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Turning the PSA on Its Head With YouTube

By Mike McCamon

Chief Community Officer At Water.Org

Today’s guest post is from about an exciting campaign they’re working on to raise awareness about the water crisis. For more information on the YouTube Nonprofit Program visit

While is known for our innovative approach to solving the world water crisis, we're less well known as YouTube stars. But every week we use YouTube to share the stories of the people we meet who don't have safe water to drink and to educate people about the water crisis.

With Matt Damon as our co-founder, can’t claim a lack of star power, but our experiences on YouTube have taught us that having a Hollywood celebrity in frame is not always a guarantee for viral online success.

Over the past few years we've included Matt in a variety of our videos, visiting our project sites, doing interviews, and in other cases "dressed up" for a specific role (like in Damon Claus for a Cause). From looking at our views, it is clear that "one-on-one" interviews with Matt and humorous videos are more popular than what people call traditional "public service announcement" (PSA) videos. It's not all that surprising since both humor and connectedness are key to the YouTube experience.

However, as interesting as this might be, our most successful YouTube moments happened when we invited established YouTube stars to visit our project sites and report back to their own audiences what they experienced. Cummulatively, these videos have nearly 3 million views - more than the lifetime views on our entire channel. Check them out:

So when we sat down and were brainstorming about new ways we could bring the water crisis to new audiences it made sense to integrate what we've learned and try something completely new: Matt Damon + YouTube Creators + humor + information = turning video views into awareness and action. 

Today we are launching an online campaign of videos that feature Matt Damon and a collection of YouTube stars like Wheezywaiter, Lisbug, Shaycarl, and LivePrudeGirls. Check out these videos and watch out for more in the coming weeks.

Finally, support the campaign by signing up here and we'll keep you up to date. Collectively, we will be raising awareness for the water crisis that, in the end, will make the lives better for the millions of people who struggle each day to find a safe drink of water.