11 Ways Your Non-Profit Can Use YouTube Impact Lab to Boost Their Marketing

As a non-profit, you know that telling a compelling story is a great way to boost marketing. Improve your marketing strategy for free by using YouTube Impact Lab.

Remember Kony 2012? (The better question might be: who doesn't?) Despite the movement's failures, the video was designed to elicit attention, visceral emotional responses, and action, and it widely succeeded. The video was the quickest ever to hit 100 million views at the time, in a record 6 days. What if you could take the lessons that made their video so impactful and implement them in your own? (Without the gross over-simplification and lack of facts, of course) Start improving your non-profit's marketing with YouTube Impact Lab.

What is YouTube Impact Lab? 

YouTube says that the mission of their Impact Lab is “to harness YouTube’s scale, technology and talent to ignite and sustain movements that drive measurable social change.” They provide free tools and lessons to non-profits to help them create powerful and compelling stories. Signing up is easy, provided you meet a few key criteria. Your non-profit must:

  1. Have valid 503(c) status
  2. Have a Google for non-profits account 
  3. Have a YouTube account
  4. Link these two above accounts

Why is Youtube so powerful for non-profits? 

You don't need me to tell you that YouTube is an incredibly popular platforms. Over 1.8 billion active users use it monthly. On top of being a great way to get your content in front of a huge audience, YouTube is also completely free to use, vital for non-profits who lack an enormous marketing budget. YouTube's position as a video hosting site is well suited to visual story-telling, which is key to the non-profit industry. Videos also have the potential to go viral far more easily than bulky white papers or articles. Top non-profits know the power that YouTube videos can have.

Impact Lab Features

Okay that's all good, but why take the time out of your day to sign up?

  • Your non-profit gets access to the YouTube Creator Academy, which hosts courses in improving your channel's storytelling and increasing your audience base
  • You can use YouTube spaces, which are designated professional production spaces around the country
  • Use of donation cards, which let your viewers donate to you right from your videos
  • Link anywhere cards, which let you easily re-direct your audience to external landing pages
  • Have we mentioned that all of these resources are completely free tools for non-profit marketing?

11 examples of non-profits boosting their marketing with Youtube Impact Lab

The HIV Foundation boosted awareness through an informational video

The Impact Lab is a great way to create compelling videos that boost awareness or educate viewers about a specific issue. The HIV Foundation in Queensland produced an informative and engaging video to dispel the misinformation and misconceptions that exist about HIV. The video provides a wealth of scientific information to educate viewers about the realities of HIV, but in a way that doesn't make the viewer feel inundated.

St. Baldrick's Foundation promoted a specific event

Videos can be used to promote a specific campaign or event that you're non-profit is hosting. St. Baldrick's Foundation, which fights to combat childhood cancer and provide support for those afflicted, hosts an annual head shaving event to raise awareness. They created a video compilation of the last year's event, featuring hundred of people shaving their heads, to promote the next one. Their videos usually average 1,000 or so views, this one got over 320,000.

The Trevor Project collaborated with powerful social media influencers

YouTube influencers are so powerful that young people trust them more than their friends. Leverage the power and reach of influencers by collaborating with them in videos. The Trevor Project, an organisation focused on crisis and suicide prevention for LGBTQA youth, worked with veritable YouTube royalty Trevor Oakley, James Lacense and Abbe Land. Oakleyasked his fans to donate for his birthday, and raised over $500,000 alone.

The RainForest Alliance delighted their audience

Use a funny or uplifting video to give your audience a light-hearted experience that resonates. The Rainforest Alliance, a conservation and sustainability non-profit, made a hilarious video called “Follow the Frog,” which makes fun of the trope of well meaning Westerner going “native” to save the rain forest. Not only does the video make the audience laugh, but it also offers a compelling argument for the ease of using their eco-friendly products.

The Bill Gates Foundation used audience interaction

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation created a video called “Small Innovations - Big Impact” that has a big twist on audience interaction. The video is a tour through homes, medical offices and small businesses, showing off new innovations. However, viewers have the ability to use an all around capture feature to play “hide and seek” and try and find the new technologies Bill Gates speaks about.

Charity: Water addressed a controversy

A common critique of clean water and water access related organizations is their sustainability. Sure it's great to build a new well, but what happens once the NGO leaves and it breaks? Charity: Water directly addresses this common concern in their “This is Pipeline” video. Not only does it hit the right notes of brief, informative, and beautiful, but it explains how their non-profit is different than those who build and leave— they are focused on building impact that lasts.

Action Against Hunger showed viewers their direct impact

People are more likely to give to charities if they can see what their “direct” impact is because it makes their efforts feel more tangible. Action Against Hunger, a non-profit dedicated to stopping world hunger, created a video showing exactly how access to clean water changed the lives of people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and features the stories of several impacted community members.

Global Giving introduced the team making it happen

Maybe your audience understands what your organization does and who it impacts, but do they know who you are? Giving viewers a look behind the scenes to meet your team makes you feel more human to them. Global Giving produced a video introducing you to the members of their Disaster Recovery Network team, telling you what their roles are and the effect that they have.

Save The Children tried out a popular video trend

YouTube is the birthplace of viral video trends— draw my life, one second a day, tell-all's, my daily routine, etc. These ideas go viral for a reason, audiences love to feel more connected with creators, and these intimate feeling videos do just that. Save the Children produced a video drawing attention to the Syrian refugee crisis with “Most Shocking One Second a Day Challenge”. What starts out as light hearted video of a little English girl living her life rapidly turns into what life is like for her under a war torn country.  

City of Hope created an easy explainer video

Often, what non-profits explicitly do or how exactly they operate can be confusing to the average viewer— after all, many of the details are deeply complex and nuanced. Explainer videos are a great way to clarify certain points to viewers. City of Hope, a comprehensive cancer center, produced this fun, informative video to explain the easy way that interested people can use their new peer-to-peer fundraising program.

The ACLU showcased a single story for viewers to connect with

The identifiable victim effect means that people are more likely to donate after hearing a single, identified person's story rather than a group of unnamed victims. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) used this tactic in their video “A Boy Named Gavin,” to speak to the transgender community's fight for equal rights. The video features a moving speech from Gavin delivered to the leaders of his county. His heartfelt, individual testimony deeply resonated with viewers.


YouTube is an invaluable platform for a sector whose ability to fundraise and educate often entirely depends on capturing people's attention, YouTube videos are the perfect medium for non-profits to connect with their audience through compelling stories, and YouTube Impact Lab exists purely to facilitate this. Now, getting high quality, free marketing for your non-profit is not as impossible as it may seem.


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