YouTube has been testing a new channel design since July. Nonprofits that already have a channel can easily upgrade to the new design and tool set under Account > Edit Channel > Channel Information > Upgrade My Channel. For nonprofits that have yet to create a channel on YouTube, you are automatically given the new channel design when you sign up for your new YouTube account. The fact that new accounts automatically come with the new design make it pretty clear that at some point soon all channels will have the new design, so rather than being caught off guard, I would suggest that you go ahead and upgrade your channel to the new design if you haven’t already.
Now let’s compare the two designs. The Born Free Foundation has not yet upgraded their channel while Big Cat Rescue [an early adopter of using YouTube] upgraded their channel almost as soon as the Beta channels were launched. Visually, the look and feel of the two is strikingly different. Like all new designs, it takes awhile to get used to the new, but after working with the new channel layout and tool set for a couple of months now, I am a strong advocate for nonprofits upgrading to the new design.
One thing to keep in mind is that the ability to add a banner at the top of your channel is only available to nonprofits that have applied for and been accepted to YouTube’s Nonprofit Program. If your organization has been in operation for longer than a year and listed in GuideStar, then you should be accepted. Just make sure that before you apply, you have designed the basics of your channel (colors and and the “Profile” section) and uploaded a couple of videos.
Once you have upgraded your channel, the design process is incredibly easy. See Mashable’s HOW TO: Customize Your YouTube Channel. If you need more help, take my webinar on How Nonprofit Organizations Can Successfully Use Facebook and YouTube. Please also make sure that you friend me on YouTube at www.youtube.com/nonprofitorgs.
I am going to leave you with some pretty amazing stats aimed mostly at those nonprofits that have yet to get a YouTube channel… hoping to convince you that you must. Video is the future:
1) YouTube receives 120 million unique visitors from the United States each month. Compare that to Facebook’s 95 million, MySpace’s 66 million and Twitter’s 21 million.
2) An impressive 79% of the total U.S. Internet audience view online video each month, moving to 88% by 2012.
3) Consumption is high across all demographics: 76% of children and 44% of seniors watched online video. Issues of race and class do not play themselves out on YouTube like they do on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.