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YouTube pilots fundraising tool for handpicked nonprofits

YouTube is testing in-app donations for some nonprofits, the company said in a blog post. The first feature of the YouTube Giving program is donation campaigns that run with a channel’s video, which look like this:

YouTube is for now backing transaction fees too, which means that it doesn’t get a cut from transactions. “This first beta period will be available to a limited group of creators in the US and Canada,” the company said.

Community fundraisers and Super Chat

The company also announced community fundraisers, where a group of creators can get together for a single campaign. “The feature is designed so that a Community Fundraiser will appear on participating creators’ videos at the same time and reflect the collective amount of money their communities are raising together,” the company said. YouTube is also testing a feature where creators can amplify their donations by getting viewers to match their contribution to a campaign.

YouTube also introduced Super Chat, which allows viewers who are interacting with creators during livestream to have their messages get more prominence if they donate money — the donations to go charity, not to the creator.

Except for Super Chat, all these programs are in beta.

Fundraising on YouTube

Bigger creators usually fundraise from viewers through third party services like Patreon, since the ad revenue from YouTube is often insufficient unless a user is a part of a more lucrative program like YouTube Red, the subscription service. Patreon takes a slice of donations in exchange for providing a platform for creators to interact exclusively with viewers who donate certain amounts of money. Patreon planned to shift the burden of donation fees onto users, but after backlash, decided against doing so.

Conversely, YouTube is also used as an element of larger fundraising campaigns, rather than the other way around — some of the most popular Kickstarters use YouTube to embed a promo or explanation of their concept.

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