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Did you know that search ads (like Google Ads) have the highest ROI for nonprofits using paid advertising? According to Double the Donation, the average ROI for these types of ads is $4.78.

Especially considering that the Google Ad Grant program allows nonprofits to create search ads for free, this marketing method is an incredibly valuable opportunity for mission-oriented organizations to show off their work and gain new support. However, participants in the program must put in the time to develop a clear Google Ad Grants strategy in order to see results.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of five Google Ad Grants tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of the program. Here are the best practices we’ll cover:

  1. Make sure your website is up to par.
  2. Create outstanding content.
  3. Use data to back your decisions.
  4. Track conversions.
  5. Continue with your other marketing activities.

If you’re new to the Google Ad Grants program, we recommend doing some additional research to find out if your organization qualifies and then applying to the program. For current participants, follow along as we help improve your organization’s Google Ad Grant experience!

1.  Make Sure Your Website is up to Par

If you’ve been part of the Google Ad Grants program for a while, you’re likely very familiar with the program's website requirements. While the website policy is a good starting point for improving your website, there’s more you can do to make your website the best it can be.

It’s important to continuously update your website so that it drives value, provides an exceptional user experience, clearly communicates your nonprofit mission, and encourages interested users to join in. 

One area for improvement the program’s website policy doesn’t cover is accessibility. Simple actions like adding alt text to images and breaking up larger paragraphs can make your website much easier for visitors to navigate. Consider referencing Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) for more tips on how to make your website inclusive and accessible to all. 

Make sure your website also offers a clear path for users to experience all your organization has to offer. While the Google Ad Grants website policy mentions navigation, it doesn’t go into depth about what it entails. To offer the best user experience, include your most important resources in the top or bottom bar of your site, implement breadcrumb navigation so users can backtrack to previously visited pages, and add a menu to your homepage.

Lastly, make sure your website can adapt to different devices. Mobile-friendliness is not only important for user experience, but it’s also a part of Google’s ranking algorithm. To check if your website is performing well on mobile devices, use a tool like Lighthouse.

2. Create Outstanding Content

Let’s say you have a high-quality website that follows the Google Ad Grants website policy and goes beyond it to offer an extraordinary user experience. A visitor clicks through to your site and lands on an outdated, unhelpful piece of content. Do you think they’ll stick around?

Chances are, that user will bounce right from your site. Even if your website itself is new and improved, the content must match that level of quality. In order to ensure your content provides value to users, incorporate the following elements:

In your journey of converting readers into supporters, having high-quality content is key. That way, readers can learn more about your organization and make an informed decision about whether they’d like to get involved.

3. Use Data to Back your Decisions

These days, data should back most, if not all, of your nonprofit decisions, and Google Ad Grants are no different. When you use data, you give important initiatives a basis in quantifiable information rather than guesses. As a result, you can make more logical, evidence-based decisions on behalf of your nonprofit.

Look to Your CRM for Data

When it comes to the Google Ad Grant, look at your CRM to analyze supporter data. The messages you craft for your Google Ads should be geared toward your current supporter base. For example, if many of your supporters live in a certain area, tailor your ads to that location. You should also take supporters’ ages into account and create different campaigns with language oriented to specific age groups.

Use your CRM to help determine your campaign goals. If you have your supporters segmented by their involvement, you can identify opportunities to grow certain segments. For instance, you may notice that you have a significant donor base but are lacking in volunteers. Then, you could produce a Google Ad campaign aimed at volunteer recruitment to close the gap.

Find the Right-Fit Keywords

It’s also important to rely on data when you’re choosing your Google Ad Grant keywords. Getting Attention recommends doing extensive keyword research through platforms like Google Keyword Planner, Moz, and SEMRush so you can target keywords that your audience is actually searching for. For example, an animal shelter may compare the analytics of “rescuing animals” and “pet adoption” to see which performs better with users.

