What Nonprofits Ought To Know About YouTube

Videos are one of the best promotion formats for nonprofits. Here’s how you can use YouTube, the world’s largest video-sharing platform.

Here’s why every nonprofit needs a YouTube channel.


Over 1 billion hours of YouTube videos are watched every single day.

Everyone uses YouTube, and that makes it an important marketing platform. The best part about YouTube is that there is no overhead cost for creating content.

At its core, YouTube is a storytelling video service. And that makes it a powerful, yet simple tool for nonprofits.

Using YouTube can help nonprofits connect with volunteers, donors, and supporters. However, not using the right strategies can waste your time.

Here’s what nonprofits ought to know about YouTube.

YouTube Nonprofit: This image displays a YouTube logo
Credits: Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

Why YouTube Is Important For Nonprofits

YouTube allows nonprofits to tell their story for free. Videos allow you to build a deeper connection with your supporters. For you, this means more volunteers, donations, and support.

YouTube can help you directly show your impact to supporters, which can build an emotional connection to your mission. YouTube can also be used to educate potential supporters about your mission. If necessary, you can even use YouTube Ads to promote your nonprofit’s videos.

The key point here is that every nonprofit should be using YouTube. Whether you’re a local homeless shelter or an international children’s charity, you need to use YouTube.

The Official YouTube Nonprofit Program

By now, you’ve (hopefully) understood that you must use YouTube if you are a nonprofit. Next, let’s talk about the official YouTube Nonprofit Program.

The Youtube Nonprofit Program is a program run by Google which gives your nonprofit extra features on YouTube.

To be eligible for the program, your nonprofit must be registered in one of the following countries (this is a big list, so hang on):

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States, or Vietnam.

Your organization must be verified by TechSoup or the respective TechSoup partner in your region.

You are NOT eligible if you are:

  • a government organization
  • a hospital or healthcare organization
  • a school or university

If you meet the requirements, you are eligible to sign up for Google for Nonprofits, the branch of Google that runs the YouTube Nonprofit Program. You can start the application process here.

It usually takes anywhere from 2–14 business days for your nonprofit to be approved (assuming you meet eligibility requirements).

After you are approved, you can activate the YouTube Nonprofit Program.

Here are some of the features the YouTube Nonprofit Program offers:

  • Link Anywhere Cards: Link Anywhere cards are cards that allow nonprofits to link directly to their websites through YouTube. If your videos are getting many views, this can lead to more traffic to your website, hopefully leading to more supporters.
  • Online Lessons: Nonprofits on YouTube have access to YouTube lessons from the YouTube Creator Academy. These lessons will hopefully help your nonprofit produce better content and expand your reach on YouTube.
  • Dedicated Support: YouTube Nonprofit Program partners have access to dedicated support from Google to help out in case you have any issues.

How To Use YouTube As A Nonprofit

Now that you’ve activated the YouTube Nonprofit Program for your nonprofit, let’s look at some ways your nonprofit can use YouTube.


One way your nonprofit can use your YouTube channel is by educating people. For example, a charity fighting poverty in Asia could film a video with poverty data to raise awareness. Similarly, the same charity could interview volunteers to discuss poverty issues.


Your YouTube channel can also be used to describe the work your nonprofit does. Using the Asian poverty charity example from before, the charity could interview volunteers to discuss their impact. The charity could also interview people they’ve helped and charitable partners to show what work is being done.


Another way to use your YouTube channel is to raise money for your cause. A survey from Google found that 57% of people who view a video about a nonprofit go on to become donors. Because of the personal and emotional connection offered by videos, they can be a great way to find new donors. Using the Link Anywhere cards from the YouTube Nonprofit Program can help drive more traffic to your website, which will hopefully drive more donations.


You can also describe future events organized by your nonprofit. This may lead to more participation among your supporters, which can lead to more volunteers and donations.

One thing to remember is that your YouTube channel is important for building “supporter loyalty.” Because YouTube is so popular, many of your supporters probably watch YouTube videos every day.

Because your supporters can now subscribe to your YouTube channel, they become more engaged and invested in your nonprofit. This engagement can build a deep relation, which can lead to major support down the line.

Another thing to remember is that nonprofits must emphasize their core values throughout their channel. Similar core values with supporters can lead to more engagement, leading to more support. You can learn more about nonprofit core values here.

Growth Strategies For Nonprofits On YouTube

You’ve learned about why and how you should use YouTube. Now let’s talk about how to maximize your impact on YouTube.

Brand Your Channel

If you’re a nonprofit in the Google for Nonprofits program, it’s likely that you already have a logo, website, and maybe even charitable clothing. Using the colors featured in your website and your logo, brand your YouTube channel. Create channel art using these colors, and add your nonprofit logo as your channel icon. This can help build “customer loyalty” from your supporters.

