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How to Raise Money for Charities by Watching Online Videos

Updated on October 6, 2017
AliciaC profile image

Linda Crampton is a writer who is concerned about social issues. She hopes to encourage anyone who is able to do so to help people in need.

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

Some video sites that donate money to charity come and go, but Cats vs Cancer has been in existence for several years and seems to have staying power. 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. According to a 2015 interview with Tom O'Connor by The Washington Post, Cats vs Cancer donates about 85% of its revenue to charity.

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 plan.

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 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.

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

The Goodeed Website

Instead of providing entertaining videos, Goodeed asks people to watch a video ad for at least twenty seconds in order to generate a donation. 70% of the advertiser’s money is then donated to a charity. The other 30% is used to keep the organization in operation. The site was started in France by Vincent Touboul Flachaire, who was only nineteen at the time. The beta version of the program was started in 2014 and the international version in 2015.

Unlike Cats vs Cancer, the donation process at Goodeed is not anonymous. People need to sign up via email, Facebook, or Twitter in order to watch the ads. The organizers say that this is necessary for three reasons: to ensure that visitors aren’t robots, to make sure that a person watches a maximum of three ads a day, and to tailor the ads for the visitor. The names of the latest donors (or at least their social media names) and their total number of donations are posted on the website, as well as a Follow button. The publicity may make some people feel uncomfortable, but on the other hand it could provide a sense of achievement and friendly competition.

A non-governmental organization (NGO) is any non-profit, voluntary citizens' group which is organized on a local, national or international level.

— NGO.org

What Charities Are Supported?

Goodeed supports NGOs, or non-governmental, non-profit organizations. On the organization's home page, there are buttons for three types of charities: trees, meals, and water. The video above indicates that there is a vaccines button, but at least for now "water" has replaced "vaccines". When I last visited the page there were also buttons for two special projects: weekend in Disney and meetings between residents and the homeless. The website has a Victories page that shows successful fundraising campaigns.

  • The goal of the trees section is to raise money to plant trees in order to counteract deforestation. The aim is to help the environment and biodiversity and to support people's livelihoods. The name of the organization that is supported is WeForest.
  • The meals section supports the World Food Programme. It aims to provide nutritious meals to children who are malnourished.
  • The goal of the water section is to provide safe, unpolluted drinking water to people around the world. The organization that supplies the water is called Solidarités International.
  • The Disney section provides a weekend in a Disney amusement park for a sick child and their parents. The organization that provides the trip is called Tout le monde contre le cancer.
  • The meeting button supports a charity called Entourage. The organization wants to promote awareness and understanding of the homeless situation and to encourage people to help each other.

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

Social Media

Goodeed has an interesting YouTube channel containing videos that describe charities. The captions and narration are in French, however, which may be a drawback for people who don't understand the language. The text on the organization's website is written mainly in English, but some sections are in French. This interesting mixture of languages is found on its social media accounts, too. Goodeed has a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram account.

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. Videos from advertisers may not be as interesting to watch as cat videos, but on the other hand, watching at least twenty seconds of each of three video ads a day is not very time-consuming.

Frequent viewing of videos from a dedicated individual could slowly create a significant contribution to a charity. Increasing the number of consistent viewers could be even more helpful. 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
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 or 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.

References and Resources

The Cats vs Cancer website

An interview with Tom O'Connor from The Washington Post

The Goodeed website

© 2014 Linda Crampton

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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Anytime Alicia. You're very welcome.

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years 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
      Author

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • techygran profile image

      Cynthia 2 years 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
      Author

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Great suggestions and raising money is a challenge.

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks, Deb. I appreciate your comment.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

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

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years 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

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 2 years 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.

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 2 years 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
      Author

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 2 years 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
      Author

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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!

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 2 years 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.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years 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

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 2 years 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
      Author

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years 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
      Author

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 2 years 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
      Author

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the comment, Tranquilheart.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 2 years 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.

    • Tranquilheart profile image

      Tranquilheart 2 years ago from Canada

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