Case Study: Nonprofits Hitting Home Runs With the Google Ad Grant
The Google Ad Grant sounds almost too good to be true. A question I often hear is, "So, Google is going to give me credit for up to $10,000/month to spend on ads in Google search… and there's no end date? It just keeps going, month after month?"
In a word, yes.
This leads to a second question, namely, "What does this $10,000/month of ad budget actually get me?" Quite a lot, it turns out. Of course, the results vary based on a hundred factors. Key levers include the size of the geographic area it makes sense to target and whether new website visitors for the nonprofit will strengthen its impact. But for organizations that are well-equipped and well-suited to leverage the Google Grant, the results can be compelling.
The following examples are drawn from the stories and case studies of our own clients at Nonprofit Megaphone, but I have heard similar stories from organizations around the world.
Fueling Email Subscriptions
The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) is a bedrock institution in the higher education community, supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). UNCF provides over $100 million in scholarships per year,. It uses the Google Ad Grant to engage with over 5,000 new people per month and drive many of them to become email subscribers, deepening the relationship.
Hillel International, which serves hundreds of thousands of Jewish university and college students around the world, also uses the Google Grant to drive participation in its innovative Ecard program, leading to 100+ new email subscribers per month.
Capitalizing on Current Events
With the passing of former President George H. W. Bush, a portion of the spotlight has been fixed on his loyal service dog, Sully. It just so happens that America's VetDogs, a nonprofit that provides service animals to veterans and first responders, was the organization who trained Sully. Springing into action, America's VetDogs created a landing page on their website full of information about Sully and the work being done to support veterans. Dozens of speaking requests, requests to volunteer and applications for service dogs poured in as a result.
Hailing from the West Coast, trailblazing organization Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) has used the Grant to reach thousands of new people each month with a counter-cultural narrative, focusing on the plight of ordinary people instead of macro geopolitics. These visitors are engaging deeply with the content and stories LiNK provides, as demonstrated by Google ads driving thousands of dollars of new donations. Full disclosure: donations are very difficult to generate using the Google Ad Grant alone! But with such a compelling website and highly targeted campaigns, LiNK made even this herculean feat look easy.
Every nonprofit using the Google Grant, to a greater or lesser degree, engages new people with the organization's message. For organizations like the Glaucoma Research Foundation, which offers a wealth of fascinating content, over 600 people are spending an astonishing (for the Internet) 5+ minutes on their website each month after finding it through an ad. All of that engagement can only lead to more understanding, more empathy and more support.
Although it is hard to choose a favorite, the impact the Google Grant has made for the COPD Foundation is probably the story I am most proud of. COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, often goes undetected. The foundation put together a free online screening tool to help individuals determine if they were at risk for COPD. As a direct result of advertising through the Google Grant, over 300 people use this risk screener each month. In particularly serious cases, COPD can lead to potentially fatal complications. It is a rare moment indeed to see ads that are literally helping save and enrich lives.
The stories above are only the barest beginnings of the stories of impact over 40,000 nonprofits are making through the Google Ad Grant, but I hope they provide a sense of what is possible. Do you have a story of how you have used the Google Grant to make a difference? I would love to hear it!
Grant Hensel is the founder of Nonprofit Megaphone, an agency focused exclusively on acquiring and managing the Google Ad Grant for nonprofits. His team takes pride in their 100 percent success rate helping nonprofits receive the grant and in helping dozens of organizations use the funds to make a difference.