Nonprofits: Use the new donation cards on YouTube to drive fundraising

Add a donation card to your YouTube videos to encourage viewers to donate to a US nonprofit organization. Here's how.

Image: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic

Cat video creators can now encourage viewers to support animal-related causes, thanks to YouTube donation cards. For example, as you watch a video, a donation card might display and suggest a contribution to the Humane Society of the United States.

When selected, the card lets a viewer donate to the selected nonprofit organization. Google covers any processing fees, while Network for Good--a well-respected nonprofit donor-advised fund--handles distribution of the contribution. As a result, 100% of the funds donated go to the nonprofit organization.

A YouTube donation card displays in the upper right corner of YouTube videos and encourages the viewer to donate.

Companies can use donation cards as part of corporate philanthropic efforts. For example, Google could add a donation card to encourage viewers to support the United States Go Foundation in videos that explain how AlphaGo defeated a Go professional. Salesforce might prompt contributions to, which provides technology and training to nonprofit organizations.

SEE: Five apps for making YouTube even better

Nonprofit organizations can add donation cards, too. The Computer History Museum could seek support in their many YouTube videos that preserve and present the story of computing. A foundation--such as the C.S. Mott Foundation based in Flint, Michigan--might encourage additional contributions to the foundation's existing grant recipients.

You can add a donation card in any YouTube video you create to encourage giving to any US-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donation cards work in YouTube on the desktop, as well as in the Android and iOS YouTube apps.

Add a donation card

1. Login to your YouTube account (, then choose a video you've uploaded ( Open your video, then move to the point in the video where you want the donation card to display. Since viewership tends to drop off as time goes on, you might add the card near the start of the video.

2. Next, choose "Cards," then "Add card," then select the "Create" button to the right of "Donation: Feature a nonprofit of your choice."

Login to YouTube and select a moment in your video to insert a donation card.

3. Type the name of the nonprofit you want to support. The registered name of the organization and the widely-known name may not be the same. In many cases, the system will still find the correct organization.

Search the directory to find the U.S. based 501(c)(3) organization to support.

4. Add a card title and teaser text. The "teaser text" displays in the upper right corner of the video. If a viewer taps the teaser text or the "i" for more information, the donation card displays.

Fill out the donation card information with a title and teaser text. You may also customize the image.

When a viewer selects the card, they will see a few donation levels (e.g., $5, $10, $20, and a fill-in-the-blank amount). In the payment process, the donor confirms that Network for Good will take control of the contribution.

When a viewer chooses to donate, they choose an amount, then confirm that Network for Good may handle the contribution.

Ask to receive

If you for work a nonprofit, take a few minutes to add a donation card to your own YouTube videos. After you've worked out the teaser text, it takes just a minute or two to add each donation card.

If you've configured a YouTube donation card to support a nonprofit, you might let the organization know. Not all nonprofit leaders are aware of the program.

And, most nonprofit organizations that I'm familiar with can use all the support they can get. When I ran a nonprofit organization, I found the best fundraising advice to be more than 200 years old:

"I advise you to apply to all those whom you know will give something; next, to those whom you are uncertain whether they will give anything or not, and show them the list of those who have given; and, lastly, do not neglect those who you are sure will give nothing, for in some of them you may be mistaken."

In other words, Ben Franklin suggested you ask everyone. That's good advice today for modern fundraisers--and startups, too! A YouTube donation card gives you one more chance to encourage support of a good cause.

What's your experience?

Have you had success with a YouTube donation card? Share your story in the comments below!

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