Content, Content, Where Do I Get the Content?

I know.  You’re with a nonprofit or a likewise budget- and staff-challenged organization .  You read my last couple of posts that mentioned using YouTube and you thought “I have a tough enough time keeping my website from becoming stale, so how in the world am I ever going to get the time and resources to produce video for online?”  If I was standing next to you, you’d either pat me on the head and send me on my way or fall over laughing.

Let’s think this through. 

  • Is your organization ever covered by the local broadcast media, such as for a special event? Can you get clips? See this one of Univ. of Pittsburgh students’ polar bear plunge for diabetes research.  I’d love to know more about this event and who benefits, but it’s a great start.
  • Do you have volunteers (such as this guy who had his head shaved to raise funds for the Children’s Tumor Foundation) or staff who have digital video cameras? This would be better if there was even more in the description of the CTF….but they do have a great series of video with proper tags for search and they include a link to their website.  It’s authentic….what nonprofits need more of.
  • Do you have a volunteer who already posts to video-sharing sites and is “hip” to the social media scene?  Would they be interested in doing a video diary or summary of an ongoing or recent service project your organization is involved in? (This could also be accompanied by a blog linked to your web site, such as the UWA example I have in the best practice links).
  • Do you have a staff person or volunteer who would think this is a really cool project? (If you ask the right person with the interest and talent, it is not a burden to them).
  • Is there a high school or college near you that emphasizes or requires service projects?  Put the message out that you need assistance.

Mission In Action 

I especially like the idea of a video diary (with blog, if possible) of a service project or other worthy event.  This puts a human face on your organization; it allows for two-way communication with the online community.  Best of all, it “fits” better with the culture of social media, where the true blue bloggers and videophiles don’t really want to see the blog or video version of your press releases posted, even if you allow comments.  They want something genuine.

As I was writing this, I did a search on YouTube for service projects to see what was posted.  Some were better than others but they all served a purpose.  Probably the only thing lacking on most of these is a good description in “About This Video.”   Some are simply a slideshow of digital images put to music.  Some are barely-edited amateur video by a participant in the project (see Habitat for Humanity Ulster).  All of them give you a sense of what the group was doing and their passion for their organization.  (I wonder where all the video is from the Day of Caring projects around the country–that was in September.  A missed opportunity).

Like magic, there’s the content. 


Video-Sharing and Baby Boomers: Why You Can’t Make Assumptions

j0422342.jpgThe Pew Internet and American Life Project –an initiative of the Pew Research Center–released a new survey yesterday demonstrating why we can’t make assumptions about who is doing what on the web.  To make these assumptions may mean missing key opportunities to engage new supporters. 

Many nonprofit execs make assumptions that it is the young volunteers, not the “mature” potential donors that they will reach on YouTube and through other web 2.0 technologies.  Okay, we all admit that we DO know that young business and social entrepreneurs exist (such as the two former hedge fund managers who started at age 26) who value giving AND can afford to do so now.  But let’s face it, many fundraising professionals are focused on the baby boomers, who have established themselves in massive numbers and are worth billions of dollars.  It’s what Christina Cheddar Berk of CNBC calls “the golden age of philanthropy.”  We’ve read a lot of discussion about how to appeal to these potential donors: accountability, making them stakeholders, demonstrating real impact of their donations (demanding lot, aren’t they? LOL). 

 How do YOU engage the baby boomers?

If you aren’t already, better start thinking outside the box of traditional venues.  The Pew/Internet survey on Video-Sharing revealed that use of video-sharing (like YouTube) is up–48% of respondents said they had been to a video-sharing site; 15% had been “yesterday.”  But delving deeper into their data reveals some interesting facts. 

  • Of respondents age 50-64, 30% had visited video-sharing sites, up 58% from the previous year. 
  • Of households earning more than $75,000 per year, 60% indicated they had visited a video-sharing site—up 43%. 

For now, this may just be “a” visit but it is the beginning of a trend (remember a few years ago when few had broadband?)—and maybe the beginning of a relationship with you.  So when’s the last time your agency put something on YouTube?


Nonprofits Know How…Do U YouTube?

I was disappointed recently when I cruised YouTube’s ever-expanding nonprofit channel.  With high hopes that some of my personal favs in the nonprofit world would be using this technology–they weren’t there!   Hey, even the 12 year-olds from my Girl Scout Troop are posting info, so how hard can it be?

Yes, the “biggies” were there.  United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania uses it plenty, showing edited pieces on recent events (see Stuff the Bus, below), information (like weatherization tips) and PSAs.  March of Dimes and the American Cancer Society are great success stories.  For some reason, humane societies seem to be using this technology well.  (Perhaps it’s because you need not worry about getting animals to sign release forms).     


No, for nonprofits, there isn’t the viewership of, let’s say, Funny Cats 3 (over 7 million views for cats).  March of Dimes has had over 46,000 views and they are one of the more popular.  But as a vehicle for promoting the work of your agency, engaging future volunteers (and perhaps donors?), online video is a no brainer.  And yes, this can be considered part of “web 2.0.”  (Of course, thoughts on getting content and then learning to drive web traffic to your postings is another issue for a future post here).

If you’re not doing it for your organization, a local citizen might be doing it for you.  I ran across this video about a United Way of Lancaster event—but it was not posted by them nor was it linked to their contact info. 


Then maybe you should search for your own agency to make sure a volunteer has or hasn’t already posted something! You should check what’s out there on your organization regularly, the same way many of us (admit it) “google” the web on our names periodically.

Feel free to send me links to new and interesting videos or uses of YouTube, which I will share as appropriate. 

Next Up: New 990