How to Raise Money for Charities by Watching Online Videos

Many Internet users love cats. At least one website is trying to link viewing cat videos to fundraising for human charities.
Many Internet users love cats. At least one website is trying to link viewing cat videos to fundraising for human charities. | Source

A New Way to Support Charities

Charities are often desperately seeking money to support their cause. Many people would like to help worthy charities but lack the funds, the time or the energy to do so. An innovative solution for these problems has been created. As long as people have access to the Internet - whether it's a paid service at home or a free service in a public library - they can help certain charities by simply watching videos.

The new donation method is ideal for the digital age in which we live. Compelling videos may attract both people who are looking for a way to help a charity and people who have no interest in doing so. In either case the charity will benefit. The process works because the videos are connected to advertising in some way. The company hosting the video donates part of the money paid by the advertisers to a specific charity. In this article I'll review two websites that use videos to raise money for charities.

Photos of cats apparently doing human things are always popular.
Photos of cats apparently doing human things are always popular. | Source

Cats vs Cancer

The public can't seem to get enough of cute cat videos, photos and memes on the Internet. Cats vs Cancer is capitalizing on this trend with the aim of helping people with cancer. The organization was created by two graduates from Georgetown University named Tom O'Connor and Eddie Peña. It's an IRS-certified non-profit organization based in the United States.

The Cats vs Cancer website has lots of cat videos. It also has cat photos with memes, which are wildly popular on social media at the moment, as well as cat GIFs. At the present time the site curates content instead of creating its own.

There are prominent share buttons on each page of the Cats vs. Cancer website. There are also - understandably - advertisements. These are noticeable, but I don't find them intrusive. Advertisers pay the organization for every page load. As a viewer explores the site and clicks on different videos or photos they're continuing to raise money. The website enables people to make a direct donation to a charity if they prefer.

The Founders Discuss the Cats vs Cancer Website

Supported Charities

Cats vs. Cancer supports a different charity each month. For example, one charity was the Vickie S. Honeycutt Foundation. This foundation was established in memory of a teacher who died from cancer. It raises funds to help educators and to support first degree relatives of people who are suffering from cancer. Another supported charity was the B-Strong Foundation. This foundation provides financial help, meals and gifts to families who have a child with cancer.

We're looking at smaller charities that are doing good work and for which maybe our contribution will be a bit more meaningful.

— Tom O'Connor in The Washington Post

Social Media and Connections

The Cats vs. Cancer organization has a Facebook page as well as Twitter, Instagram and other social media accounts. The Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts are actively maintained. There are frequently new posts to read on these sites.

The organization's website also offers people a chance to sign up for a newsletter. They have created a variety of ways to engage people, which seems like an excellent strategy.

Cats are cute, but kittens are even cuter! Attractive or funny videos or photos may be useful for charity fundraising.
Cats are cute, but kittens are even cuter! Attractive or funny videos or photos may be useful for charity fundraising. | Source

The Future for Cats vs Cancer

Cats vs Cancer has great hopes for the future. They want to become the go-to website for people interested in cat media. The competition to attract cat lovers is stiff, however.

Many organizations start out with great enthusiasm and have ambitious plans. Sometimes the enthusiasm fades as time passes and the plans fail to materialize. Hopefully this won't happen with Cats vs Cancer. I hope the website has staying power and becomes very popular.

The website originated in 2013 and is still in operation, which is a good sign. It's an enjoyable site to visit, but it's going to be a big job to make it more enticing than other cat media websites.

Supporting Charities via VISO Give

VISO Give

Unlike Cats vs Cancer, VISO Give is an offshoot of a commercial company that is based in Canada instead of the United States. The company is called BroadbandTV Corp and is a media technology business. The founder and CEO is a young woman named Shahrzad Rafati. She says that her company "helps content creators of all sizes to become more successful online".

VISO Give has a YouTube channel. BroadbandTV collects video content from charities and displays them on the VISO Give channel, thereby giving the charities extra publicity. In addition, money is donated to charities when the videos are viewed. The company has other VISO channels on YouTube, including one with movie trailers and another with music videos. It also has additional channels under other names.

Any device capable of watching Internet videos could be used to help charities.
Any device capable of watching Internet videos could be used to help charities. | Source

A Good Plan That Needs to be Revitalized

The videos on the VISO Give YouTube channel are active, but the channel hasn't been updated for some time. The present YouTube videos include ones about homelessness, hunger, dementia and big cat rescue. They are good videos. It's hard to maintain interest in a site where there is nothing new to look at, however.

VISO Give has a Facebook page that is actively maintained. The posts are about leadership qualities and achieving goals. They seem to be only indirectly related to the topic of raising funds for charities. The original plan was to give charities 60% of the money raised by people watching the organization's videos. The Facebook page says that 100% of the profit earned from the videos is donated to charity, however. The organization also has an active Twitter account as well as a Pinterest and Google+ account.

Shahrzad Rafati once said that her company planned to revitalize the YouTube channel, but this hasn't happened yet. I think this is a great shame. BroadbandTV is a successful business that has the potential to be a big help to charities.

Forming direct connections with people in need is very important, but indirect connections can be helpful, too.
Forming direct connections with people in need is very important, but indirect connections can be helpful, too. | Source

Helping Others by Watching Videos

Donating money or items to charities is very important. Doing traditional fundraising and physical work to help people in need is also important. It seems to me that there is another almost untapped method of helping others via the Internet, however.

