10 Reasons your Nonprofit should use YouTube

YouTube is an internet sensation, and revolutionised the sharing and watching of videos online. YouTube is a social media network that uses technological advances to allow users to upload their own videos and to watch videos posted by other users. 

Videos are played using Flash and streamed so that they download while the user is watching the video. This means that YouTube videos are played smoothly and without long waiting periods or download times, despite the huge numbers of people accessing the same videos at the same time. No other applications are necessary to watch the video. YouTube videos can also be embedded in other sources such as blogs and websites.Some YouTube statistics:Internationally -

  • YouTube was first launched in 2005.
  • Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube each month.
  • Over 4 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube.
  • 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
  • YouTube is localized in 43 countries and across 60 languages.
  • In 2011, YouTube had more than 1 trillion views and is still expanding.

In South Africa

  • There are approximately 6 million users.
  • YouTube is growing by over 1 million users in 6 months.
  • Most users are in the 18-24 year old and the 25-34year old age groups.
  • 49% of users are male and 51% female.

Here are ten reasons your nonprofit should use YouTube:

It’s free

In a nonprofit environment where there are always financial constraints, a free service is a bonus.  Once connected to the internet, go onto YouTube and you can use the latest technology to upload videos or watch videos.  

Fast and resumeable uploads

Uploading of videos is fast and efficient, and if your internet connection is unreliable or interrupted, the video will continue to upload or download at the point where it was interrupted. The viewer does not have to start the video from the beginning.This is important if you are communicating with people with slow and expensive internet connections. 

Utilise the power of visual presentation

YouTube provides a medium for you to tell your story visually. A video is a powerful format that transports viewers into your world to see the situation for themselves. Your cause becomes real and not something remote from the viewer’s world. YouTube will tell your story without any filters.

Add captions

YouTube does not yet have auto captioning but is synchronized with CaptionTube that allows you to create subtitles for your video.  When a video really attracts interest and viewers want to forward it to speakers of a different language, the viewers often add captions or translations of the video.  Of course, you could simply add your own captions or translations. This is very helpful when you hope to address people in different languages.

Tell the full story

YouTube has no limit to the length of the video that you can post, unlike other social networks that limit videos to a number of seconds. This allows you to tell a full story. You can include, briefly, any necessary background material before telling the story. It allows you to use real people in a situation as they can take as long as they need to speak.


The spoken word, in conjunction with the visual presentation, is very powerful. Voices, and even background noises, stand out from the “noise” of pages of information on the internet.  Individuals can tell their own story. Viewers can hear from original sources, and your message will be successfully delivered.

Take a look at this excellent example of a South African nonprofit sharing their cause via an effective video explaining "The Domino Effect".

Go viral

Going viral simply means to spread widely and quickly, without your intervention. In the case of YouTube, a video goes viral when it is quickly shared and watched by thousands or even millions of people, who continue to share and talk about the video, which continues to increase it's popularity. 

Inexpensive videos

The time is right to use YouTube videos because expensive equipment is not necessary in the making of a video. Your nonprofit can make a video using pictures, symbols or illustrations -- you are not limited to filming with a video recorder. You can easily find software for making simple videos on your computer or mobile phone. You can also insert a suitable podcast to make your video come alive. Take a look at the video about Norms and Standards for Schools created by the South African non-profit, Equal Education, to view the impact of a simple, low-cost video where symbols and illustrations speak a thousand words.  

If you simply do not have the time or inclination to make a video, approach the local universities and colleges. Advertising colleges have always been enthusiastic about tackling such projects but universities and colleges have specific departments which could be interested in helping out if you approach them. Lecturers are often looking for meaningful work for assignments, and students are highly enthusiastic. There is usually no charge for this collaboration.

Enhance your website

YouTube allows you to embed links to your website. You can take viewers to your website to learn more about your nonprofit, to sign a petition, to sign up as a volunteer or even to make a donation

Create a traffic jam

A key purpose of any nonprofit that creates a web presence is to create awareness of the nonprofit organisation and its intentions.  To do this, people have to visit your website.  YouTube has become a top destination for searches and a good strategy to gain search engine optimisation and to put you on the first page of Google searches in your field, thereby improving awareness of your cause and driving traffic to your website.