Using Google Ad Grants to Promote Year-End Giving
Is your nonprofit organization taking advantage of Google Ad Grants? With this offer exclusively for nonprofits from Google, eligible organizations can receive $10,000 each month to use on ads for Google Search — meaning, this will help your organization appear on Google Search when someone searches for information related to your nonprofit.
Nonprofit Tech for Good gives a breakdown of eligibility requirements for nonprofits, which include:
- You must be an IRS-approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
- You cannot be a hospital, school or government agency.
- Your website must be hosted on your own domain and adhere to website policy.
- If you are applying for the Google Grant for the first time, your website must have an SSL certificate installed. If you see “not secure” next to your website’s URL, it means SSL is not installed or there is a configuration issue.
- You must agree to the Google for Nonprofits and Google Ads terms of service.
Once you’ve been approved for a Google Ad Grant, a few recommendations on how to best use those ads are to strategize on how your organization is going to use the ads and how those ads will integrate with other marketing strategies; additionally, make sure that your website is active and ready, and make sure it offers relevant information for your audience. While Google can direct someone to your website, if their question or what they’re looking for isn’t easily answered, then they will find that information somewhere else (another nonprofit).
“Digital is different because it's measurable… we call it a conversion. What does someone do when they reach your website? Do they take an action that you wanted them to take — not just perusing around necessarily — but do they stay on your website for at least a couple of minutes? Do they sign up for an e-newsletter? Do they share a post? Do they donate? Once you bring in that data to the system, you can refine and really, really improve your performance over time. We definitely have heard a lot of nonprofits say, 'Google Ad Grants tripled my website volume.' I want to make sure that nonprofits are getting more donations out of it, they are getting more engaged volunteers, they are getting more people help,” Michelle Hurtado, global head of Google Ad Grants, said in an exclusive interview with NonProfit PRO.
The Carter Center is a nonprofit that has been receiving Google Ad Grants for over a decade and utilizes the grant to raise awareness for the organization and all it does to alleviate human suffering and advance human rights for all.
“We utilize the traffic to receive donations and email signups. That’s how we measure success with the grant — the amount of new subscribers we get via email and also donations because for us to raise awareness for The Carter Center, we need to be able to communicate with new users,” Nandi Dunn, MPA, internet marketing manager at The Carter Center, said in an exclusive interview with NonProfit PRO. “We've been able to use this grant to pull in people who might not necessarily know about The Carter Center and get them to our website, get them into our email so that they're able to learn more about us and hopefully want to become a supporter eventually.”
While The Carter Center has reaped many benefits from receiving these grants, it hasn’t been without some challenges. The organization has partnered up with a marketing company to help it manage the grant because there are certain rules it needs to be in compliance with.
“The biggest challenge is making sure that we meet all the requirements that Google sets forward. And I know for some nonprofits that might not have the resources to have someone manage the grant for them, it can be daunting to make sure that you're in compliance. Because if you're not in compliance, then Google will shut you down, and you won't be able to do any of the marketing necessary,” Dunn said. But these requirements are set for a reason. It’s not anything that's difficult; it's just making sure that you are constantly staying on top of it."
Now that we’ve entered the busy year-end season, it’s an optimal time to put ads to work in order to raise awareness toward a nonprofit’s year-end fundraising campaign, which will hopefully bring in more donations. Many nonprofits begin promoting their year-end giving campaigns as early as August to inform their audience of what kind of support they are looking for in the coming months and also to make sure that supporters are ready to give on December 1.
During the year-end season, The Carter Center ramps up communications with its supporters, especially during the months of November and December. It has a multichannel approach to communicate with its supporters and heavily relies on Google, using specific keywords related to its programs.
“During the year-end time, we'll add in additional keywords that people may be searching for — “#GivingTuesday" and “Carter Center” — so we'll just update those keywords to make it more specific to our year-end campaign. But we definitely use a multichannel approach to make sure that we're communicating on all different avenues so that we're able to reach those who may be interested in our mission,” Dunn said.
According to Hurtado, words like “#GivingTuesday” or “giving day” spike in Google Trends every year. And words like “donation” and “how to donate” are at all-time highs right now.
“If any nonprofit can use Google ads to raise awareness for their organization, it can generally work to cultivate that relationship in an online manner, which is probably giving it a sense of what it offers, hopefully bringing supporters back in to sign up for its email list, and then cultivating from there,” Hurtado explained. “It is admittedly not as frequent the first time a potential donor sees an ad and the first time he or she clicks on the website that the nonprofit is going to get a donation, but people go back to the site. That's how they first get introduced to the cause.”
As a final piece of advice for fellow nonprofits, Dunn encourages them to diversify their way of communicating with donors.
“I think some people are used to either just doing direct mail, doing email communications or just doing social media, but I think as different generations have different interests, you have to meet your donors where they are.”