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 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 are connected to advertising in some way. The company hosting the video 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.
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 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 (or at least they did at that time).
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 plan.
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.
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.
Unlike Cats vs Cancer, the donation process at Goodeed is not anonymous. People need to register and share certain information about themselves 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 (since there is a limit to how much money an advertiser will pay), and to tailor the ads for the visitor.
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 is very common on the Internet.
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. 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.
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.
A Poll - Supporting Charities By Watching Videos
Would you be willing to watch videos to raise money for charities?
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
Questions & Answers
© 2014 Linda Crampton