Ever since YouTube first launched, people and organizations have been using it to broadcast their causes and engage supporters around the issues they care about. In that spirit, today YouTube unveiled its Non-Profit Program at the Clinton Global Initiative to help non-profit organizations more easily connect with the world's largest online video community. In the past few years, online video has emerged as a key tool for grassroots organizing on the Internet -- a short, simple video can demonstrate the impact and the needs of an organization in a uniquely compelling fashion. This program will enable non-profits to create dedicated YouTube channels for themselves, making it even easier for people to find, watch, and engage with the organization's video content. The initial participants are 13 organizations including the American Cancer Society, Friends of the Earth, and YouthNoise.

One other thing the YouTube Non-Profit Program offers: the ability to collect donations directly from these channels using the new Google Checkout for Non-Profits. Checkout for Non-Profits -- which can also be integrated directly into a non-profit's site -- helps drive more donations for U.S.-based 501(c)(3) groups by making it possible for supporters to contribute quickly and securely. It also offers supporters the satisfaction of knowing that 100 percent of their contributions will be sent to the non-profit, as Google has committed to processing donations through Checkout for free through at least the end of 2008. This functionality is particularly exciting, as today's fund-raising is increasingly moving online -- and Checkout for Non-Profits makes the entire process even easier. You can learn more here.