With videos on virtually every topic imaginable being uploaded to YouTube on a daily basis, the video platform is a haven for entertainment, gaining knowledge - and more importantly, for nonprofits to create social impact.
A lot of nonprofits have used YouTube for various purposes, ranging from campaign promotions to creating awareness about specific causes. What makes YouTube so powerful in this context is its ease of use, and the huge outreach potential offered by its 1.8 billion monthly active user base.
In addition to this, YouTube's 'Impact Lab' provides a range features and resources which are geared exclusively towards organizations looking to make a social impact.
Here's an overview of Impact Lab, and how you can use it to boost your organization's YouTube performance.
What exactly is YouTube Impact Lab?
YouTube's Impact Lab is an initiative which aims to help nonprofits maximize their performance on the platform by facilitating powerful storytelling. Its mission is to use YouTube to “ignite and sustain movements that drive measurable social change”, with the help of tools and lessons which enable nonprofits to craft compelling stories that prompt viewers to act.
And while nonprofits are still able to utilize most Impact Lab features without signing-up, registered nonprofits also get access to all resources available. And the best part is, it’s free.
To use Impact Lab, users need to:
- Be eligible, and ideally enrolled for a Google for Nonprofits account
- Have your own YouTube account and channel
- Have both accounts linked
That's all your nonprofit needs to access the YouTube Impact Lab. Let’s now go into the Lab and see the tools and features it offers:
YouTube Creator Academy
The YouTube Creator Academy helps you incorporate storytelling techniques into your nonprofit videos, while also providing additional tips on how you can grow your channel’s audience base.
With the help of guided lessons and courses from experts, you can learn about topics like generating more engagement, and how you can market and promote your nonprofit content. Each of these courses is divided into several lessons, with various quizzes to test yourself. Additionally, most courses also have a course exam at the end.
Users choose between a course or a lesson, and set their category and level.
YouTube Space refers to YouTube’s video production spaces, which are currently available in selected regions. Nonprofits who have at least 1000 subscribers on YouTube can use these spaces for free to create high-quality videos with a professional touch by accessing the production stages and equipment.
Nonprofits can also meet other nonprofits and YouTube Creators, and attend workshops to connect with similar minded people, and create compelling videos together.
When you’re fundraising for a campaign, donation cards on YouTube help drive donations directly from the video platform itself. All you need to do is add a donation card to your video, and viewers can donate to the nonprofit by clicking on it - the processing fees are already covered, so nonprofits get all the proceedings.
You can use donation cards to raise money for your nonprofit yourself, get supporters to fundraise for you, or you can collaborate with YouTube creators to raise money. By impacting viewers with a powerful story, and immediately giving them an option to donate, viewers are more likely to follow through - as opposed to if they had to donate later.
This simple video explains how YouTube's donation cards work.
The feature is currently only available for eligible nonprofits in the US and UK. To receive the money, US nonprofits need to opt-in to acquiring payment from Network for Good, and for the UK, through Charitable Giving.
“Link Anywhere” cards
With YouTube's 'Link Anywhere' card feature, you can link viewers to a URL of your choice within the video itself, which usually pops up at the top of the video.
It's basically a CTA to get viewers to perform a certain action - there are three types of cards you can use:
- Associated Website Cards which send viewers to your website with a click, where they can get more information about your nonprofit and your campaign. You can also point it to your fundraising page where they can donate.
- Crowdfunding cards which link to your crowdfunding site
- Merchandise cards to promote your official merchandise and send viewers to retailer sites.
To access link cards,, your nonprofit channel needs to be in the YouTube partner program.
The screenshot below, featuring a video by WaterAid, shows the link card popping up at the top right corner of the video, directing viewers to their website and other videos.
Google for Nonprofit
Since your YouTube account is linked with your Google for Nonprofits account, you also get access to tools and features from the latter as well, which can hugely benefit your nonprofit in several ways.
The resources you can use are:
- G Suite for Nonprofits: With the G Suite account, nonprofits can communicate and collaborate effectively with volunteers and supporters, with access to unlimited custom domain email addresses. The other tools under this are Google Drive, Google Calendar, video conferencing, and live support to ensure you achieve tasks according to schedule.
- Google Ad Grants: This tool lets nonprofits advertise their campaigns through Google search for free in order to boost campaign visibility and drive donations. Nonprofits get access to $10,000 worth of text ads which they can run on Google every month.
- Google Earth Outreach: With the mapping tools that come under this feature, nonprofits can display donor or community location data (for restricted use), make and share custom maps, and visualize the field data collected and impact created on Google Earth, among other use cases.
Google for Nonprofits is only available in certain countries at this stage, and only nonprofits in these countries can access their tools.
Note: YouTube is also rolling out a bunch of new features for enabling donations on its site, with most of them being beta tested by a select group of nonprofits.
Change through YouTube
YouTube Impact Lab also features success stories of nonprofits who’ve leveraged YouTube to benefit their campaigns.
For example, Team Kids created this beautiful video, in which they ask young kids what they wish for in life.
Nonprofits can also team up with YouTube Creators and make use of these influencers’ audiences on YouTube to generate maximum impact. Ad Council collaborates with several creators as part of its Creators for Good campaign, empowering influencers and other celebrities to work towards promoting a social cause they're passionate about. In this video, the nonprofit featured YouTube Creators taking a stand against bullying as part of the #BeMore campaign.
YouTube Impact Lab has several features nonprofits can make use of in their mission to promote their respective causes. Hopefully, this post has helped provide some food for thought as to how you can utilize this amazing platform in different ways.