Expanded from original post at Social Axcess.
I am a big fan of the arts and, particularly, the arts in education. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life either working on the business side of arts, like in film, or volunteering in artistic communities or for arts groups. I think people are drawn to causes because they have personal meaning to them in addition to doing good, and I grew up in the arts community. Creative pursuits made public school very nearly bearable and, in addition to my own anecdotal evidence, many studies support the fact that access to arts has a major positive impact on grades and scholastic success.
The site I write for is about Social Media, with a bent towards businesses, and while most of what they post seems to be aimed at for-profit businesses with a product to sell, non-profits can use a lot of the same tools to make themselves more successful. For example, in the state of South Carolina, the new governor, Nikki Haley, has threatened to completely cut the budget for the Arts Commission and ETV/NPR Public TV and Radio. In response, the Arts Commission has engaged in a small scale social and traditional media blitz, particularly on Facebook, that’s meant a lot of calls and e-mails to the representatives of the state and some spinoff groups joining the cause. (Full disclosure: I’ve volunteered for SCAC on multiple occasions)
I bring this up not to toot the SCAC or etv’s horn — before the budget is finalized, it’s unclear how successful they’ve been — but because YouTube is launching it’s 5th Annual DoGooder Non-Profit Video Awards and it’s reminded me of how important it is for non-profits to exploit the same marketing and advertising tools that any business has access to. For the YouTube competition, The Case Foundation will give out $10,000 in grants to video winners and they’ll all be featured on the homepage of YouTube –advertising probably worth way more than $10,000 in eyeballs.
YouTube has also launched a page for non-profits which will be a channel dedicated to sharing non-profit messages. Joining not only gives you exposure, but access to Video Volunteers to help make your video a reality if your organization finds the process of making videos out of their reach. There are also lots of tips and guides, so if you’re a non-profit thinking about expanding your online presence, you could do a lot worse than starting with youtube.
This is, of course, great for any non-profit not just the arts. I think any atheist, secular, gay rights, womens rights, or any of the absurd things I support could benefit, so if you’re associated with one, spread the word.