How to use YouTube to tell your nonprofit’s story


YouTube for Nonprofits: Not Your Average Cat Videos


Does your nonprofit have a compelling story to tell? Yes. Do you want to connect with donors, but don’t have the funds to launch expensive outreach campaigns? Most likely. Well, the  YouTube Nonprofit program can help!


Spoiler alert: YouTube is more than an endless supply of vlogs, cats, and Harlem Shake renditions. It’s also a wonderful resource for nonprofits. Storytelling with video is an incredibly powerful method of communication. YouTube’s Nonprofit program offers valuable tools to help your organization accomplish mission through compelling storytelling.


YouTube creates a space for representation and education. Over 800 million people worldwide are on YouTube, also the world’s 2nd largest search engine (after Google).


“People are looking for you and your cause every day,” a point emphasized by the YouTube for Nonprofits: Creator Playbook Guide.


The guide, provided by YouTube, is available to answer any questions, offer tips and strategies, and share prime examples of successful video storytellers. Planning is key, so have a video strategy: “interacting with your viewers and having a clear call to action are as important as capturing good footage.” Also focus on content, appropriate titles and descriptions, and apt use of tags.


The CT Chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America puts these tips to good use. The nonprofit’s video campaign, launched in 2010, created a better awareness and understanding of the disease through personal stories from people with Lupus in Connecticut. Check out The Council of Nonprofit’s case study on the project for more information.


Other prime examples include Project for Awesome, a YouTube community effort that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars since its launch in 2007, or The Trevor Project’s ‘It Gets Better’ campaign which inspired over 50,000 user-generated content (UGC) videos amounting to over 50 million views. “Calls to the Trevor Project suicide hotline have increased over 50% and more than $100,000 has been raised since 2010 to help LGBT youth,” according to YouTube.


YouTube offers additional perks tailored to nonprofit needs, such as

  1. Donate button - users/viewers can donate right from the video. Great for fundraising!
  2. Call- to-action Overlays - quick and easy links back to your website
  3. Live streaming
  4. Video annotations

What stories will your nonprofit tell? Commit to video and apply for the YouTube Nonprofit program today at for more information.


Looking for more? Check out these helpful resources:


Sarah Daxton head shot

Sarah is a self-proclaimed cat lady, chocoholic, beard enthusiast, and aspiring writer. She is currently a graduate student pursuing a Master of Professional Writing at Chatham University.