Most established non-profits are not cutting edge and fast-moving by nature. They operate under strict regulations and are often beholden to the desires of big donors. So they’re not exactly well-suited to harness the power an ever-mutating social video platform like YouTube.
Recognizing this shortcoming, veteran digital media exec Amber J. Lawson has established Good Amplified, which she is billing as the first and only multi-channel network committed exclusively to non-profit storytelling and guiding non-profits in driving awareness, donor retention and revenue via YouTube.
“A content creator is constantly focused on how to grow their channel, whereas non-profits are focusing on their mission, whether that’s feeding the homeless or finding a cure for a disease,” said Lawson, who is CEO of Good Amplified. “So they don’t necessarily have the bandwidth in-house to fully leverage YouTube. And that’s where we come in.”
Unlike a typical MCN, Good Amplified charges a fee to join its network, $2,000. For that price, Lawson and her team will optimize up to 100 of the non-profit’s videos using all the best practices in YouTube’s playbook — creating tags, playlists, calls to action, bumpers and annotations — and give it an overall content strategy.
“Our goal is not be with them forever,” pointed out Lawson, who is also CEO of Comedy Gives Back, which leverages live comedy across multiple platforms to raise money for charities. “Our goal is, in six months, we’ve trained them how to really use YouTube, so they can go off and handle it themselves.”
If the non-profit still needs Good Amplified, it can choose a typical MCN model, where it monetizes the content and gives Good Amplified a split of the ad revenue, or it can pay a monthly fee to have them manage the channel.
“We were going to go out as a normal MCN and just do a revenue split, but for some non-profits dealing with that type of income is a whole other accounting layer that is a nightmare and costs them more money than it’s worth,” Lawson explained. “What they do have is line items for consultants. After awhile, they can go to their board and say, ‘Over this period of time, we would’ve made $50,000. This is a real revenue stream for us,” and make the case that it’s worth it to then invest in the accounting and open up for ad revenue.”
Although Good Amplified is officially launching today, it’s already been in operation for several months, working with non-profit partners including Make-A-Wish, Teen Cancer America, and Rett Syndrome Research Trust.
According to Good Amplified, since starting to working with Make-A-Wish in March, the non-profit has increased its number of YouTube subscribers 66% and seen a 54% rise in minutes watched. It optimized a video of basketball star LeBron James, granting a wish, and it went from not showing up in YouTube search results to generating an additional 200,000 views a month.
In was brought onboard by Teen Cancer America in October, and within eight days it optimized a campaign they created for the Revlon Love Competition, bringing in support from popular YouTuber MyLifeAsEva, who has upwards of 4.68 million subscribers.
“They get a little success, with people reacting and engaging, it’s exciting and addictive, as we already know from the creator’s side,” Lawson said.
For those inside or outside of the non-profit world who pooh-pooh the importance of YouTube, Lawson had some words of caution.
“Most of the millennials are cord-nevers. They get all of their content from YouTube. So if you’re trying to create advocates and brand affinity, you have to be on YouTube,” Lawson said. “That’s where they. And if you’re organization is going to survive, you have to be where this next generation is, creating that relationship.”