If you’re a nonprofit with 501(c)(3) status, then you should have a Google Grants Account. If you don’t, you are missing out on $10,000.00 IN MONTHLY FREE AD SPEND! You know Google, the search engine that processes 5.5 billion searches per day?! You can easily bet there are searches happening that are related to your non-profit and it’d be a shame to not be appear for those searches FOR FREE.
If you’re not familiar with Paid Search, it’s paying to appear on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Say someone is searching for charities to give money to. Their first step is to do a little research:
Your organization would then appear in the Paid Listings for generous donors to find you!
Keep reading. We’ll take you through the steps to get there and start advancing your organization’s mission.
Google Grants Program Qualifications
In addition to being a 501(c)(3), you must fulfill these 2 eligibility requirements:
- Must be currently registered with TechSoup
- Formed for charitable, educational, religious, literary, scientific, or other tax-exempt purposes
- You must own your website- So no sites created through third parties like Blogger or social media pages such as Facebook.
How to Create a Google Grants Account
If you meet the eligibility requirements here are the steps to secure your Google Grants account:
- Create your account here and review these steps to see what to expect for next. Be sure to NOT enter your billing information when creating the account, otherwise you end up paying for your ad spend.
- You will see the option to create an AdWords Express campaign. I only recommend this option if you have absolutely no time or resources to manually set up an Ad Grants account. It is exponentially more beneficial for you create your own campaign because you will have full control over what searches your ads appear against.
Google Grants Program Parameters
Once you have your account, it’s important to understand the limitations of the program and what you need to do to keep your Grants status:
- Your ads will only appear on Google.com
- Your ads can only be text and you can only target keywords (AKA no Display ads)
- There is a $2 max bid, so don’t enter CPCs higher than that amount
- You are allotted a daily budget of $329. Don’t miss out on free money, make sure your daily budget totals are not set to anything less
- If you’re an organization with multiple websites, only the domain that was reviewed/approved by Google can be advertised. However, if that is problematic for you, there are certain exceptions you can request, more information on that here.
- Ad Grants accounts must appear as though they are being managed, so an account must be logged into at least monthly and have one or more changes implemented every 90 days. If you don’t display active management, Google will turn off your account and you’ll have to request to be reinstated.
Congratulations, you’ve made it this far! Now it’s time for the real work, constructing your nonprofit’s Paid Search campaign.
Tips for Setting Up Your Grants Campaign
When it comes to preparing to launch your campaign, here are a few do’s and don’ts
Do robust keyword research.
- Utilized the AdWords Keyword Planner ->Find New Keywords tool to expand the keywords you think you want to target.
- Once you’ve generated a keyword list that encompasses all facets of your organization, use the Keyword Planner -> Plan Your Budget tool to generate keyword estimates. Keywords with high CPCs should be set aside.
- Since the Grants program doesn’t allow a bid over $2, you won’t be able to achieve visibility on high CPC keywords. If you feel those terms are crucial, go ahead and test, but remember to pause those that the system isn’t serving due to low bid to preserve Quality Score (you should have this notification by 48 hrs. post-launch).
Do make sure you’re spending your FULL $10K in FREE ad spend.
- If you are not hitting your full monthly capacity it’s time to revisit your keyword list
- Make sure your keywords are targeting more than just 1 aspect of your organization. Examples of keyword categories to consider adding:
- Promotion of special events
- Searches your cause may enter (low income childcare, activities for adults with autism)
Don’t geotarget locations you can’t service
- If your organization only helps the state of Missouri, National targeting is an incorrect geo-setting.
- Not only is it a disservice to your audience, it’s a waste of your ad spend that could be better spent furthering your mission.
- Also, don’t target too deeply as IP address can differ between users due to their Internet Service Provider. So rather than targeting zip codes, you have a safer bet targeting cities. If you service a city, consider targeting surrounding cities as well or the DMA.
Don’t serve the same ad copy across all ad groups.
- The predecessor to this tip is: don’t put all your keywords in the same ad group as well. We group keywords by theme so segmented messaging can be served. Think about it this way- the ad you want to appear when someone is searching a donation query (“donate wildlife preserve MO”) is going to differ wildly from searches directed at your nonprofits program (“kids summer nature program”).
- Also, test more than 1 variation of ad copy. Best practices are to rotate 3-4 ads per ad group. AdWords’ ad rotation default setting will serve better performing ads more often.
Don’t drive all traffic to the homepage.
- To position yourself up for the best response from your visitors and the highest Quality Score possible from AdWords, make sure the landing page assigned to your keyword is pulled from the most relevant option on your site. If that page doesn’t exist, make a note of it because that’s the next page you need to create.
- A good rule of thumb to follow is, all your keywords should drive to the same landing page of the ad group they reside in.
- Building out your website pages for specific keywords will not only benefit your Paid Search efforts, but your SEO as well. Search engines like seeing new, content-rich pages added to your site.
There you have it! Now you’re on your way to generate awareness, participation, and most importantly, donations to help your cause. Don’t be intimidated by the unfamiliar interface. If you run into something you don’t understand, Google has free help resources that can help you get back on track.