Find Your Main Keyword

To optimize your content for search engines, it is crucial to find a target keyword. Remember to do keyword research to find the best keywords to target for your nonprofit. Finding less competitive keywords can hopefully increase traffic towards your videos, which could then increase traffic towards your website.

Optimize Your Content

A mistake that a lot of nonprofits make is that they don’t optimize their content. Optimizing your content can potentially increase your traffic and makes it easier for search engines to suggest your content. There are many ways to optimize content, such as adding relevant tags to your video, placing your main keyword in your title, placing your main keyword in your description, uploading consistently, and adding transcriptions.

Write Great Titles

Writing great titles can grab the attention of potential viewers, which can increase your nonprofit’s reach and impact. Remember to include the main keyword you are targeting. There are a variety of title styles that you can use, such as:

  • [] Ways To []
  • What Everyone Ought To Know About []
  • Why You Should Care About []

These are just some of the potential titles nonprofits can use. Check out this article for more information on how to write the best YouTube titles for your videos.

Note: Do NOT use clickbait headlines

Write Great Descriptions

Writing great descriptions can also help your videos reach more people. Remember to emphasize your target keyword in your description. Additionally, you should also add links to your website, social media accounts, and any other online presence your nonprofit has.

Interact With Your Community

It’s important that you interact with the community you grow on YouTube. Respond to any comments you get with a thoughtful response. Like previous steps, this helps build loyalty, which may lead to a donation later on.

Encourage People To Like, Subscribe, Comment, And Share

YouTube videos with high engagement have a great chance at going viral. Asking your audience to like, subscribe, comment, and share can increase engagement. This builds a closer relationship with your supporters and can potentially lead to a viral video.

Add Cards

Adding Link Anywhere cards, little popups on YouTube videos, can bring more traffic to your website. Adding these cards will increase your conversion rate for donations, which will be especially useful for viral videos.

Add End Screens

Adding an end screen at the end of your video is like having a call-to-action at the end of a blog post: it can skyrocket your conversion rate. If your video educates people about a problem in the world, consider adding an end screen with a link to your donation page.

Create Incredible Thumbnails

Do NOT use a default thumbnail for your YouTube videos. A default thumbnail is a screenshot of your video at a certain point, and it may not always be the best image. I recommend creating custom thumbnails with a graphic design service like Canva. Custom thumbnails can help grab attention, which can increase engagement with your content.

Make sure that your thumbnails are friendly for YouTube. While most people create large thumbnails, remember that most thumbnails are meant to fill up a tiny part of the screen. Minimize your thumbnails and make sure that they still look good at a small size.

You can find more tips about YouTube thumbnails here.

Collaborate With Others

Remember to collaborate with other organizations, companies, and channels to expand your audience. You can work with YouTube influencers to promote your nonprofit, and collaboration with other channels can benefit everyone involved.

Follow Trends

Following the latest trends is another way to increase engagement with your YouTube channel. For example, the viral ALS ice bucket challenge had a huge impact and raise hundreds of millions of dollars. Try launching a similar challenge with your audience, and get your audience involved with your nonprofit.

Run YouTube Ads

If you have a video you think could perform well on YouTube, consider starting a YouTube ads campaign. These ads can bring more exposure to your nonprofit, and many nonprofits have used YouTube ads with great success.

There are 6 general types of YouTube ads:

  • Display Ads: ads that appear as images next to the video
  • Overlay Ads: ads that appear as transparent boxes on top of the video
  • Skippable Video Ads: ads that allow users to skip them after 5 seconds
  • Non-skippable Video Ads: ads that ensure users watch the entire ad
  • Bumper Ads: quick video ads that ensure users watch the entire ad
  • Sponsored Cards: ads that appear in the card section of YouTube videos

If you decide to run YouTube ads, consider getting the help of a volunteer, freelancer, or agency to help you maximize your ROI and increase conversions.


YouTube is very important for nonprofits. Every nonprofit should have a YouTube channel, since YouTube is a free platform where nonprofits can expand their reach and impact.

Eligible nonprofits can sign up for the YouTube Nonprofit Program, which lets charities use extra features to support their mission.

Nonprofits should use YouTube to educate people, raise awareness, launch campaigns, fundraise, and show the impact of their work.

Using the 13 growth strategies we discussed, you can use YouTube to greatly expand your reach. These growth strategies also help to increase engagement and build stronger relationships with your supporters, eventually leading to future volunteers and donors.

I hope this article helped out! If you’d like to learn more about growing your nonprofit, check out our newsletter here.