When YouTube star Tyler Oakley decided to support the Trevor Project for his 25th birthday, he knew he could count on his huge fan base. Being a celebrity -- not just among millennials -- with over 6 million subscribers to his channel, he felt he could do something concrete for the organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention to LGBTQ kids. He decided to promote a crowdfunding campaign on Prizeo to engage and involve his fans. He set a target of $150,000 (in a similar campaign in 2013 Tyler raised $29,000, but he wanted to do better). What he and the Trevor Project team didn't count on was that they would be able to collect more than $525, 000 in just 50 days!
The campaign proved a huge success not just in terms of money raised, but also in terms of engagement. The fundraising was backed by a series of livestreams and live tweets every Sunday to give weekly updates, with Q&As, special guests and live "Thank Yous" to donors on camera. During the live sessions, people were given the opportunity to share their thoughts about how much the organization's work meant to them and how they felt about the issues the Travor Project tries to face. The operation allowed the organization to reach a huge engaged audience and raise awareness of the LGBTQ young community matters.
Oakley's campaign is one of the best examples to show the power of YouTube as a fundraising promotion platform, but it's not the only one.
With even more YouTube stars gaining fame and fortune as well as additional platforms rolling out like Vine and Facebook Video , online video has become the ultimate and fastest growing platform to get new and involved audiences to back a campaign. Online video is dramatically changing the concept of TV and celebrity, becoming the most engaging and cost effective "place" to get backers for a good cause.
In this context, the power of YouTube as a fundraising platform is becoming huge. Non-profit organizations receive maximum benefit by virtue of these sites' characteristics such as community discussion and easily sharable content.
A growing number of YouTube stars -- backed by their millions of subscribers -- are supporting charity projects on their channels, thus enhancing their online reputation and fan base. Here's a list of the top 10 fundraising projects backed by international YouTube celebrities:
1. Tyler Oakley - The Trevor Project
Oakleys's campaign helped raise $525,679. Fans were encouraged to donate to help the organization and win a dinner out with Tyler
2.Connor Franta - Thirsty
Similarly to Oakley, in celebration of his birthday Franta decided to raise awareness for The Thirst Project and help them build wells to provide clean, safe water for people in Swaziland. Though Connor's target was only $120,000, he got more than $230, 000 from his fans through the crowdfunding platform Prizeo. By donating, supporters entered a competition to win a coffee in LA with the 22-years-old YouTube star.
3. PewDiePie - 10 MILLION BROS UNITE! - Charity: Water
Brighton based gamer Felix Kjellberg, better known as PewDiePie, is the owner of the most subscribed to YouTube channel worldwide, with more than 33 million subscribers and 7 billion views . In 2013, to celebrate 10 million subscribers he decided to run a campaign on behalf of Charity: Water. Not surprisingly, the campaign raised almost $450,000.
4. Lilly Singh - The Time I Dumped Ice On My Head (Day 9)
Through her videos and social calls to action, Canadian vlogger Lilly Singh -- in art IISuperwomanII -- participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and used her large following to raise a lot of money for the cause.
5. Zoella - Dealing with Panic Attacks & Anxiety
YouTube star and teen icon Zoe Sugg -- Zoella -- has partnered with Mind, the British organization aiming to help people with mental health problems. As new Digital Ambassador, the popular makeup vlogger has supported the organization through her channel with the launch of the initiative #DontPanicButton, to raise vital awareness of anxiety and panic attacks in young people.
6. School of YouTube - Welcome to the School of YouTube: #LaughLearnGive
This cast of YouTube celebrities -- including Ashens, Diamond Minecart, Ali-A, Fleur de Force, VSauce2, Charlieissocoollike, Casper Lee,Tom Scott, Threadbanger and Britpopprincess -- worked together with School of YouTube to raise funds for Comic Relief to help disadvantaged children get better access to education.
7.The Vlogbrothers John and Hank Green - Jelly Face, Sharpie Face, Peanut Butter Face and Mummy Dancers: The 2014 Project for Awesome
John and Hank Green -- aka the Vlogbrothers -- raised over $1.2 million last December. With more than 2 million subscribers, the Green brothers are not new at Project for Awesome, an annual YouTube charity initiative involving online video creators from all over the world to collect funds for various non-profit organizations. In the previous year, they helped raise $800,000.
8. The YouTube BoyBand - Sports Relief
YouTube stars Marcus Butler, Joe Sugg, Jim Chapman, Alfie Deyes and Caspar Lee have partnered with Sport Relief to encouraged fans to make donations online or via text message after watching the cover version of McFly's "It's All About You." As young teen idols followed by an average of 3 million subscribers each, it's easy to guess why the charity event choose them as testimonials.
9. JacksGap - The Rickshaw Run
Jack and Finn Harries -- aka JacksGap -- are often involved in charity initiatives. They use their huge influence on their (almost) 4 million subscribers to raise awareness and encourage donations for populations affected by ebola, to support HIV care and prevention and to promote education to poverty stricken children. One of their most successful projects was the "The Rickshaw Run." Through a series of shoots during a trip to India, the Finn twins raised $177,496 for a teenage cancer trust with the help of a Prizeo campaign.
10. Sawyer Hartman - Challenges For Charity
Through his hilarious Challenges for Charity videos, Hartman is helping to raise awareness and money for various charities. The project had huge success in 2014 and will be back this year with new exciting videos. For fast growing web stars like Sawyer, backing charity initiatives is a smart way to get a great reputation and new subscribers.