YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and 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.
Disclaimer: 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 for creating a YouTube channel? Awareness? Fundraising? Education?
· How will we use the channel? Client stories? Explainer videos? Inside looks?
· Who is our target audience? Donors? Prospects? Volunteers?
· What types of videos will we be posting? 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?
· What do you constituents want? Have you polled your current followers? Have you done any focus groups?
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 and upload your profile picture (aspect ration 1:1)
2. Tip: Make sure your channel name relates to your content, is catchy, and easy to spell.
3. Under the customize and branding tabs, 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, Qvid and ahrefs are some of my favourite tools for keyword research)
6. Include your social media handles and website links
7. Set permissions - Leave a comment if you would like to see a step-by-step for monetizing your channel.
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?
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
· Intros & outros: An intro should be 5-7 seconds with your logo and branding. Intros and outros build a strong base at the beginning of a video and a well-supported statement at the end.
STEP 4: Upload and YouTube SEO
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.
So much more!
Additional YouTube Tips for Non-Profits:
Get involved with the YouTube community
Run contests to expand your reach
Create a subscribe-worthy series
Organize your content into playlists
Add calls to action for engagement
Try out YouTube Live
Collaborate with brands and creators
Run paid YouTube ads