How Your Nonprofit Can Raise Money and Find Donors On YouTube

 YouTube Fundraising
Do you know what the second most popular search engine in the world is? It’s YouTube! Not only that, it’s the second most visited website in the world. 

Whether you’re looking to market or fundraise for your organization, there are so many opportunities to take advantage of, especially since video is such a versatile medium. You can pull at heartstrings, make a quick first impression and share your story all on one platform. And with YouTube’s new fundraising tools it’s so much easier to raise money! 

Not just for funny cat videos anymore, Pew Research Centre found that over 50% of adults use the platform to understand the world better. It’s a hub for entertainment, news, how-tos and philanthropy. 

So let’s dive into how you can take advantage of the platform and its fundraising features. 

Why Should Your Nonprofit Be On YouTube? 

YouTube has over 2 billion active users, 122 million of which visit the site every day according to OMNI Core Agency. It’s one of the most popular platforms on the internet and yet few people are using it as a way to connect with their audience. Video content does not have to be daunting, and if worked into your schedule it can help build your reputation with your audience. 

Video storytelling is also incredibly effective in creating empathy with your viewers and with the new YouTube for Nonprofits program, there are a ton of new opportunities for you to engage with your supporters. YouTube is a place where you can join a community and create a meaningful impact with the stories you choose to tell. 

The best part is, video content doesn’t just work on the platform. You can find ways to use your YouTube content on your site, within your emails and share across other social networks. Your channel can be used as an asset to your campaigns and other projects by providing a home for your digital stories. 

Sign up for Google for Nonprofits

The very first step your nonprofit has to take is to register with YouTube. And since it’s owned by Google you will also need to have a Google account (which is free for nonprofits!)

To do this, you will need:

  1. A Google for Nonprofits account, you can get this by heading to
  2. A YouTube channel and ID. This is super easy to do if you have a Gmail because you can use it to log in and even add coworkers to help manage your account! 

The biggest benefit of registering for your free Google for Nonprofits account is that eligible nonprofits will soon be able to raise money directly within the YouTube platform, without sending donors to an outside website.  

In August 2018, Erin Turner, Product Manager for YouTube Giving, announced that they are rolling out a new suite of fundraising tools for nonprofits, including:
  • Fundraisers
  • Community fundraisers
  • Campaign matching
  • Super Chat for Good

The best part is, Google will cover all of the processing fees so that registered nonprofits receive 100% of all funds raised!

This will add a function similar to Facebook fundraisers by embedding a donate button right next to a video or live stream. The other functions will allow nonprofits to host peer-to-peer campaigns and allow creators to collaborate on raising money for one nonprofit. 

You can now have Live Chat Donations where creators host fundraisers on their live streams, and viewers can donate directly from the chat window. You can monitor viewer donations in the Live Control Room with the Viewer Activity Widget.

To learn how to set up a YouTube Giving Fundraiser, follow the instructions Google listed here. 

You Need To Create Compelling Content 

All these tools are great in assisting you with fundraising, but at the end of the day, it’s how you connect with donors that will get them to donate to you. 

Begin With What Makes You Special
This seems easy but for a lot of nonprofits, it can be hard to pull away from the typical story structure we see a lot in the industry. It goes something like: "there was a person who had this problem, then they found us! And we helped them with our services. Now they are living better lives.” 

There is nothing wrong with this structure, it’s just overused and predictable. Try to dig deeper and find a moment that really made you stop and say "wow”, this is where the magic happens. You have to be specific and really connect with the personality and values of your nonprofit. 

We interviewed professional storyteller Micheal Kass on finding this spark and he recommended having fun with your narratives and try to just be yourself. He says "you can have the most beautifully crafted story in the world but it doesn’t land because you as the storyteller aren’t moved by it. The thing that makes a story most interesting to me is when the storytelling, whether it’s in writing or in person, is moved in some way by their story.”

As a video creator myself I often talk with business owners and nonprofit leaders and in between takes they will tell me these marvellous stories of everyday interaction they have with customers or clients. I often encourage them to share it on camera and 9/10 am told "oh no people don’t want to hear that” but the thing is, they do! 

That thing that gets you excited to come to work every day, that simple interaction that changed your life forever. That’s what people want to hear! 

Put Thought Into Production
Videos have become incredibly simple to make and now there are so many free and affordable tools you can use to connect with your audience. youTube has a very basic built-in editor within the website, but I highly recommend editing your videos outside of the platform before uploading. 

