YouTube this week revealed new tools that allow users to more easily raise money for charities. It’ll also help by paying the fees for donations up to a point.
The primary tool, which I expect will be the most frequently used by followers, is Super Chats for Good. It takes YouTube‘s Super Chat donation service — in which users can pay to get their comments displayed more prominently in chat — and routs all funds made through it over a period of time directly to the charity of the YouTuber’s choice.
Other tools include Fundraisers, which embeds a donation button and a progress bar for a campaign on all videos on a YouTuber’s channel while the Fundraiser is in progress; and Community Fundraisers, which supports the same thing but with multiple content creators.
Currently, the charities available to participate are “qualifying US-registered 501(c)(3) nonprofits,” such as St. Jude and Hope For Paws.
During the beta period, YouTube will cover the fees for the Fundraisers, meaning 100 percent of the proceeds will go directly to the charity. The company hasn’t said what percentage will be removed for fees after the beta period ends. For Super Chats, it keeps 30 percent, but that seems excessive for a charitable donation. According to the FAQ, with Super Chats for Good, the whole amount goes to charity, but the company is more vague on the topic of Fundraisers. We’ve contacted YouTube for clarification.
YouTube has made several leaps in improving its support mechanisms for its content creators and streamers. Whereas before they were reliant on rather faulty and quixotic advertising algorithms for money, and were constantly at risk of having their videos demonetized for obscure reasons. But the site has since introduced things like Super Chats, channel subscriptions, and merchandise displays, which creators can all leverage to profit from their work.
Now its turning that same idea to charity, and it’s honestly odd to think it’s taken this long to see that. Before now, when YouTubers wanted to raise money for an issue, they had to direct users to an outside site — either a charity’s own site, or a fundraiser on Indiegogo, Kickstarter, or the like. That was a shortcoming compared with Facebook, which has had fundraising tools for years, and Twitch, which regularly hosts fundraisers such as Games Done Quick.
The beta will be available for a pool of YouTubers in Canada and the US at first, with the pool of users expanding over a period of months.