Reach new audiences & engage your supporters

using the YouTube Nonprofit Program

In this guide you’ll learn how to

  • Create your YouTube channel
  • Customize your channel layout, create channel art and icons
  • Produce high quality videos on a budget
  • Optimize sound, lighting and framing
Reach new audiences & engage your supporters

Take the opportunity to have greater impact with video - Activate the YouTube Nonprofit program to gain access to support and features.

Amplify your cause and drive empathy, using video to engage your supporters and move them to take action with you.

YouTube has 2 billion logged in monthly users, with the highest engagement among younger viewers - making it a powerful platform to grow your audience.

Harness scale and technology to drive measurable social impact and change on the video platform.

YouTube Nonprofit Program Features

Activate the YouTube Nonprofit program to gain access to support and features.

Not Activated

At no cost- Get started right away

check YouTube Creator Academy

check "Link anywhere” Cards

check Your cause may be featured on Social Impact

check Dedicated email support


At no cost- Requires activation

check YouTube Creator Academy

check “Link anywhere” Cards

check Your cause may be featured on social impact

check Google for Nonprofits Tools

check Dedicated email support

Link Anywhere cards

Set up Link Anywhere cards with customized images, titles and calls to action to add interactivity to your videos and point viewers to a specific URL on your nonprofit’s website.

Dedicated technical support

Contact YouTube Nonprofit Program support for any issues setting up your nonprofit channel on YouTube.

Why YouTube?

YouTube is a place to connect and share stories, bring awareness to social issues, and inspire action. Once you’ve hooked your viewers, you can transform them into advocates for your nonprofit’s cause. You can use your YouTube channel to tell stories, measure impact, grow your audience, and fundraise.

To start telling your story, you will need to first create a YouTube channel.

Create your YouTube channel

To create a channel for your nonprofit that can be managed by multiple people in your organization, use a Brand Account.


Create a channel for your nonprofit with the name of your organization or cause. You can then connect your channel to a Brand Account, so you and others can jointly manage it through your own Google accounts, without requiring you to share login details.

To allow other people in your nonprofit to manage content on the channel, you can add people as channel managers. You can decide how much control each person in your organization has over the account.

Customize your channel layout, create channel art and icons

Your nonprofit’s YouTube channel is it’s home page on YouTube. People searching for issues or causes that align with your nonprofit’s work may be searching for those topics on YouTube, and when they click on your channel, you want them to recognize your brand and your mission. Customize your channel art to give your page a unique look and feel, to give viewers a great first impression and help your viewers navigate your content. Use channel art that captures your organization’s ethos and create a channel trailer to hook in your audience and entice them to watch more content.


As your channel is your organization’s home page on YouTube, you can organize all your videos and playlists into sections, so your users see what you want them to see when they get to your page. You can also create a channel trailer, to give your users a preview of what your organization cares about and also suggest content for your subscribers about topics relevant to your cause. Learn more about customizing your channel layout.


Channel art shows as a banner at the top of your YouTube page. You can use it to brand your channel's identity and give your page a unique look and feel. Keep in mind that channel art looks different on desktop, mobile, and TV displays.


Your channel icon shows over your channel art banner. It’s the icon that displays to other users for your videos and channel on YouTube watch pages.


Use these recommended guidelines when creating a new channel icon

  • JPG, GIF, BMP, or PNG file (no animated GIFs)
  • 800 x 800 px image (recommended)
  • Square or round image that renders 98 x 98 px

Click here for more tips on creating or editing your channel art!

Produce high quality videos on a budget

You don’t need a massive production budget to create great video content. Many YouTube creators record, edit, and upload videos directly from their smartphones. You just need to learn some basic tips to make the best use of what you have on hand. Check out Invisible People to see a nonprofit developing compelling video stories with very limited resources.


Pre-production will save you a lot of time. Before pressing ‘record’, find out what equipment works best for you, how to turn your idea into a story, and what other steps you can take to be ready for your shoot.


1. Use Storyboarding to create an outline of what you’d like to film, and what you want included in the video.

2. Visit the location you’ll be filming in before you shoot and try to avoid locations that might be too loud, have other events happening or be too busy to secure the space.

3. Set up a pre-production meeting to discuss goals of the video, set expectations of what you want to film and the time investment needed and share examples of work you want to replicate.

4. Prepare yourself (or your talent) to get the best “on-camera” results. Have the talent bring a ton of energy since some enthusiasm gets lost in the transfer from camera to screen. Expect a bit of time to warm up if they’re not used to being on-camera and consider wardrobe suggestions ahead of time to avoid distracting patterns or materials. Have your talent keep their feet firmly planted to avoid nervous shuffling or unnecessary movement and be encouraging!


Your mobile device should be more than enough to capture footage as video processing power is very good on most smartphones today. Use a phone tripod to stabilize your footage (these usually cost around $10-$15).


Optimize audio, lighting and framing for YouTube

If you need to film a video but have no gear around, you can still shoot great-looking footage using your phone with some basic tips to optimize your video production. Hold the phone horizontally, clean the phone’s lens before starting, put your phone in airplane mode so notifications won’t be distracting, choose the highest resolution setting for filming video and keep it stable! Keep YouTube in mind when filming, the first 15 seconds need to pull in the viewer.


Good sound means capturing clean audio at an acceptable recording level, so that your audience understands what your video is communicating.


1. Ensure high quality audio with a Lavalier microphone which you can purchase from most online retailers (these are low-cost, usually around $10-12 for a 2-pack).

2. Get as close as possible! The further away your mic is, the worse the audio will sound.

3. Have a little bit of background noise? Use a background track (found in YouTube’s Audio Library) to cover it up.

4. Make sure that you’re not covering up the mic when filming on a phone.

5. Need free background music or sound effects? Check out YouTube’s Audio Library!


Good lighting encompasses much more than whether or not the viewer sees your subject. Before you shoot your next video, define the mood you wish to convey and evaluate what lighting conditions can contribute to that mood. Experiment with decreasing or increasing the light intensity to get your desired effect.

1. Don’t shoot directly in front of a window, with too much sunlight from behind otherwise your talent will appear like a shadow.

2. Try to use a room or space that has windows to utilize as much natural light as possible.

3. Try a classic setup of "three point” lighting, which combines a key light, a fill light and back light, to separate your talent from the background.

4. Avoid large bright spots, aim to have any lights you use be positioned at a distance to create a soft glow as opposed to a hotspot.


Use the ‘rule of thirds' and other tips for well-composed shots. Try to film people a little to the side, as opposed to straight on to make the video more visually interesting.

1. Have a little bit of space between top of video and the top of your talent’s head.

2. Keep eyes in upper third of the video.

3. Place person near line intersections to make the show more visually pleasing.

Learn More

Now that you have the tools to set up and manage your YouTube channel and create high quality videos, start to think about how to best authentically tell your nonprofit story. Master the fundamentals of powerful video storytelling on YouTube with simple tips, inspiring videos and lessons tailored for creating social impact.

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