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What we should use… except we can’t

May 20, 2010

I read this article, “Top Three Platforms Your Nonprofit Should Use,” because it’s a great subject line (who can resist a list?) and because I’m always looking for good ideas and/or validation that we have our communications tools all figured out.

The article had some good ideas. It also hit a nerve. One of the platforms, the YouTube nonprofit channel, is a wonderful resource and service to the nonprofit community–among other things, it lets you add clickable donate buttons to your video, and it lets you brand yourself better on YouTube to stand out from the crowd.  And right there under Program Requirements, it specifically excludes groups like FCNL from using it. “Organizations applying for the Nonprofit program…may not be religious or political in nature [and] may not be focused primarily on lobbying for political or policy change.”

I’m not singling out YouTube– most nonprofit programs like Google Grants (which gives nonprofits thousands of dollars in free advertising) and Microsoft’s software program exclude groups that have a political bent. I’m sure there are many legal reasons for these restrictions. At the same time, it seems counter-intuitive to me that all of these companies are so eager to help groups that clean up streams, feed people who can’t afford groceries, and house refugees from wars, but they draw the line at helping groups who are trying to change the system so there are fewer stream that need cleaning, more people who earn enough to buy food for their families, and fewer wars for people to flee from.

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