YouTube Your Way to New Supporters

I recently spent some time on YouTube searching for examples of great video story telling. One aggregator site on the YouTube nonprofit channel makes it easy to post your nonprofit videos and easy for viewers to find them. I found “Story of a Sign,” a powerful, poignant story of a Mexican street beggar there. I like it and the video Invisible Children because both videos demonstrate the power of the medium to tell a story and motivate people to action. “Story of a Sign” is linked to Karmatube which helps you get involved with the cause behind the video.

Other good examples of YouTube nonprofit video successes are Taglit Birthright Israel, Greenpeace, and The March of Dimes. According to their YouTube profiles, they have each captured thousands of viewers and many new advocates. For Birthright Israel, YouTube is a natural place to engage young adult Jews and keep the energy of their Israel experience alive beyond the trip itself.

YouTube’s nonprofit channel is growing as organizations realize the cost/benefit ratio makes it worth the investment. Now, given the slowed economy and the need to try new ways to find contributors, is a great time to experiment with YouTube. Organizations of every size can afford to participate. All you need is video recording device and a staffer or volunteer who likes to shoot. Turn one of them loose and let them create. If you follow a few simple rules (see below) you can build buzz, increase web site traffic, generate new interest from younger people, capture more email addresses and maybe even add some new donors to your list.

Here are a few YouTube tips to think about:

  • Keep it short. 2 minutes or less is best; it makes it more likely to be viewed.
  • Let it be real—no need for a professional videographer; rather let the story come through as authentic and timely.
  • Market your video well—describe it clearly and specifically using keywords that can help people find it.
  • Be authentic—no actors please! Just real people telling real stories.
  • Use traditional communications channels, your web site, pr, bloggers and word of mouth to attract viewer—integrate all your efforts.
  • Be fearless—try out a few approaches to see what works and keep at it.

And here are links to the YouTube user handbook and to a web-based “how-to-do almost anything” site that should help guide you through your first video production.