How to Raise Money for Charities by Watching Online Videos
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
A Poll - Supporting Charities By Watching Videos
Would you be willing to watch videos to raise money for charities?See results without voting
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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