More and more nonprofits are experimenting with online video, often simply by encouraging supporters to produce home-made testimonials or “why I'm concerned” videos.

If your strategy is to place “best” or suitable videos on your own website after staff review, then of course editorial “compatibility” isn't an issue.

But at the same time, this approach doesn't fully capture the liberating “express yourself” ethos — to say nothing of outreach capacity — of the most popular social networking sites like YouTube and MySpace. You can probably tap a deeper vein (assuming it's there to be tapped) if you encourage members, activists and other sympaticos to show their support by posting videos directly on those mega-traffic sites.

Yes, there are risks. You must yield control. The “do's and don'ts” of associating your brand with “consumer-generated” video are very well explored in this post by Mark Naples writing for iMedia Connection. Mark illustrates each of the following admonitions with easy-to-view links to pertinent YouTube videos …

1. Do understand that it is a dialogue.

2. Don't forget proper content alignment.

3. Do really engage the viewer.

4. Don't ever think you can relax.

5. Do entice the viewer.

6. Don't forget restraint.

While Mark is coming at this from the perspective of corporate brands who might be setting themselves up for customer-generated spoofs and worse, his advice is well worth the attention of would-be nonprofit online video impresarios.

Roger & Tom

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