4. Track Conversions

Once your ad campaigns are up and running, Google provides program participants with its own data and insights you can use to analyze your results. Google Analytics allows you to keep track of the conversion goals you set at the beginning of your campaigns and determine how many conversions they’re actually producing.

For nonprofits, there’s a variety of potential conversions you may track, including:

Make sure to turn on conversion tracking for each of your campaign goals. Then, regularly check on your campaigns’ progress and adjust your ads as necessary.

5. Continue With Your Other Marketing Activities

While the Google Ad Grant is a great marketing tool, don’t forget about your other marketing strategies. A robust marketing strategy is the key to meeting your supporters where they are.

For example, if your nonprofit uses email newsletters and marketing automation technology to streamline supporter communication, you should keep those techniques in your marketing mix.

Integrating Google Ads With Your Marketing Campaigns

Instead of thinking about the Google Ad Grant as a replacement for your typical marketing activities, plan how you’ll use it alongside other strategies. Try incorporating the data you glean from your ad campaigns to inform your other marketing efforts. 

For example, let’s say you ran a campaign targeting the keyword “habitat conservation” and another targeting “saving the planet.” Your conversion tracking shows that “habitat conservation” resulted in 52 more conversions than “saving the planet.” Based on this data, you may consider creating new blog posts surrounding the keyword “habitat conservation,” mentioning the phrase on your social media channels, and developing new habitat conservation video content.

The Google Ad Grant can increase traffic to your website and convert searchers into supporters for your organization, but it’s important to maintain a variety of marketing tactics in order to reach your target audience in new and exciting ways.

Participating in the Google Ad Grant program is already such a valuable opportunity for nonprofits to expand their reach, but by maximizing the impact of your Google Ad Grant, you can gain even more visibility and support for your organization. Since your only investment in the program is your time and energy, consider setting aside a portion of your marketing budget to partner with a Google Ad Grants agency. That way, you can get the most out of your Google Ad Grant while diverting more of your team’s time to mission-driven initiatives.

Jessica helps nonprofits acquire and manage the Google Ad Grant to expand their impact. Prior to her work at Getting Attention, Jessica worked in nonprofit and higher education organizations focusing on communication and digital marketing, and most recently in search engine optimization in the mission-driven sector. Jessica holds a master’s degree in communication from Virginia Tech. In her free time, you can find her reading, building furniture, and hanging out with her cats, Benny and Olive.

Jessica King

As a nonprofit professional, you’ve likely got your hands full. Between managing donor relationships, keeping up with new technology, and of course, fundraising, there’s so much that needs to be done in service of your organization’s mission.

When strategizing your next fundraising campaign, it can be difficult to develop fresh, innovative ideas that will encourage contributions to your cause. That’s why we’ve come up with a list of four cost-effective fundraisers to save you time and help you succeed. 
In this article, we’ll cover these four fundraising methods:

These fundraising ideas will help you level up your current fundraising strategy and reach your fundraising goals. Let’s get started!

Online Product Fundraiser

The best types of fundraisers create value for both your organization and your supporters. That’s why online product fundraisers are so impactful. They’re easy to participate in and provide supporters with something in return for their donation.

To start an online product fundraiser, you'll first want to partner with a product fundraising company with an online fundraiser option. That way, they can set up your online store for you, and all you’ll have to worry about is how to promote it.

Once you’ve found a product fundraising company, it’s time to think about which types of products your supporters would actually purchase. For inspiration, here are some of the most popular products for these types of fundraisers:

When you move your product fundraisers online, the sharing potential is endless. Supporters can send the link to their friends and family and watch the impact multiply.

Matching Gifts Campaign

Promoting matching gifts is a great way to encourage donations from your supporters. When they see that their employer will match their contribution to your cause, they’ll be all the more incentivized to give back.

A matching gift campaign would entail asking your supporters to investigate their employers’ matching gift programs and encouraging them to have their donations matched if eligible. Some organizations even implement matching gift software that can help donors easily find if their employers participate in matching gifts.

