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YouTube for Nonprofits: More Places, More Features

Lori Halley 22 February 2010 5 comments

When we first talked about YouTube’s program for nonprofits, the program was only available to registered nonprofits in the US and UK. Good news for Canadian and Australian nonprofits — YouTube for Nonprofits has been expanded to include Canada and Australia!

Now nonprofits in those countries, too, can apply to the program and take advantage of free premium features like branded channels, custom thumbnails, embedded links in annotations, longer video uploads, a Google Checkout button to drive fundraising, and call-to-action overlays.

There are some restrictions to this program: your organization may not be religious or political in nature, for example, and it may not be focused primarily on lobbying for political or policy change. There’s a separate program for educational institutions, YouTube EDU, which is aimed at creating an educational channel of content from degree-granting institutions.

For more information about YouTube for Nonprofits, and/or to apply for the program, visit www.youtube.com/nonprofits.

And while we’re on the subject of YouTube, here are a couple of relatively new features you might not be aware of. (Found something cool that we've not mentioned here? Drop a note in the comments!):

YouTube Safety Mode

There are a number of good free video-sharing sites for nonprofits, but there’s no question about it — if your videos are going to be in only one place online, go get the greatest mileage (and this ability) on YouTube. There is also no doubt that some of the content on YouTube is… questionable, at best. This has reduced its usefulness for many nonprofits, particularly faith-based organizations, whose supporters are not comfortable with all of the content they may see there. The recent announcement of YouTube’s Safety Mode may go a long way to drop that barrier to its use. Users can turn Safety Mode on and off from an options setting on any YouTube page, or lock it on by default in their browser.

For more information about YouTube’s Safety Mode, visit http://help.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?answer=174084youtube.

YouTube Automatic Captions

Accessibility is everyone’s concern, of course, but particularly important for many nonprofits. Any time you post a video, it’s good practice to provide a text transcription of the content for the hearing impaired, for those who use text-based technology, for search engines, and for the convenience of your readers. When it comes down to it though, surprisingly few videos — even from nonprofit organizations — are accompanied by text, even when they’re embedded on a blog page. Or perhaps it’s not surprising: one of the benefits of video is how quickly you can get content online, and adding text can be labor-intensive and time-consuming.

Did you know that YouTube will add captions to your videos?

Here’s what Google’s official blog had to say about the auto-captioning and auto-timing features that are now available in YouTube:

[W]e’ve combined Google’s automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology with the YouTube caption system to offer automatic captions, or auto-caps for short. Auto-caps use the same voice recognition algorithms in Google Voice to automatically generate captions for video. …

We’re also launching automatic caption timing, or auto-timing, to make it significantly easier to create captions manually. With auto-timing you no longer need to have special expertise to create your own captions in YouTube. All you need to do is create a simple file with all the words in the video and we’ll use Google’s ARS technology to figure out when the words are spoken and create captions for your video. This should significantly lower the barriers for video owners who want to add captions, but who don’t have the time or resources to create professional caption tracks.

Google’s translation tools kick in here too — your captions can be translated automatically into more than 50 languages. Translation programs are much better than they used to be, but any time a computer is tasked with dealing with human language(s) there are likely to be errors, and that applies to the automatic captioning as well as webpage translation. If absolute accuracy is critical to your message, you will need to count on manually checking for and correcting errors. And the more complex or technical the text, the more tweaking the text will be likely to need. Still, it’s a step forward in the accessibility department and a useful timesaver for many organizations.

For more information about YouTube’s automatic captions, visit http://help.youtube.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?answer=100079.

Annotation in YouTube Videos

Annotations let you add on-screen text to your YouTube videos. Besides the ability to control what the annotations say, you can customize the look and feel of the text boxes you create, and decide when they will appear and disappear in the video timeline. You can even add links to related YouTube videos, channels, or search results. And if your organization is a member of the YouTube for Nonprofits program, you can also add external links to your annotations — links to web pages that are not on YouTube, such as your blog, campaign landing page, donations portal, membership benefits page, or anywhere else you’d like to send viewers for more information or to take action for your cause.

For more information about YouTube’s automatic captions, visit http://help.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?answer=92710

Learn more about YouTube for Nonprofits

YouTube has just celebrated its fifth birthday and, since its acquisition by Google, new features are being released with some regularity. Already the must-be-there site for online video sharing, YouTube is increasingly important to online outreach for nonprofits and business alike.

If you’d like to learn more about YouTube and how your organization can use it most effectively, check out See3’s excellent slidecast (a slideshow with an audio track included) in which Michael Hoffman discusses the technical, strategic and creative aspects of YouTube for Nonprofits. Note that this presentation was made before YouTube extended its  nonprofits program to organizations in Canada and Australia, as well as in the United States and United Kingdom, but otherwise it’s very up-to-date and full of great ideas.

(Don’t miss the section, at about the 07:40 mark, where Michael touches on the increasingly important role of YouTube in search and how YouTube itself is being used as a search engine. This is useful stuff for nonprofits, and we’ll be talking more, in days to come, about how you can use YouTube to help your nonprofit get found in search engine results pages.)

What nonprofit organizations have you noticed on YouTube recently? How does your own organization hope to use YouTube this year?

Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Monday, 22 February 2010 at 9:10 PM


  • Wild Apricot Blog : YouTube for Nonprofits: More Places, More Features | Videos said:

    Monday, 22 February 2010 at 6:43 PM
  • Elliot Greenberger said:

    Tuesday, 23 February 2010 at 6:06 AM

    Thank you for sharing our YouTube for Nonprofits slidedeck!  We too are excited that the YouTube Nonprofit Program has extended its benefits to Canada and Australia.

    Some other exciting news: See3 has partnered with YouTube to present the 4th Annual DoGooder Nonprofit Video Awards, with support from Case Foundation, Flip Video, and NTEN.  Organizations of all sizes are encouraged to enter the contest, and we have some great prizes, including $10,000 in grants and getting your video on the YouTube homepage.  

    The deadline for entry is March 19.  For more information, visit http://www.youtube.com/nonprofitvideoawards


    Elliot Greenberger

    Communications Manager

    See3 Communications


  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Thursday, 25 February 2010 at 5:01 AM

    Elliot, thanks for mentioning the 4th Annual DoGooder Nonprofit Video Awards - hopefully some of our nonprofits will be inspired by See3's helpful presentation to rise to the challenge!

  • Elliot Greenberger said:

    Friday, 26 February 2010 at 10:25 AM

    Yes, hope so too!  We're only accepting videos produced in 2009 for these awards, but it's never too early to get a head start on next year's contest...

    The submissions are already rolling in, and it's exciting to see how far nonprofits have gone in integrating video into their communications in the past few years.  


  • Ramya Raghavan said:

    Friday, 26 February 2010 at 11:04 AM

    Thanks for posting - a great recap of the tools available for nonprofits on YouTube :-)

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