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How to Raise Money for Charities by Watching Online Videos

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.

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 organizations 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 (or the pages on the site that's hosting the videos) are connected to advertising in some way. The company donates part of the money paid by the advertisers to a specific organization that helps others. 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.

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. 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 their cause 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 (or at least they did at that time).

The Founders Discuss Cats vs Cancer

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 can be even cuter. Attractive or funny videos or photos may be useful for charity fundraising.

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

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. Another problem is that although the website is frequently updated with a new video, there's no indication of how much money has been raised for the latest charity that is being supported. Although a video on the site describes how the fundraising works, some evidence that exploring the website is helping to raise funds for people with cancer would probably encourage more visits to the site.

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.

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. 60% of the advertiser’s money is then donated to a charity. The other 40% is used to keep the organization in operation. The site was started in France by Vincent Touboul Flachaire, who was only eighteen or nineteen (reports vary) at the time. The beta version of the program was started in 2014 and the international version in 2015. Like Cats vs Cancer, the program has been in operation for several years.

The donation (or video-watching) process at Goodeed is not anonymous. People need to register and share certain information about themselves in order to watch the video 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 (since there is a limit to how much money an advertiser will pay), and to tailor the ads for the visitor. Some people may not want to share the required information about themselves.

As always when sharing personal information with a website, someone considering doing this should investigate what is done with the data. It should also be noted that even though Cats vs Cancer doesn't require registration, information is collected via IP address as a user browses the site. It's also collected in a more personal form when people comment on the site's social media accounts. The gathering and analysis of user information in this way is very common on the Internet. Goodeed goes beyond the basics with respect to gathering information, though.

Translating the Website

The Goodeed website is displayed in a mixture of French and English. Over time, the amount of English has decreased. This isn't a problem for me because I use the translation abilities of the Chrome browser on my laptop.

Sometimes an offer to translate a web page appears on the top right of the screen in Chrome when it detects that a page isn't in English, provided this ability has been chosen in the browser’s settings. This doesn’t happen for me when I visit the Goodeed site, so I right-click to bring up a menu and then choose “Translate into English”. The translation is rapid and the result makes sense. It's a very useful feature.

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. There are currently nine menus on the organization's home page, as listed below. I've listed some examples of projects that are or have been supported in each category.

  • Environment: planting trees and clearing pollution
  • Health: providing safe drinking water, fighting disease, buying mosquito nets for a community, providing an enjoyable activity for a hospitalized child
  • Education: supplying a community with bicycles so that children can get to school, giving books to children without them, providing tutoring
  • Emergency: buying emergency kits for people facing a disaster, building a disaster warning system for a community
  • Human Rights: providing support for disadvantaged people, helping people with disabilities find a job, turning unused offices into residences
  • Nutrition: providing nutritious packed food to people who need it, such as milk powder for young children
  • Poverty: sending solar power units to communities that need them; supplying hot meals to homeless people
  • Citizen Action: building homes for refugees
  • Trip for All: providing travel opportunities for people with financial or physical problems

Watching three Goodeed video ads a day when each lasts 20 seconds takes very little time. While the translation of the written word on the Goodeed site is fast and works well (at least in Chrome and on my system), the commentary or captions in a video may not be understood if they are in French.

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.

Social Media

Goodeed has a YouTube channel containing videos that describe the site and its work. Chrome quickly translates the titles of the videos and the comments that people have made. When someone is talking in French in a video or the captions are written in French, however, the video may not help people who don't understand the language. Goodeed has a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram account. It also has an app that people can use to watch videos on their mobile device.

Helping Others by Watching Videos

Donating money or items to charities when we are financially able to is 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 visit the Internet multiple times during the day, sometimes for long periods at a time. Some people take quick "Internet breaks" during other activities. Online 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. Watching a video ad may not be as enticing as watching a cat video, but if it doesn't take long and if it supports a project that interests people, they'll probably be willing to do it.

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.

A Poll - Supporting Charities By Watching Videos

A kitten with a very alert expression

A kitten with a very alert expression

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 online videos spreads far and wide.

References and Resources

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2014 Linda Crampton

Comments

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 24, 2020:

I hope more charities explore the idea of raising money by means of people watching videos. I think it's an excellent idea.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 24, 2020:

This video watching may become even more popular now that the pandemic is making more people stay at home. Others may have their incomes at risk because of layoffs, etc. It is excellent that charities can benefit in such an easy way. Thanks for spreading the word.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 30, 2020:

Thank you very much.

Anya Ali from Rabwah, Pakistan on January 30, 2020:

Good article!

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on July 28, 2015:

Anytime Alicia. You're very welcome.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 28, 2015:

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

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on July 25, 2015:

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

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 15, 2015:

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

Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on January 15, 2015:

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

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 31, 2014:

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

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 31, 2014:

Great suggestions and raising money is a challenge.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 30, 2014:

Thanks, Deb. I appreciate your comment.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on December 30, 2014:

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

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 22, 2014:

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

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 22, 2014:

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.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on December 22, 2014:

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 from USA on December 22, 2014:

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.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 22, 2014:

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

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on December 22, 2014:

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.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 21, 2014:

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

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on December 21, 2014:

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

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 21, 2014:

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!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 21, 2014:

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.

Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on December 21, 2014:

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 from southern USA on December 21, 2014:

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

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 21, 2014:

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

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 21, 2014:

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

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 21, 2014:

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

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 21, 2014:

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

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 21, 2014:

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

Martie Coetser from South Africa on December 21, 2014:

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 :)

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 21, 2014:

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

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 21, 2014:

Thanks for the comment, Tranquilheart.

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on December 21, 2014:

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 from Canada on December 21, 2014:

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

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