Another way to support a matching gifts campaign is to add donor data to your database. For example, with employer data appends, you can more easily figure out which of your donors’ employers have matching gift programs and reach out to them directly, removing one of the steps you’d otherwise have to ask them to complete.

Not only is this fundraiser easy to execute, but it also has the potential to double or even triple the amount of donations your organization receives.

Google Ad Grants

Most people think of Google Ad Grants as more of a marketing tool, but if used correctly, it can drive donations and support your fundraising efforts. If you’re unfamiliar, the Google Ad Grant provides $10,000 in monthly ad credits to eligible nonprofits. Organizations can use this money to promote important landing pages on their website and encourage conversions.

To promote a fundraiser with Google Ad Grants, simply create or choose a target fundraising page on your website. You can even use your online product fundraising store’s landing page. Just be sure that this target landing page is well-designed and accessible to ensure all of your new visitors will want (and be able) to engage with it.

Next, set up ads using your Google Ad Grant that target your fundraising page. Include clear calls to action that illustrate how you’d like your supporters to contribute and how their gifts will drive an impact.
Lastly, you’ll track your success using Google Analytics. If any part of this process seems overwhelming to you, Getting Attention recommends partnering with a Google Grant agency that can help you unleash the fundraising power of the Google Ad Grant.

At no cost to your organization, you can use the Google Ad Grant as a tool to promote your fundraisers and spread your mission online.

Google Ad Grants

Seasonal Campaign

Encourage holiday season giving with a seasonal campaign. Many nonprofits participate in GivingTuesday, an opportunity to encourage generosity and contributions to worthy causes following Thanksgiving. It’s easy to join the movement since there’s no registration required, and you can continue your regular fundraising methods with some added GivingTuesday messaging.

While GivingTuesday is a great seasonal campaign option, you can also create your own initiatives that are specific to your organization. For example, animal shelters may lean into National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day as an opportunity to encourage pet adoptions and donations. These organization-specific campaigns can ramp up fundraising outside of the donation-heavy holiday season.

When you plan a seasonal campaign, make sure to include the name and branding of your campaign on all marketing materials and send donors thank you letters once the campaign is over.

It can be difficult to find fundraisers that are both cost-effective and easy to implement. With the help of these four fundraising ideas, you can increase your organization’s revenue and engage with your supporters in new and exciting ways.

Written By Debbie Salat | Director of Fundraising Activities | ABC Fundraising

Debbie Salat is the director of fundraising activities and product development at ABC Fundraising(r) - Debbie joined ABC Fundraising(r) in 2010 and is responsible for launching over 6500 fundraising campaigns for schools, churches, youth sports teams and non-profit organizations all across the USA. With over 20 years of fundraising experience, Debbie knows the path to success for fundraisers which she shares with groups on a daily basis so they can achieve their fundraising goals.

Did you know that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video but only 10% when they read it in text? 
While you should still keep up with your typical marketing methods, you can perhaps more effectively propel your mission forward using video on your website. Videos are an engaging way to connect with potential donors and volunteers and explain why they should lend their support.
To help you create high-quality video content for your nonprofit, we’ll cover the following topics:

By focusing on these areas, you’ll produce website videos that are informative and inspiring for potential supporters. That way, you can grow your supporter base, enabling you to promote your cause to a wider audience. Let’s get started!

Planning Your Nonprofit's Video

Before you dive into creating your video content, take the time to nail down the details. Start with the overarching goal for the video. Videos that are meant to encourage donations will look a lot different than those that are trying to increase volunteer registrations.

Next, make sure your video will be compatible with your website. For websites created using WordPress, it’s recommended to upload videos with 1080p resolution and use their web-optimized setting.

When creating video content for your website, you should not only consider your CMS’s specifications but also ensure your content can be cross-promoted on other platforms. Every platform has its own aspect ratio, posting regulations, and file size limitations that you’ll want to be aware of before content creation begins.

