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YouTube for Nonprofits: What You Need to Know

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By Allison Gauss

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

YouTube has more than 1 billion users. Everyone from your mom to your doctor to your twelve-year-old nephew watches YouTube videos. What’s more, the platform reaches more people between the ages 18 and 49 than any cable network in America. But unlike a commercial on cable, nonprofits can share their content on YouTube for free.

Yet for many nonprofit organizations, posting and engaging with audiences on YouTube is a daunting task.

Part content platform, part social network, this massive site where people post, view, and share videos is an untapped resource for many nonprofits, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. In this post we offer some of the ways nonprofits can use YouTube, with examples from real organizations. If you’re ready to start taking advantage of this powerful tool, you can download our YouTube Cheat Sheet for Nonprofits, with step-by-step instructions and helpful tips.

How Nonprofits Use YouTube

Although YouTube specializes in video and streaming, it helps to think of it like your other social channels. You post content that interests and delights your audience. And by linking to your website and donation pages, you turn engagement into action.

The first step is to create content that speaks to your audience and is relevant to your mission. There are a few broad categories that much of nonprofit YouTube content falls under.

1. Awareness and Education

One of the biggest reasons nonprofits use YouTube is to increase awareness of both their cause and organization. It’s a perfect way to reach new audiences and old audiences. Nonprofits post content to educate people about the problems they are solving and the programs they execute.

For example, Heart Support, which connects people in the music community with mental health support, features interviews with musicians about their own struggles in order to encourage others to seek help.

Lots of organizations also create videos with practical tips and lessons for their audience. The American Heart Association offers healthy recipes and school lunches.

2. Campaign and Event Promotion

YouTube is also a great way to spread the news of your latest fundraising campaign or upcoming event. Heifer International created a series of short videos to promote their holiday campaign, in which supporters could donate cows, chickens, or other livestock in honor of a loved one.

Many nonprofits also post videos to promote the option to donate your birthday to the cause. In just a couple of minutes, you can show how a regular person can make a big difference.

3. Impact and Appreciation

Just as you want to inform your audience and motivate them to donate, it’s also important to illustrate what they are helping you accomplish. That’s why you should create YouTube content that shows the impact your programs make and thanks your supporters for their help.

To thank donors, fundraisers, and partners, Action Against Hunger posted this video showing how the money they raised is changing lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Videos allow you to really bring your impact to life and share it with your community, even if the progress is happening thousands of miles away.

And of course, YouTube videos can be a fun way to delight and inspire your audience. Sometimes a silly or funny video helps remind supporters why they care and encourages others to get involved!

Regardless of your cause or size, YouTube can be a powerful platform to spread your message and garner new support. With just a little bit of know-how, you can post your videos and build up your audience. To get started, download our YouTube Cheat Sheet for Nonprofits and learn what content to upload, how to help your videos get found, and how to turn video views into action.


Design Basics for Nonprofit Professionals

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