This way you can go through the clip, see if there are any errors and know for certain you are uploading the best copy possible. 

The first step of the video process should be a script or breakdown of the content. This will allow you to go into production confidentially and ensure you aren’t missing anything by the end of filming. As a content creator myself, I can not tell you how often poor planning has led to extra hours of filming on the job. It’s better to take the 5 extra minutes to sort it out now than taking one hour to figure it on during filming. 

If you’re doing a formal scripted video write it beforehand and consider also creating a shot list or storyboard outlining the type of visuals you need to get in the video. You can even use free stock footage sites like Pexel to help you out. 

If it’s an interview or a more casual video create a skeleton of all the points you want to hit or questions that need to be answered, and just like the scripted video think about the shots you want to take. 

If you’re still not confident in your creative abilities, don’t worry because YouTube actually has an academy that teaches you everything you need to know about using and engaging audiences on the platform! Their course on activating your nonprofit on the platform is free and super easy to follow along. 

How To Optimize Your Video With Keywords, a Thumbnail and Other Key Features

On-page metadata works the same on YouTube as it does on your site. Keywords that are placed strategically near the front of a title of course work wonders, but think about including a keyword in your channel name itself.

For instance, instead of "Company name,” try "Company name: Keyword” with your keyword being your industry, your service, your product or any term that helps define your brand and enables searchers to find you. Put yourself in your viewer’s shoes and think about what they would search, the terms they would use and the answers they would need. 

Fill Out the "About Us” Page
The About Us page is the perfect place to share more about your nonprofit and increase your searchability. To this day, many marketers and fundraisers are unsure how to approach their About Us pages. Should it share your history? Is your nonprofit’s mission statement? Should you just focus on your cause? Is it necessary at all?

The thing to know about About Us pages on YouTube is that the first 48 characters show up in the YouTube search results, so filling out this section is necessary for site users to understand who you are but also for YouTube to be able to serve the best snippet of content.

Editing the Video

If you aren’t a huge techy, editing a video may seem like a daunting task. Where do you begin? How do you export? What about making cuts? 

Let me tell you, there are so many easy ways to create stunning videos that don’t break the bank. Software like iMovie is free to anyone with a Mac (or another apple device) and is quick to pick up while having everything you need to make stunning video content. 

For more free software recommendations, look at this list from Shopify, but for now, let’s go over the basics of what makes a video technically sound. 

Cutting At The Right Time 
You never want to stay on a shot for too long, it can be boring for your viewers. Try to make edits where it feels most natural and don't cut away from the action. 
Pacing is very important to tell a good story and you don’t want to distract the viewer with too many or too few edits.

Audio is often forgotten about when making a video but it does contribute a lot to your overall production value. Most basic editing software will allow you to make simple edits to your video’s sound like adjusting the volume or cleaning up any background noise. 

3 Examples of Great Nonprofit Youtube Videos

Although Jubilee is a media company and not a nonprofit, this video shows how simple it is to create effective content without having to get crazy with graphics or editing. It features Muslim Americans sharing their experiences with Islamaphobia and the messages they would want to give to their children on how to navigate a world that discriminates against their religion. 

Tell me you didn’t shed a tear while watching this? This is an incredible example of sharing the experiences your clients face because it’s giving them the chance to be truthful and genuine about their experiences and the need for change. You can end a video like this with a strong call to action sharing where they can learn more or donate to help. 

The Girl Effect "The Clock is Ticking"

This video focuses more on motion graphics, text and music to tell their story. What is extremely effective here is the visuals. It is clean, collective and clearly expresses a need for support while also pulling at the heart with the little animated girl. 

It’s a simple concept but so powerful because it dives right in and gets to the point. There is no fluff to distract from the man message, that child marriage is a reality faced by many and needs to be stopped.  

This concept is interesting because it focuses on the donor rather than your organization. The first thing that grabs you in is the humour and the quick pace of the ad. You’re constantly wondering what they are going to say next and what ridiculous thing the man in the video will do to save the rainforest. 

The reason this video is so effective is that it’s relatable. The main character represents the average people, who have the passion but lacks the knowledge to fix a huge problem like deforestation. It educates and entertains in the best way possible and gets the viewer thinking about how many times they have made the same mistakes in their attempt to do better. 

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By Trust Driven on

Fundraising Nov 10, 2021, 12:00 AM

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