For example, Google Ad Grant participants have access to the YouTube Nonprofit Program, which offers special features geared toward nonprofits. Going over YouTube’s upload guidelines would be beneficial before making content for the platform.

Lastly, determine if you’d like to create one, all-encompassing video or different variations for each platform. Think about the audience and features of each platform to help you decide.

Combining all these considerations into a cohesive strategy will save you time and resources later on during the filming and editing processes.

Incorporating Nonprofit Storytelling

Compelling storytelling will help supporters feel connected to your mission. As Graham Pelton explains, building your case for support around a narrative that highlights your organization’s strengths is a powerful way to encourage contributions to your cause.

It’s helpful to introduce a character for your story that potential supporters can root for. In the case of an animal shelter, this character may be a dog that was returned to the shelter in a malnourished condition. 
Then, you can explain how your organization helped this character out. For example, an animal shelter would detail the ways its team nursed the dog back to health and ultimately found the pet a loving home.
The key to storytelling is to indicate how viewers could help continue supporting success stories like the one you’ve presented. Rounding out the animal shelter example, demonstrate how donors or volunteers enabled your organization to help this lonely pet. Then, you can tell viewers how they can get involved to make a similar impact.

While data and statistics certainly have their place, use them sparingly in your nonprofit videos. Storytelling is more likely to elicit emotion and thus draw viewers in, ultimately encouraging them to lend their support.

Focusing on Impact

After viewing your video, the top insight viewers should glean is how they can make a difference. When you focus on how donors and volunteers support your mission, you can highlight the significant impact your supporters have.

A great way to illustrate supporter impact is through testimonials. Ask your supporters about their experience with your organization so they can explain the mark they’ve made in their own terms. You can also ask your beneficiaries to share their stories and explain how your nonprofit has helped them.

For example, this video from the “Get Involved” page of the Ronald McDonald House website features real families to encourage volunteer signups.

In addition to gaining new supporters, impact-focused videos are also beneficial for retaining donors. Seeing the importance of their contributions illustrated in an engaging format can remind donors why they enjoy supporting your cause. 

To make sure your video is entirely focused on impact, cut out all unnecessary or repetitive information. That way, you can also make your video shorter and more likely for viewers to watch all the way through.

Ensuring Accessibility

Following accessibility best practices ensures that as many potential supporters as possible can experience your video content. Use the list of video accessibility tips below as a checklist when creating your video:

When everyone can experience your video content the way you intended, you can include all potential supporters and encourage them to contribute to your cause. Check out Kanopi’s roundup of top nonprofit websites for examples of how the best websites use accessibility to engage audiences effectively.

Inspire Action in Your Video

Circle back to the initial goal you established for your video. How can you inspire viewers to take action and push you toward your objective?

Clear calls to action make it easy for potential supporters to get involved. Don’t assume viewers understand what you want them to do just by watching your video. Make it explicit what their next actions should be and how they’ll add value to your organization as a result.

To accompany those calls to action, supply the necessary information viewers need to follow through. For example, if your goal is to encourage volunteer registrations using your nonprofit website, add a link to your volunteer signup form in the video description. Including a link to your testimonials page would be appropriate for videos that are focused on raising general awareness for your cause.

With new technology and resources evolving daily, it can be difficult to know which new processes to incorporate into your marketing strategy. Nonprofit videos have proven to be a powerful marketing tool that can help rally support and inspire action. Adding video to your mix of marketing methods with the tips we’ve outlined will help initiate new donor and volunteer relationships and consistently build your support base.

As Founder and CEO of Kanopi Studios, Anne helps create clarity around project needs, and turns client conversations into actionable outcomes. She enjoys helping clients identify their problems, and then empowering the Kanopi team to execute great solutions.

Anne is an advocate for open source and co-organizes the Bay Area Drupal Camp. When she’s not contributing to the community or running her thoughtful web agency, she enjoys yoga, meditation, treehouses, dharma, cycling, paddle boarding, kayaking, and hanging with her nephew.