YouTube for Nonprofits

Everything you need to know to get your charity started on YouTube!

YouTube can be a powerful tool in your fundraising and awareness arsenal.

Good use of video can help you build awareness, showcase your work, educate, promote campaigns or events, provide donor stewardship, engage with your constituents, show your impact, and tell your stories.

Before I get you dreaming of all the great things you can do with video, it is important to note that creating and maintaining a YouTube channel is very time consuming and demands precious recourses. Content creation requires scripting, storyboarding, managing talent, filming, editing, SEO, marketing, etc. One of the most important tips for a successful YouTube channel is upload consistency, so keep this in mind when launching your channel. If your organization is ready to take dive into the YouTube world, or if you are ready to take your current YouTube channel to the next level, you will want to start with a solid strategy.

STEP 1: Develop your YouTube Strategy

I always begin by checking out the competition and what other channels are doing. It's all about research and inspiration.

Next, I gather the team and ask questions like:

  • What is the purpose/goals for creating a YouTube channel? Awareness? Fundraising? Education? Stewardship? Stories? Impact?

  • How will we use the channel and what will our messaging be? Client stories? Explainer videos? Inside looks?

  • Who is our target audience and what are their demographics? Donors? Prospects? Volunteers?

  • What types of videos will we be creating? Zoom interviews? How-to-guides? Cartoons? Vlog? Unboxing?

  • What resources are available or needed? Scripting? Talent? Filming? Editing? SEO?

  • Who can we use for talent? Volunteers? Staff? Board? Celebrities?

  • What will our upload schedule be? Twice a week? Once a week?

  • How can we promote the channel? Website visits? Social media followers? Email database?

Once you have done your research, identified your strengths and weakness, and built a brand template, now try it out… Poll your current social media followers and run your ideas past them. Create a focus group of your constituents and show them the plan. Don’t be afraid to deviate from your plan. Experiment, take risks and try new things.

STEP 2: Create your YouTube Channel

Once there is a clear strategy in place, it is time to start the creative process. You will need a Google account, so if you do not already have a Gmail account for your organization, you can simply sign up for one to automatically get access to YouTube.

1. Create your channel

2. Upload your profile picture (aspect ration 1:1)

3. Upload your profile banner (this one is complicated because TV, mobile and PC users have a different experience. The safe area for text and logos is 1235 x 338 px. Larger images may get cropped on certain views or devices.)

4. Fill in the about section (As well as engaging copy, I include hashtags and contact info)

5. Set your keywords (TubeBuddy is favourite tool for keyword research)

6. Include your social media handles and website links

7. Set permissions Finally, upload a trailer video about your channel. Your channel trailer video provides a preview of your channel so viewers will want to subscribe.

Pro Tip: Once you have 100 subscribers, you can get a custom URL

STEP 3: Create your YouTube Videos

Although we have several cameras with different lenses, a smart phone works just as well. We do recommend investing in sound and lighting! There are many helpful videos and tutorials out there about how to shoot video, so we will just cover the basics.

· Start with a script and a plan: Each story has a beginning a middle and an end.

· Scout your location: Keep lighting in mind and background

· Book your talent: Real, recognizable people work best for ALL social media

· Gather your equipment: As mentioned, lighting and sound are most important!

Ready, set, record… Check your shot first though...

o Are your camera settings correct?

o How is the lighting?

o What is in your background?

o Did you sounds check?

o Did you get your B-roll?

Pro Tip: Make sure to encourage engagement by asking users to subscribe, comment and like during your video

Edit: There are many free video editing software options available, but here are a few of our favourites

o Canva for graphics (and video creation):

o Filmora for video editing:

o Artlist for music:

o Yvond for animation:

STEP 4: Upload and Optimize Your Videos

When uploading your videos, the first step is to do your Keyword and title research. TubeBuddy, VidIQ or ahrefs are some of my favourite tools for gathering information and gaining insights to help rank higher in search engines.

1. Rename your video file using a target keyword

2. Insert your keyword naturally in the video title

3. Optimize your video description with keywords

4. Categorize your video

5. Include the right tags with popular keywords that relate to your topic

6. Use the end screens and cards

7. Enable closed captioning

8. Design custom thumbnails that are clickable

9. Use timestamps

10. Be consistent with upload schedule

11. Link video on all social media channels and embed on your website

STEP 5: YouTube Analytics

YouTube offers a powerful range of reporting and analysis tools for every channel to help you track what is working and what is not. Below are a few key metrics to consider.

  • Total views

  • Watch time

  • Audience retention

  • Traffic source

  • Viewer age & gender

  • Geography

  • Impressions

  • Click-through rates

  • So much more!

Additional YouTube Tips for Non-Profits:

  1. Get involved with the YouTube community

  2. Run contests to expand your reach

  3. Create a subscribe-worthy series

  4. Organize your content into playlists

  5. Add calls to action for engagement

  6. Try out YouTube Live

  7. Collaborate with brands and creators

  8. Run paid YouTube ads

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