31 October 2019 18:33
YouTubers have raised more than $10 million as part of a fundraiser to plant trees across the globe, meeting more than half of the goal organizers laid out last week. The initiative, called Team Trees, had YouTubers flooding the platform with videos asking their viewers to donate money, with the goal of raising $20 million by the end of the year to plant 20 million trees through the Arbor Day Foundation. The halfway point came quickly, thanks to some large donations from tech executives. Tesla CEO Elon Musk donated $1 million on Tuesday; Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke donated $1,000,001 on Wednesday; YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki donated $200,000 on Wednesday; and Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey appeared to make two separate donations, of $150,000 and later of $200,000. Team Trees videos has brought in tens of millions of views (Twitter and Square declined to confirm that Dorsey made the donations, which appear on the Team Trees site beside his name; Musk, Lütke, and Wojcicki confirmed their donations on Twitter.
Wojcicki even shot a video in which she plants a tree.) Major YouTubers also made some of the top donations. Jimmy "MrBeast" Donaldson, who was the driving force for organizing Team Trees, made two separate donations adding up to $200,002. Mark Rober, another organizer, donated $50,000; Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg donated $69,420; and Jessica and Tyler Blevins, aka Ninja, donated $15,000. The initiative had a number of goals for YouTubers. For one, it was supposed to be a belated celebration of Donaldson passing 20 million subscribers. There was also the obvious goal of planting trees to improve the environment and contribute to combatting climate change (although planting trees is more complicated of a charity route than it sounds). And YouTubers saw it as an opportunity to prove that they could be a force for good, too, following a couple of years of chaotic drama around high-profile creators like Kjellberg and Logan Paul. A screen recording showing Musk's donation has more than 48,000 views Not to mention, the fundraiser made for good content. More than 500 videos have been posted to YouTube about the project, with tens of millions of views between them. More than a dozen videos have more than 1 million views each. (Donaldson alone hit 28 million.) Most videos appeared to do roughly as well as a typical video for the given channel, though in at least one case, a Team Trees video hugely outperformed the creator's typical viewership: a video by The Infographics Show, which usually gets view counts in the mid-hundreds of thousands, hit 7.2 million views with a video about the impact of planting 20 million trees. The fundraiser has also created opportunities for follow-up videos tracking its progress. A two-minute video about Musk's donation, which primarily shows a screen recording of the donation tracker for Team Trees rolling from around $6.5 million to $7.5 million, has gotten 48,000 views. Team Trees kicked off on October 25th, when, at 3PM ET, YouTubers began posting videos calling for donations. As of Thursday morning, the fundraiser had crossed $10.7 million.