The Google Ad Grant should be a vital part of most nonprofits’ online marketing strategy, but a shocking number of organizations don’t know what it is or how to obtain it. Here’s how to not be one of them.
The Google Ad Grant is a monthly supply of free ad credits of up to $10,000 in value, which qualified nonprofits can use to place targeted ads in Google search results. These ads attract interested readers to your site. Cleverly constructed ads will help you find supporters who might never have found your organization otherwise, guiding them to the parts of your website that enable you to meet your goals.
What part of your fundraising strategy wouldn’t benefit from being placed in front of an audience that wants to see it? This is the real power of using Google Ads: They make a difference in the way you make a difference.
What the Google Ad Grant can do for you
To illustrate what an effective use of the Google Ad Grant could look like for you, let’s talk about The Grey Muzzle Organization. As a nonprofit that works to support shelters, rescues, and sanctuaries to improve the lives of aging dogs nationwide, having the online reach to find supporters is crucial.
Using the Google Ad Grant and partnering with Nonprofit Megaphone, Grey Muzzle has seen an increase of over 2000+ clicks coming to their website per month, with around 20+ people signing up for their contact forms or email list per month. When skillfully applied, the Google Ad Grant can increase your audience by leaps and bounds by finding potential new supporters who are passionate about your cause.
Who is eligible?
Most nonprofits in the United States who have their 501(c)(3) designation are eligible for the Google Ad Grant. Exceptions to this are schools, government organizations, and hospitals—although charitable foundations attached to these organizations may still receive it. Along with that designation, there are a few other things you’ll need to have in place first.
You must have a high-quality website 🕸
Your website should be well designed, uncluttered, easy to navigate, and mobile friendly.
Your website must be secure 🔒
For Google, this means that your site must have an SSL Certificate installed (many modern website builders have this by default), and you must own the web domain you are using. An easy way to check on the status of your SSL Certificate is to look at your web page. Does the address begin with “https” instead of “http”? If so, then you should have everything you need.
You must be a member of TechSoup 🥣
There are tons of benefits to having a TechSoup membership, but TechSoup is also how Google verifies that you are a credible organization and will require you to have a membership there. Fortunately, there’s no cost for a TechSoup membership for you.
Once you have all of these things in place, you can begin the application process and take the first step on your journey to obtaining the Google Ad Grant!
But, what happens after that? Gaining access to up to $10,000 in monthly ad credits won’t matter if you don’t know how to use it! That’s where the art of effective ad creation comes in. This is something that no organization masters overnight, but with a few tips, you can get started on the right foot and save time on your path to success.
Building the best Google Ads
The strategy for creating effective Google Ads is no different from finding your organization’s voice on social media or learning how to advertise through email marketing. You have to learn how to communicate in a way that helps you meet your goals while understanding the platform you are using. These are some of the basics.
Embrace the art of gradual improvement ⛰
The process of creating effective Google Ads for your nonprofit is going to take time. Most ads go through several stages of development—see what works, take note of what doesn’t work, and make improvements to reach new audiences. Google Analytics tracks your ads’ performance, and you can use this data to fine-tune your ads for better results.
Focus on the most meaningful conversions 🤝
A conversion represents the moment a visitor changes from a passive reader to an active participant. Determining what conversions matter the most will depend on your organization’s goals. First, decide what interactions you want your visitors to have on your website (donating, volunteering, or anything else), and then use Google Ads to guide them toward that goal.
Understand your audience 🎯
Google Ads place your site in front of any audience you wish, but you have to know who they are. Is there a particular demographic that is more likely to volunteer? Do your organization’s fundraising records suggest people with unique interests are more likely to donate? Take some time, use the tools available to you, and figure out who you are trying to reach. Then, target your message toward them.
Optimize your website 💫
Google Ads can direct new visitors to your website, but how effective they are can sometimes depend on the quality of the site itself. Make sure that your site has ten or more “promotable pages.” These are pages that feature at least 300 words on a single topic your organization excels in, receive good web traffic, and have a “call to action,” a clear next step for readers to get involved.
Think about it this way: Google Ads are like a megaphone. If your voice and your message are solid, your result should be too. If you know who you are communicating to, what action you want to inspire in them, and are willing to take the time to hone it, you will find success with the Google Ad Grant.
With these tips and a bit of practice, you will start to see clicks and conversions come rolling in. What we have covered is only the beginning of how to explore and use the Google Ad Grant; there is far more to learn and practice. Few other programs can provide as meaningful a result as this one can. Take time to find your organization’s voice, identify your goals, and let Google be your best promoter.
Givebutter made a $100 donation to Grant's charity of choice, The Grey Muzzle Organization, for his guest blog contribution.
Grant is the CEO of Nonprofit Megaphone, an agency 100% focused on helping organizations acquire and manage the $10,000/month Google Ad Grant, and proud to serve 400+ nonprofit clients.