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Philanthropy and YouTube


YouTube: the ultimate source for endless hours of cat videos, people falling down, and more recently, countless videos dedicated to individuals “doing “ the Harlem Shake. Every month, YouTube receives approximately 800 million unique visitors who watch more than 4 billion hours of homemade videos; that’s a little more than 26 million users and almost 135 million hours of video per day.

Recently, nonprofit organizations and charities have jumped on the social media bandwagon with increasing frequency, uploading videos about their mission, programs, and organizations to video sharing websites such as YouTube and Vimeo. Some organizations have proven extremely successful in garnering a large audience and attention. Caine’s Arcade, a short film about a nine-year old boy who built a cardboard arcade in his father’s used auto parts shop, became an instant viral success, generating a massive movement only five days after the video was first uploaded.

YouTube for Good, founded in 2011, was established to serve YouTube’s second fastest growing category, Nonprofits and Activism. Through a membership with the program, nonprofit organizations can accept donations via YouTube and add a simple button that directly links to organizations’ websites. A 24-page “Playbook for Good” provides nonprofit organizations useful advice ranging from increasing visibility through search engines to telling better stories. This year, YouTube will also host a one-day boot camp in San Francisco where nonprofit organizations from across the nation will receive training in YouTube fundamentals, promotion and community engagement tips, and one-on-one consulting sessions to grow their YouTube viewership.

“The idea is to take platforms that are already using the power of crowds and make it easy for any YouTuber to support a project,” Jessica Mason, manager at YouTube for Good, recently told the Chronicle of Philanthropy.  The new program will be particularly useful for small to medium-sized organizations that lack the resources to produce effective video messages and maintain an active presence in the social media sphere.

Social media and online video sharing has reconnected our communities in ways that were unimaginable five years ago. Through sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook, nonprofit organizations are able to share their message and mission to wider audiences, gaining greater recognition and creating more impact on people’s lives and in the communities they serve. Click the link to see how El Pomar uses video as a medium to interact with the community.