YouTube Adds Video Donation Option

January 28, 2016       Mark Hrywna      

YouTube has unveiled donation cards that can be added to videos, allowing users to donate to a nonprofit through the online video platform. Cards can add interactivity to videos, pointing users to a specific URL or display customized images, titles and calls to action, and now donations.

Donation cards, which had been in beta for several months, allow viewers and subscribers to contribute to U.S. nonprofits selected by video creators. Users can add up to five cards to one video.

Google covers the processing fees so 100 percent of donations go to the nonprofit. Google partners with Network for Good to collect and distribute donations to nonprofits. Donations appear as line items on a credit card receipt, noting the donation was made through Network for Good. YouTube, which was acquired by Google in November 2006 for $1.65 billion, now has more than 1 billion users worldwide.

If a YouTube creator has a donation card on their video, users can click to donate to that nonprofit. Neither the nonprofit featured in donation cards nor the creator of the video get to see the donor’s contact information.

Donors will receive a confirmation email from their Google Payments account, which serves as a donation receipt. Any gift of $250 or more will warrant a written acknowledgement by email.

Cards are designed to provide better viewer experience, complementing videos and enhancing them with contextually relevant information. Over time, YouTube plans to optimize cards to surface the most relevant teasers and cards based on performance, viewer behavior and the device they use. Half of all views on YouTube now come from mobile devices.

Cards are shown on the right side of the video in a desktop view and below the video on a mobile view. If there are multiple cards on one video, viewers can scroll through them while the video is playing.

YouTube’s Help Center offers some tips on using donation cards.