using this power for good. Since late 2007, YouTube has offered the nonprofit program, where all registered 501(c)(3) nonprofits can sign up for a free upgraded nonprofit account. Let’s check out what it has to offer:
- The Video Volunteers Program: Now this is cool. Want to take advantage of YouTube but you don’t have an editing program (let alone a video editor!)? YouTube’s Video Volunteers program, part of Google’s All for Good platform, allows nonprofits to connect with people who love making videos and want to lend a helping hand, for free!
- The YouTube Nonprofits Channel: A YouTube channel devoted to nonprofit organizations. A listing on this channel is a great way to find people invested in your cause and for them to find you.
- Enhanced Branding Options: Your nonprofit account allows you to customize your YouTube channel with banners, logos, color schemes etc. in order to set your channel apart from the thousands of others out there, and to better advertise your cause.
- Call to Action: This feature allows you to add a transparent overlay to your video, displaying a brief message and an in-video link designed to drive traffic to your webpage without asking viewers to remember the lengthy URL at the end of your video. See how it works in this video from Charity:Water, which raised over $10,000 in one day using Call to Action.
- Google Checkout: Google checkout allows viewers to donate directly to your organization right from your YouTube page, letting you push for immediate donations before your donors get distracted by other videos or have difficulty getting to your website.
YouTube is constantly upgrading its nonprofit toolkit by adding new features and programs to its platform. The site is always evolving; it just recently added a feature to upload videos from a mobile phone. This can be especially helpful for users in third world countries, where access to computers is limited but where many people are now getting online through their cell phones. It also recently added the ability to display 3d videos (for an example, click here). Just imagine what’s next!
YouTube is giving you the tools; all you need is some content. If you’ve made a great YouTube video supporting a cause, or even if you just found one you thought was interesting, email the link to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will display it on our homepage. Also, see the video below for advice on how to properly utilize YouTube to Broadcast Your Cause.
- Frogloop explains how the Humane Society of the United States utilized a video competition to support the battle against dog-fighting in this article.
- MarketWire provides coverage of YouTube’s debut of its nonprofit program.