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YouTube’s Nonprofit Program and How to Get Started

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If you own a nonprofit you know that advice that might apply to a traditional company is different for a nonprofit. It’s a different type of business, and for that reason you oftentimes need to alter some of your online marketing strategies. By now most know that Google created the Google Grants program to help customize different search options and give money to nonprofit companies, but what many don’t know is that YouTube also has a customized program just for this type of company.

The program is called the YouTube Nonprofit Program, and it’s completely free and easy to join. Now that video is becoming more and more crucial to bring in traffic and keep your audience engaged, the more cool features and opportunities you can take advantage of, the better.

The Benefits of Joining the YouTube Nonprofit Program


The program offers special features that are not offered to anyone who is not involved in the program. To be fair most of the features would only apply to a nonprofit company and wouldn’t benefit another type, but nevertheless, YouTube came up with some options that could really help a nonprofit succeed. The benefits include:

Donate Button

This is a button that goes on your channel that allows visitors to donate right then and there, instead of driving them to your webpage. If they see a video that moves them, they can act on it right away.

Call-to-Action Overlays

This is something that will show up on your video that urges people to donate or click to go straight to your website and learn how to help.

Production Resources

You have the option of applying for production access to shoot or edit your videos at YouTube’s creator studio in Los Angeles. If you’re really hoping to create something professional on a small budget, this is your best chance.

Live Streaming

If you do a lot of events or conferences, this feature is great because it lets you stream live video footage onto your channel. This can help show your audience that you’re involved and what you have to offer.

Video Annotations

This is the one feature that is available to everyone, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless. YouTube annotations are small pop-ups at the bottom of your videos that ask them to subscribe to your channel, click to visit your website, etc. It’s completely customizable, so the message is up to you.

It’s also worth noting that the program is not yet available in all countries. Currently only Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and the United States are able to participate.

Eligibility Requirements and How to Get Started

In order to be eligible for the program you must currently hold a current 501(c)(3) status and cannot be a government, hospital or healthcare, school, childcare center, academic institution or university organization. As long as you agree to their terms when signing up, you should be eligible to apply.

Getting started actually comes in two different parts:

Applying for a Nonprofit Account

1. Make sure that you have a YouTube channel created for your nonprofit.

2. Visit this link and click Apply for Google for Nonprofits. This will give you a nonprofit account, so you will actually have access to all of Google’s nonprofit options—the YouTube Program, ad grants, apps for nonprofits, Google Earth outreach grants, and One Today by Google.

3. Click Join the Program and then click Apply to Google for Nonprofits. Applying is as easy as answering a few questions to show that you are eligible.

4. Follow the instructions in your acceptance email and then you are open to use all of the options discussed above.

The YouTube Nonprofit Program

1. Once you have your nonprofit account, you should sign in through your administrator account (or the one you used when you applied).

2. Click the Enroll button under the YouTube Nonprofit Program section.

3. Enter your YouTube Channel ID into the blank space.

4. Click Enroll. The program should process your request within 1-3 business days.

Are you a part of the YouTube nonprofit program? Did you find that any one of the options helped your videos succeed? Let us know your story and your thoughts on the program in the comment section below.

gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda and Penguin updates. She writes for the nationally recognized SEO Company that offers online marketing services to a wide range of companies across the country.

About the author

Amanda DiSilvestro