Earlier this year, YouTube announced the rollout of a new donation card feature, which allows nonprofits (and organizations wishing to support nonprofits) to collect donations directly from a YouTube hosted video. Similar to other relatively new giving channels, like Facebook and text giving, there are both advantages and drawbacks for this giving method.
Perhaps the biggest advantage to this method is the ability to directly integrate giving into one of the most powerful mediums you have to tell your organization’s story—video. A video can create a uniquely emotional response that an email or letter cannot. Removing the barriers to giving while potential donors experience this emotional response can only have a positive effect. More friction, in the form of having to go to a different site or mailing a pledge card, costs your organization donors. Think of it as an “impulse buy,” like magazines or gum next to the register at a grocery store.
The largest drawback regarding YouTube donation cards is the inability to collect donor information. The gifts are processed by Google (100 percent of the donations go to the nonprofit, another plus), but are distributed to organizations without any individual donor data. This obviously makes it difficult to properly steward and cultivate these donors.
For this reason, it is probably still best for most organizations to simply embed links to their giving pages into their YouTube videos. Similar to text giving, the inability to collect donor data still represents a major hurdle for most nonprofits. Donation cards could be very valuable for organizations, like disaster relief, where text giving has been successful.
In any event, the donation card is sure to evolve, and it is worth keeping an eye on. For more information on this YouTube program, click here.
Shocking statistic: YouTube has over a billion users, and reaches more 18-49-year-olds (overall and even on mobile alone) than any cable network in the United States (YouTube).
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