Everything Nonprofits Need To Know About YouTube Donation Cards
In early-2016, YouTube rolled out a new feature to content creators who host their videos on the YouTube platform. Now, users can harness their content for the good of U.S.-based nonprofit organizations.
Here’s everything you need to know about YouTube Donation Cards:
What are YouTube Donation Cards?
A donation card is essentially a link to a donation form that sits on top of a YouTube video.
There are several other types of cards that can be placed on videos: Video or Playlist (to promote a video or playlist), Channel (to promote another channel) and Link (a link to an approved website).
They appear as a small, text-based annotation that appears in a corner of the video.
Skip to 1:10 in the video below to see the donation card in action:
When the text or icon is clicked, a small donation form appears:
Video viewers can donate directly from the video they’re watching. The card essentially acts as a call-to-action for the viewer. The gift is 100% tax deductible for the donor.
harness video content as a potentially new revenue stream
the nonprofit gets 100% of the donation
nonprofits don’t receive the donor data information
you can’t control donation cards on videos you don’t own
Google covers the processing fees and Network For Good distributes the funds to the organization at the end of each month.
Who is eligible?
If you’re a United States, IRS-validated, 501(c)3 public nonprofit, you can add donation cards to your organization’s videos.
1. On a computer signed into your YouTube account, go to your Video Manager.
2. Find the video you want to add cards to and select Edit. This can be a new video that you create specifically for the cause or a video that you’ve already uploaded.
3. In the tab bar at the top, select Cards.
4. Select Add card.
5. Next to “Donation,” click Create.
6. Type the name of the nonprofit you want to support into the search box. Choose it from the list of available nonprofits and then click Create card. You may have to choose an image, first.
7. Customize your card:
8. Enter the title and teaser text.
9; Click Change image if you’d like to choose another image from the category images.
10. Click Create card.
You can specify at which point the card appears in the video
Settings for existing cards can be edited at anytime.
4 ways nonprofits can leverage YouTube Donation Cards
As with any digital fundraising too, it’s important to have a plan for execution. Here are four ways you can consider implementing a YouTube donation card:
1. Add them to an existing video of your own
If you have existing videos that make a clear ask, a donation card is an ideal interactive call-to-action, in addition to having a link in the video description. Be sure that it matches the content of the video.
For best results, create a video specifically designed to have a donation card. Don’t just slap one on every video you already have.
2. Ask video creators to add them to their videos
This is perhaps the most powerful use of the tool. If you can identify videos that other users have made on your behalf (events, peer-to-peer appeals, etc.), don’t be shy about approaching them to add cards to your videos. You can even branch out to users whose content isn’t necessarily about you, but has a connection to your cause (such as my Fort Phoenix example above).
3. Ask a supporter to create a video specifically designed to have a donation card
As with tip #1, you don’t have to just rely on existing videos. If you have engaged donors or volunteers who are comfortable with or prolific in creating web videos, let them know that this tool is available and that it could enhance the direct results of any video they create on your behalf. Again, events and P2P campaigns are ideal (think: ice bucket challenge videos).
4. Measure and adjust often
As with so many fundraising activities, you should examine the effectiveness of your donation cards often. Don’t be afraid to adjust the text of the card, as well as the timing in which it appears in the video.
YouTube gives you some robust data on the performance of your cards. Just log into your account, visit https://www.youtube.com/analytics and select “Cards” from the left-hand menu.
Steven Shattuck served as the chief Engagement Officer at Bloomerang for 10 years. A prolific writer and speaker, Steven contributed to “Fundraising Principles and Practice: Second Edition.” He also supports the Association of Fundraising Professional's Fundraising Effectiveness Project, serves as an AFP Center for Fundraising Innovation (CFI) committee member, and sits on the faculty of the Institute for Charitable Giving. He is the author of Robots Make Bad Fundraisers - How Nonprofits Can Maintain the Heart in the Digital Age, published by Bold and Bright Media (2020).
You can find Steven Shattuck on LinkedIn