The tl;dr version: World Vision is the first charity to genuinely engage with the YouTube community. We need to support this – but we also need to make it clear we have more to offer than just vlogs.
I’ve also said the same thing in more detail (and with examples) in this video:
During my time away from Bangladesh, I’ve been talking to a lot of charities. I’ve consulted with UNICEF, presented at Save the Children HQ, entered talks with the Red Cross, and have been giving input to World Vision.
World Vision is the first charity that’s heard me out and created a plan of action to engage the YouTube community. I was glad to have some input on this. And World Vision has done it in a way that experts like Beth Kanter would be proud: they are letting outsiders come in and aren’t worrying about perfection on the first try.
If you’ve been reading this blog, you know I’ve been advising charities to stop relying solely on Hollywood celebrities. Sending regular folks like Alex, Shawna, and Tom to Zambia have already generated over 300,000 views for World Vision on YouTube. See charities? I told you so.
The big challenge is the next step. My hope is that World Vision will use this success to do more ambitious things with the YouTube community. My fear is that, impressed by the amount of views they are getting, they won’t be challenged to try and engage this community in a deeper way.
If the support I’ve been getting is any indication, the YouTube community wants input on the charity work being on the ground. We want to see where the money goes, we want to see a project executed from start to finish, and we want to get to know the specific people our money has helped.
The technology to do this is here and it’s something I’ve been doing for a while now. But, after spending over 2 years to repair a school, what incentive does a charity have to do something like this again when I can only generate less than 40,000 views? Alex packing for his trip already got World Vision over 200,000 views.
This is an important moment for the YouTube community. We need to praise World Vision for engaging the YouTube community – but we also need to let them know we want more than just them replicating their celebrity-style visits with high profile YouTubers.
One way you can do this is let World Vision know. They are listening. On the World Vision Vloggers website, they have a place where you can leave a note (see the photo below for where the link is). Feel free to drop them a line. You can also tweet something using the #wvv hashtag and they will see it.