Access to the Internet is widespread, at least in some countries. Many people access the Internet multiple times during the day, sometimes for long periods at a time. Some people take quick "Internet breaks" during other activities. Internet videos could therefore be a wonderful source of aid for charities.

Watching a cat video or checking out cat memes can be an enjoyable way to relax. It could also be a good method to help a charity with virtually no effort on the part of the donor. In order for the media to be effective, however, it's important that it's so interesting that people would view it even if it didn't help charities. While an average video may not make much money from viewers, there is great potential for popular ones to raise a significant sum. It would be wonderful if a viral video was linked to fundraising!

Some people can never see too many cat photos! This is Phoebe, a calico cat.
Some people can never see too many cat photos! This is Phoebe, a calico cat. | Source

A Poll - Supporting Charities By Watching Videos

Would you be willing to watch videos to raise money for charities?

See results without voting
A kitten with a very alert expression
A kitten with a very alert expression | Source

The Helper's High

I think it's important that a charity video website attracts people on their first visit and regularly adds interesting content to maintain their visitors' allegiance. Entertaining media and an indication of how much money has been raised by either an individual or in total may help to build a "helper's high". Researchers have found that this is a real phenomenon. When we help others, chemicals are released in our brain that make us feel good and encourage us to give more help.

Some people may not like the idea that our biology is playing a role in making us kind, but the important thing is that we help others. Even if this is done passively while looking at a computer screen, the effort could be very valuable. I hope the concept of supporting charities by watching videos spreads far and wide.

© 2014 Linda Crampton

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Comments 31 comments

Tranquilheart profile image

Tranquilheart 23 months ago from Canada

Thanks for sharing this info, I'll checkout these websites and others


Nadine May profile image

Nadine May 23 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

What an original topic and idea to use YouTube. I'm always amazed how many cat video clips are on Facebook. Now I know why. I must Google Shahrzad Rafati, who started such an out of the box idea.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for the comment, Tranquilheart.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Nadine. Cat video clips seem to be everywhere! I think that using videos to help charities is a great idea.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 23 months ago from South Africa

The raising of funds is hard work. I think doing it via videos may be quite successful, as you've said, it is hard to resist a cute video about cats or any other animal. I am going to look out for the Cats vs Cancer videos. Thank you for bringing this under our attention, Alicia :)


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Martie. I hope the video method of raising funds is successful. Charities need all the help they can get!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

A very worthwhile effort, raising awareness for great causes. Good for you, Alicia. I love that you wrote this.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much, Bill. I appreciate your visit and your kind comment.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 23 months ago from The Caribbean

Two great entertainment ideas for fund-raising. Thanks for the information and I intend to check out the sites.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the visit and the comment, MsDora.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 23 months ago from southern USA

Oh, what a creative way to help charities! I love this idea and thank you for sharing. We can access the Internet now via our phones on a break and watch a cut video and at the same time help a worthwhile cause, brilliant.

This is a wonderful topic for a hub and thank you for writing on this topic.

Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

Merry Christmas and blessings, dear Linda, to you and yours always


truthfornow profile image

truthfornow 23 months ago from New Orleans, LA

Cool. I watch those cat videos. Nice to know I could be watching and raising money for charity. I will definitely check the site out. I work for a nonprofit and it is always hard to raise money. So, I wish them luck and hope that your article helps draw them so more views.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Faith. Yes, watching a cat video is an ideal activity for a break, especially when it helps a charity! Thank you so much for all the shares. Merry Christmas and blessings to you and your family. I hope the season is a wonderful one for you.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for the comment, truthfornow. I hope that lots of people hear about Cats vs Cancer and that their website is very successful. I wish them luck, too!


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 23 months ago from malang-indonesia

I have never heard about this before. But anyway, thanks for sharing with us. Have a good day!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Prasetio. Thanks for the visit. I hope you have a good day, too!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 23 months ago from Dallas, Texas

I love the new ways that are available to help others through things we do normally. This is enlightening and worthwhile. Thanks for sharing this information. I watched a funny cat with a turtle video just this morning.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, Peg. I think I saw the same video as you yesterday. It was certainly funny!


ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 23 months ago from USA

Watching videos is a good option for people with limited financial resources. Maybe this will spread, and it can be used to help the hungry and homeless. I'm sure a lot of elderly with more time on their hands would love to participate.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 23 months ago from sunny Florida

What a wonderful way to reach out to others. It is heart warming to know there are so many ways to reach out to others. So many are in need and so graciously receive whatever help may come their way.

Angels are on the way to you ps


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, ologsinquito. I hope the idea spreads, too. Watching videos would be a great way for elderly people with limited mobility to help others. Thanks for the visit.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you so much for the comment and the angels, pstraubie. I hope you have a very merry Christmas.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 23 months ago from Stillwater, OK

This is a fabulous topic, and I thank you for bringing this to awareness.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks, Deb. I appreciate your comment.


DDE profile image

DDE 23 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Great suggestions and raising money is a challenge.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Devika. Yes, raising money for a charity can sometimes be a big challenge. Thanks for the comment.


techygran profile image

techygran 23 months ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

Hi Linda, I find this useful and very interesting and hopeful. I am going to go over and take a look at the various sites you talked about above. I appreciated your reviews of these charity drives. Voted up and shared! ~Cynthia


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Cynthia. Thank you very much for the comment and the share! I find the development of these sites very helpful, too.


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 16 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Linda, this was real interesting to know about going digital to raise money for charities. Very useful and voted up!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 16 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, Kristen. I appreciate your comment and the votes.


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 16 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Anytime Alicia. You're very welcome.

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