There are 3 billion searches a day on Google. Yes, we said billion.

One of the biggest missed opportunities for nonprofits is Google for Nonprofits, which includes a free membership and access to a variety of products including Google Grants, which is a $10,000 monthly grant to advertise on Google Grants has the potential of driving 10,000 to 40,000 new website visitors to your website each month. Nonprofits like Kiva, BeatBullying, Unicef, and charity: water all use Google Grants to fund their Google AdWords campaigns and drive more traffic through organic search.

You can use Google Grants to:

  • Reach donors, volunteers, and consumers when they’re searching on Google
  • Raise awareness by choosing relevant keywords and creating unique ads to highlight your work
  • Track online donations, newsletter sign-ups, and volunteer registrations
  • Promote your organization’s website on Google with in-kind AdWords advertising

There are a few limitations to Google Grants including a $2.00 max cost per click (as of January 28th, 2013), and your ads will be shown below paying AdWords advertisers. Many Google Grant members actually under-spend their budget, with an average recipient spending approximately $330 a month (out of $10,000!!). To help you spend your Google Grants budget effectively, here are 10 tips adapted from a webinar we did with earlier this year, that can keep you efficient.

Tip #1: Create a campaign for every organizational goal or project.

Your ad groups should have 15-30 similar keywords that align to a specific page on the website. The more focused the ad group, the better the ad targeting. To get the right traffic to your website, here are a few do’s and don’ts when developing your keyword lists for your campaign(s):

  • Do: Create a robust keyword list. You never know what users will respond to.
  • Don’t: Start with a small keyword list and wait to expand.

  • Do: Leverage all variations of brand, product, and service terms as keywords.
  • Don’t: Assume target users are familiar with your brand.

  • Do: Include problem- and solution-oriented keywords.
  • Don’t: Assume all target users have the same search tendencies.

Tip #2: Use keyword research tools to expand your list of core words.

Your keywords should be very specific to the content on the website page or landing page to which you're sending your visitors. Using a keyword research tool will allow you to pin-point the keywords that will give you the best results and higher ranking in Google. Get a good mix of short- and long-tail keywords to help capitalize on both traffic that's difficult to rank for, as well as highly qualified traffic that will help your conversions.

Tip #3: Use all three match type options when creating your keyword list.

Use broad match, phrase match, and exact match to find keywords with higher search volume. Different match types for your keywords will trigger your ad for a potential visitor’s search in different ways. It’s a good idea to use these three match types so you can attractive a variety of audiences.

Tip #4: Write effective and succinct copy.

Do not assume all of your target audience will respond to the same creative language. Ads with high-level language should be tested alongside ads with language geared toward more savvy users. Test 3-4 variations targeted to different types of audiences and see which performs the best. 

Tip #5: Drop users on the most relevant page within your website.

Before you create your ads, consider all the assets your organization has; blog articles, landing pages, annual reports. Provide the information your visitor is looking for when they click your ad by dropping them on the most relevant page. This will increase the conversion rate on your landing pages and reduce your bounce rate (the rate at which visitors leave your site without clicking into another page on your website) from your AdWords campaigns.

Tip #6: Keep subscription and contact forms as short as possible.

For a newsletter or blog subscription form, asking for just an email address is enough. For Contact Us forms, you should ask for the person's full name, email, phone number, and possibly where they live, if necessary. But before you add more fields to your forms, ask yourself, “Do I need this information at this point in the relationship?” Don’t require fields unless it’s for a good reason, as it can impact your submission rate in a negative way. 

Tip #7: Direct traffic to a targeted landing page instead of your homepage.

Make sure the page you’re sending visitors to is relevant to the ad itself. Nonprofit Futures Without Violence’s homepage conversion rate was 0% -- but their ad that led to a targeted landing page? That page came in at 12.59%, getting them 1,000 new email addresses.

Tip #8: Use statistics to introduce the problem.

Since targeted landing pages have a higher conversion rate for email acquisition, you should focus on optimizing them for your ad campaigns. Statistics make an big impact and are digestible pieces of content that will help visitors understand a bit more about your cause and what you're trying to accomplish. They are also attention grabbers and draw your new visitors in to learn more. 

Tip #9: Share information that potential supporters want.

The goal of your AdWords campaigns is to bring in new traffic, so providing basic information about your cause and organization is a great way to educate your new audience. Also, make sure that the information provided on the landing page is relevant to the headline in your ad. If you're offering a fact sheet about your organization, make sure the landing page you send the visitor to is where to find the fact sheet.

Tip #10: Keep forms as short as possible.

When you’re providing educational information in the form of a download, requiring more than an email address can impact your conversion rate drastically when working with PPC ads. But, if you are planning to nurture individuals that download your content via email, make sure you collect their first and last name and email address. Four form fields is a good maximum for your landing page forms for new visitors coming from PPC.

Google Grants is only available to Google for Nonprofit members. Signing up as a Google for Nonprofits member is free, with some restrictions that you can review online before applying. There are other products to take advantage of, including Google’s new mobile application One Today. You can also see all the organizations using Google Grants in the Google for Nonprofits community.

How has your organization used Google Grants?

free Google AdWords template

Originally published Sep 16, 2013 4:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017


Nonprofit Fundraising