As a visual medium, videos are a powerful way for people to reach other people — not sure for entertainment, but to call attention to important causes. And combined with the power of the internet, the impact can be still more powerful. YouTube, for example, has 800 million unique visitors a month, or roughly 12 percent of the world’s population online — not just waiting to be entertained, but also informed and inspired.
The Philippines is no stranger to social initiatives effected through YouTube. One recent outreach was the effort of seven-year-old Bronte Henfling, daughter of Skip Henfling, who was part of the ‘Borne Legacy’ film crew. During their stay in the Philippines, Bronte witnessed the devastation wreaked on Cagayan de Oro and Iligan by the tropical storm Sendong. This led the seven-year-old to appeal for toys for the affected children in Mindanao over YouTube. The clip, entitled ‘Bronte and Frank’s Typhoon Toy Drive’, raised 2,000 stuffed toys from California and Australia, to help comfort the children of Mindanao.
Earth Hour, a sustainability campaign that started as an local initiative in Sydney in 2006, also used YouTube to reach a global audience. It’s 2012 campaign, ‘I Will if You Will’, uses videos to encourage people to pledge to little actions to help save the world. The campaign has people pledging dares — “I will do the polar bear swim…if 2000 people agree to pick up trash by the beach” — and accepting the creative challenges.
Clearly, netizens are harnessing the power of video and the internet to inspire social change in a cost effective and efficient way. The YouTube Nonprofit Program, launched in 2007, offers free brand channels to non-profits and is already home to thousands of non-profits — whether big or small — like the World Food Program, Invisible People TV, RSPCA, and World Vision. Non-profits actually uploaded over 42,000 hours of content in 2010 alone. And as of November 2011, over 270 non-profit partners had over one million views, while 31 non-profits got over 100 million views. Currently, around 16,000 non-profits have signed up with the program.
If you want to start a non-profit channel of your own, you may sign up at http://www.youtube.com/nonprofits and check out YouTube’s Playbook Guide: YouTube for Good, which contains tips and how-tos that help non-profits activate their campaigns, create compelling content and raise funds on a tight budget.