How’s that YouTube Channel Coming?

How’s that YouTube Channel Coming?


By David Allen, Development for Conservation


If you have not done so recently, go to Google (the number one search engine in the world) and type in the name of your land trust. See what comes up. Were you first on the resulting list? Were you on the first page?

Now go to the number two search engine in the world. Do you know what it is? Hint: it’s YouTube. Repeat the exercise: type in the name of your land trust. See what comes up. Were you first on the resulting list? Were you on the first page?

The fact that YouTube is second should not come as a surprise to anyone by now. If you were surprised, check out this infographic (from a dental blogger!) Not having a YouTube channel is becoming like not having a website.

Developing a presence on YouTube is not hard and not expensive. You can easily start with a smartphone and a tripod. I recommend interviewing people using a standard set of questions that begin to get at what your land trust does and why doing it is important. Consider interviewing the Board President or new board directors when they first agree to serve. Interview easement or land donors, dedicated volunteers, field trip volunteers and participants, executives from businesses who support the organization, and/or agency partner representatives – videotape them, and publish a set of first-person stories.

You could also video field trip or work party gatherings, annual meeting speeches, or virtual tours of your preserves. But I recommend starting with interviews. Why?

The trend in all communications is toward the use of very personal stories and testimonials. This trend – first-person accounts of real people, their motivations, and emotional connections to the land – also makes for effective fundraising. Testimonials, once captured, can be used (with permission, of course) in newsletters and on the website, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites. And YouTube!

Finally, here’s a powerful idea for using video to say Thank You to donors. It comes from an organization called Charity Water. This particular video was created in 2011, as well as most of the specific Thank You videos that appear down the right side margin. Dated or not, I loved the idea so much I have been sharing it ever since.

Note particularly that Charity Water uses a video envelope – a title sequence and a closing sequence that is the same for every video. This is important for branding – you want the viewer to imprint with the organizational name, logo, and purpose, and you want to leave them with the information they need to find your website and make a donation.


Got a video that you’re proud of? Share it with me or send me a link in the comments, and I’ll share it with everyone else.





PS: I am fully aware, and I do not need it further pointed out, that I do not have a YouTube channel myself. Do as I say, not as I do.


PPS: You should search Google Images for your organization, too.


PPPS: Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Photo by Element5 Digital courtesy of

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  • Bethany Keene
    Posted at 15:53h, 28 November

    Hi David – we love videos at our land trust. Here is our YouTube channel:

  • Heidi Habeger
    Posted at 11:31h, 27 November

    Great post, David. Every time we close on a project and have a willing landowner, we do a video, “Landowner Minute” — one minute with the new landowner sharing why they’ve conserved their property. We’ve gotten good feedback on those.

    Drone footage is great now too. Incorporated some of that into the video about our name change.

    • David Allen
      Posted at 09:59h, 28 November

      I love these landowner minute videos. I have recommended exactly this approach to many clients. They are so easy to do, and there are no better advocates for your work than the landowners with whom you are partnering in conservation.

      Thank you for sharing them here.


  • David Allen
    Posted at 11:02h, 21 November

    From my In-Box this morning:

    Hi David –

    As part of our eNews series, I include a Tip of the Month. In a nutshell, I take 3-4 lines of an article, eblast or blog from another source as a teaser and then link to the full article.

    I think this post is a good topic to share and link in our November eNews. We have a workshop proposal on creating videos that we will likely accept for the conference too.

    Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving. You can look for the link to your blog in our November eNews (likely going out tomorrow if I can get it done).

    Amy Paterson
    Connecticut Land Conservation Council

    • David Allen
      Posted at 04:17h, 22 November

      Thanks Amy!

  • Brandy Bertram
    Posted at 10:23h, 21 November

    Love this! And agree. We’re not there yet…but getting better.

    • David Allen
      Posted at 10:58h, 21 November

      Brandy – thanks for the link. LOVE the video. That’s one – Keep it going!