Nonprofits: Using YouTube to Raise Money

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There are already numerous nonprofits that are using YouTube to raise money -- yours could be next. One way is through membership in the YouTube Nonprofit Program. Nonprofits who apply and are accepted have the opportunity to embed a Google Checkout button on their YouTube channel and viewing pages to drive fundraising.

This is a particularly exciting option, because active donors are using YouTube. According to a study called, "The Wired Wealthy: Using the Internet to Connect with Your Middle and Major Donors, recently released by Convio, SeaChange Strategies, and Edge Research, some of the most likely donors are YouTube users. The study surveyed donors with email addresses who gave more than $1000 online during an 18-month period and concluded that 52% of these individuals use YouTube (compared with 16% who use LinkedIn and 9% who use Facebook.)

When using YouTube to drive nonprofit fundraising, here are few strategies you might want to keep in mind:

1) Feature the people you are helping with your work through your videos -- a simple story goes a long way on YouTube. If donors can make a personal connection with your organization and its benificiaries they will be more likely to make a donation. This video, from Central Dallas Ministries, provides a good example.

2) Have a specific ask and make it clear in your video. Donors want to know where their money is going, and video presents you with the unique opportunity to show them. In addition, some of the most successful nonprofits on YouTube have asked users to donate money for specific items, like the UN Foundation's "Nothing But Nets" campaign which asked users to donate money for malaria nets.

3) Reach out to popular YouTube users to increase awareness of your cause (and find new donors.) You don't need to have an A-list celebrity to succeed on YouTube -- sometimes a YouTube celebrity can help your cause even more. For example, Sean, a YouTube user who heads up the Uncultured Project, an effort to provide aid to impoverished children in Bangladesh,   reached out to popular YouTube users the VlogBrothers to help him amplify his message. The VlogBrothers, who have over 34,000 subscribers to their channel,   produced this humorous and heartfelt video to encourage their viewers to give money to Sean. The video receieved over 60,000 views.

4) Report back to the YouTube community on your progress and recognize your donors. Posting a series of video progress reports adds legitimacy to your cause, and inspires other users to donate. Thanking users who have already donated increases the chance that they will contribute to you again. After receiving the donations spurred by the Vlogbrothers, Sean posted this video where he shows exactly how the money was spent. In addition, in the right sidebar of the viewing page, he thanks specific YouTube users for their generous contributions and links to their YouTube pages.