If you are a registered 501(3)c nonprofit in the United States, you can take advantage of free advertising and operational dollars from big names like Google and Microsoft! But don’t let those big names overwhelm you; small and medium sized nonprofits can benefit from their powerful tools. Here are some tips to make the most out of nonprofit grants:
According to Google, “each qualifying nonprofit has access to up to $10,000 per month in search ads shown on Google.com.” Once you complete the lengthy sign up process and double verification process, Google will email you access to a new Google Ads Account, where you can run text ads across Google’s search platform. Depending on your familiarity with Google Ads, the back end of the site might seem overwhelming, so we wanted to provide a few tips when setting up your “campaign.”
- Pick a Goal for Each Campaign
- Website sales = donations
- Sign-ups = recruit volunteers or beneficiaries
- Visits = visits to your physical location
- Be Hyperlocal
- Make sure you are only targeting a small radius around your location
- Do Keyword Research
- Just because you use certain terms to describe your charity work, doesn’t mean that the general public uses those words
- Use Google Ads Keyword Planner to determine how many people are searching for your keywords, in your location
- Set Up Brand and Non Brand Campaigns
- One campaign should include your brand keywords. These are keywords or acronyms related to your organization name (Ex. Alzheimer’s Family Support Center, ALZ Family Support, AFSC, etc.)
- Your non-brand keywords should live separate from your brand campaign. These keywords are relevant to your organization’s cause or mission. (Ex. Alzheimer’s donation, donate to Alzheimer’s research, Alzheimer’s resources, etc.)
- Track Conversions
- Negative Keywords
- Make sure to check your ads regularly and if you see search queries popping up that don’t have to do with your services, turn them off and put them on the negative keyword list so you don’t waste your budget
- Stay Compliant with the Policies
- Be sure to read the ad grants policies and monitor these requirements on a monthly if not bi-monthly schedule so that you stay compliant
Bonus, there is more available than just Google Search Ads!
YouTube Nonprofit Program
- Link anywhere cards let you link supporters to any external URL
- YouTube Giving features can help with fundraising and rallying supporters
- Creator Academy offers lessons tailored to nonprofits
Google Workspaces for Nonprofits
All Google Workspace plans provide a custom email for your nonprofit and include collaboration tools like Gmail, Calendar, Meet, Chat, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Sites, and more.
Google Earth and Maps
Google Earth’s mapping tools offer a wide array of dynamic features, such as the ability to take supporters on location via virtual tour. Plus, create rich visualizations and feature engaging data on a map with premium access to Google Maps Platform.
According to Microsoft, nonprofits can receive Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscriptions for free (up to 10 users) with access to the desktop version of Office, Teams, Exchange, OneDrive, and SharePoint as well as Windows 11 software (for up to 50 users). They also offer more powerful tools like Azure, Power BI, and Dynamics, which are not necessary for small nonprofits. However, a lesser known fact is that they do offer “$3,000/monthly on its owned and operated digital advertising including Bing, Yahoo, AOL, outlook.com, MSN, and Microsoft Edge.” That means you can run search ads on most of Google’s competitor search platforms and get full coverage in the search ad text space.
Here are our tops tips for Bing & Yahoo Search Ads:
- Turn Off “Audience Network” & “Target Partner Sites”
- The grant, which works like a coupon, doesn’t apply to sites not owned by Microsoft
- Target A Wealthier Crowd
- According to Microsoft, they have almost half (41%) of the top quarter of wealthiest U.S. households and 129M unique users that don’t use Google
- Import From Google Ads
- Microsoft knows everyone has a Google Ads Account and makes it easy to import your keywords and ads from Google so you don’t have to do duplicate work
- Note *your Bing search terms may differ from Google Ads search terms* so double check the Bing keyword planner
- Quality Score Differences
- While quality score (QS) can impact the rank of your ad on Google, it acts more as guidance for Mircosoft
The Key to Search Ads = Landing Pages
Regardless of which grant(s) your organization receives, you need to pay attention to where the ad takes the person who clicked on the ad. These landing pages are a key metric for search algorithms as they need to be relevant to the keywords and context of the ad.
For example, if you are running a search ad with the goal of getting more online donations, you need to direct the person who clicked on the ad to a landing page where they can easily donate. A landing page that talks about your organization’s board of directors or an in-person event is not appropriate for this type of ad.
If your nonprofit doesn’t have an easy way to creating landing pages for donations or annual campaigns, then UncommonGood can help! Our templated fundraising pages make for great landing pages and our donation widget makes for an easy & secure way for donors to give.