Engaging Through YouTube – Charity Inspiration

social fish
social fish

This post is by SocialFish contributor Jenny Beswick.


Social media is amongst the most important technological innovations of the 21st century. It has allowed people to keep an unprecedented level of contact with their loved ones around the world, allowed marginalized individuals to connect and break free from their social isolation, and it has even allowed oppressed populations to organize revolts and overthrow tyrannical governments. So, it is no small wonder that social media has also become an invaluable tool for charity. While most of us are quick to think of Facebook and Twitter when we evoke the term social media, in fact, social media encompasses a vast range of online platforms. YouTube is actually one of the most powerful and often overlooked of these, which can be leveraged to help marketers, fundraisers and charity organisations achieve stunning success and here is how.

If a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words…

In our fast-paced world, video is arguably the most effective way to convey information. Few have the patience to read long articles about charitable causes, photos can only say so much and attention spans are lamentably fleeting in the online landscape. What videos do is they give marketers a unique opportunity to capture attention by providing a stunning aesthetic experience alongside a short verbal narrative. It is a powerful avenue for accessible and entertaining storytelling and to win support for their causes, charities must tell compelling stories about those in need of help. At Cancer Research UK, the investment into the use of YouTube is at the forefront of the strategy. YouTube has helped deliver clear messages about cancer ñ the causes, symptoms and investment into cure, but it has also helped branch out awareness on those that have survived and human success.

The latest video marketing to appear on the CRUK YouTube channel is simple and effective in the message it delivers through video content. A visual video which has moments of dramatic music to express the emotions building up and no speaking until the very last moment of video that says ìone day everyone will beat cancer and the sooner you give the sooner that day will comeî ñ this is the call to attention to donate and does not have to be repeated throughout the whole video through words.

We Share What Moves Us

YouTube is a phenomenal platform for going viral. Not only can YouTube videos be imbedded in a wide range of social platforms, but they make for great content that people love to share. So when charities find creative and attention grabbing ways to move their viewers, they put themselves in an excellent position to reach vast audiences through YouTube.

On the Cancer Research UK YouTube channel you shall see that there is variety in video content; cancer information, campaigns, events, TV adverts and a variety of playlists. To effectively reach out to a wider audience the videos run between 30 seconds to up to 3 minutes long, the reason being is this keeps the viewer focused and does not lose their attention. The benefit of short videos enables a viewer to take in what is being outputted and share instantly without forgetting the meaning of the video.

The Human Dimension

Believe it or not, most people are charitable yet relatively few support charitable causes. One of the biggest obstacles charities face is the job of demonstrating to potential donors that their cause is worthwhile, trustworthy, and accountable. But, while most are wary about giving money to a voice on the phone or a website with little connection to the people behind it, videos give charities the chance to introduce the workers who put donations to good use. Videos put a human face to an otherwise inhuman organisation.

One great example of how to connect with the human element on YouTube is to say a simply thank you to your viewers for their support. Below is an example of how to do exactly that, Cancer Research UK have combined every kind of thank you possible to their supporters and fundraisers through a 1 minute 22 second video clip which has had 10,943 views:

Affordable and Versatile

One of the best aspects of YouTube and social media more broadly is its affordability. Organizations can put together compelling and moving media on a budget, and circulate that content solely via the support of community. Whereas traditional print marketing is costly and environmentally damaging, online media circulates effortlessly without creating waste.

YouTube is incredibly versatile. Charities can use it to circulate documentaries that highlight their causes. They can hold amateur film competitions to bring marginalized communities into the spotlight. They can create short animations, low budget advertisements, and educational material. The possibilities are nearly endless.

Lessons To Take Away on YouTube

As shown to you in the examples of Cancer Research, charities are doing wonderful things on YouTube. If you do not have a channel set up already then now is the time to set it up for all kinds of uses, awareness, fundraising or alerts. The Internet and YouTube in particular is a forum for building community on a scale, and with a geographic independence, that has never before been possible. It allows organisations to connect with people around the globe who share common values and it provides an affordable solution to marketing, outreach, and education. But most importantly, it helps charities get their causes the attention they deserve. So how can you use social media to make the world a better place? Set up a channel and see, you never know your video upload may go viral and make all the difference needed.

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