I usually write about Google Analytics, but today I want to share with you a different way that Google can help you kick start your online fundraising – for free!

Google’s search advertisement program, Google AdWords, has a grant program for nonprofits. If you qualify, you can receive $10,000 credit each month to spend on ads for your organization on Google’s search results pages.

(Most US-based 501(c)3 status organizations qualify, with the exception of hospitals, health care organizations & schools. See Google’s eligibility requirements.)

If you’re not familiar with AdWords, here are some things to know.

Where do these ads appear?

Here is a screenshot of a search results page. The listings on the top and right (with red boxes drawn around them in this image) are ads, while the listings in the center are based on Google’s algorithm and cannot be purchased with ads.

Google Search Results

How does Google decide which ads to show?

In AdWords, you set up a list of keywords. These are basically the search terms that you want to trigger your ad. So, if you bid on the keyword “adopt a pet,” then you may appear on that search results page when someone searches for that term.

Google decides which ads to show by calculating bid price and a quality score that takes into account your ads relevancy and ability to attract visitors.

Your account is debited only when someone clicks on your ad.

How much does a click cost?

Some keywords are very competitive, but others are very inexpensive. The Google Grants program allows for a maximum bid of $1. That means an AdWords account with Google Grants could generate 10,000 new visitors each month! If your target keywords are less expensive, then you could get even more new visitors.

My organization only serves a particular area. Can AdWords focus on just my area?

Yes, you can set up your campaign to only target a geographic area, and/or you can create keywords that involve your city, county, state, or any identifier of areas you serve. Notice the search example above shows mostly ads from Austin (the city I was in when searching), even though I did not type that as a search term.

How do I get started?

First, join the Google for nonprofits program.

Once you get set up in the grant program and have opened your account, Google has many resources to help get your advertising going. Here are some great articles on choosing good keywords, targeting the right audience, writing ads, and other tips for the Google Grants program.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alissa Ruehl has been using Google Analytics since the first weeks it came out as a Google product. Through consulting, webinars, and conferences, she has helped hundreds of people at a variety of organizations and companies navigate Google Analytics and use it to refine their online marketing and website effectiveness. She currently uses her analysis skills as a senior user researcher on the Blackbaud products side, but she loves re-immersing herself the world of website analytics for her monthly Google Analytics blog posts. The only thing Alissa likes talking about more than data is food, but that’s a whole other blog.

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