Using the Google Ad Grant to Boost Your Fundraising Efforts

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Fundraising is a critical piece of the nonprofit sector. Regardless of your position in an organization, it is vital to look for new opportunities to increase revenue and build your donor base. 

There are proven strategies to do this that have been used for decades, such as engaging with your local community and targeting potential donors. However, the increasing digitization of society presents numerous new challenges and opportunities to boost fundraising.

While many organizations are well-acquainted with grants, we find that many are not taking advantage of the affordability and accessibility of the Google Ad Grant. Unlike traditional grants, the Google Ad Grant is an in-kind contribution to your organization, giving you up to $10,000 every month that can be spent on Google Ads. As the most popular search engine in North America, this is valuable advertising space and can be used to present your organization to a brand new audience

One of the best aspects of the Google Ad Grant is its versatility. Depending on your organization’s priorities, resources, and goals, you can tailor your use of the Grant accordingly. This article will discuss how you can use the Grant to boost your fundraising. We recommend that you:

  1. Drive Traffic Directly to a Donation Page
  2. Build Out Your Email List
  3. Track Metrics For Key Insights
  4. Get Expert Help if You Need It

These tips will help you strategize about how your organization can benefit from the Google Ad Grant and meet your fundraising goals. 


1. Drive Traffic Directly To A Donation Page

One approach some nonprofits take is to use the Google Ad Grant to drive traffic to a donation page. In this scenario, a user will see the ad in their Google search results, click the ad, and will be taken to your donation page. From there, you hope that your page will entice the visitor to start and complete the donation process.

This strategy is about as direct as you can be with Google Ads, but it’s a rather risky strategy. While your ultimate goal may be to drive donations, driving people to your donation page may not be the best way to cultivate them as members of your audience. You’ll want to consider visitors will be landing on your website and optimize your page accordingly.

An optimized landing page is one that is designed to get new visitors to take a specific action. Usually, these landing pages answer a question or provide helpful information while providing a next step for someone to take to learn more or further interact with your organization. With this in mind, it may be beneficial to design multiple different landing pages, each optimized toward a different kind of visitor.

Knowledge about your audience in addition to analytics data can help you decide who to target and how. If you have the capacity, it may be helpful to conduct other, more indirect campaigns in addition to your donation drive. This will allow you to drive traffic to other valuable locations on your site and compare the performance of different campaigns.


2. Build Out Your Email List

For organizations with a less established audience, or those who are trying new programs, an indirect approach may be best. While your ultimate goal may be donations and fundraising, building the foundation for that is just as important for the long term health of your nonprofit. To this end, growing your email list is a viable strategy that can be achieved via the Google Ad Grant. With more people on your list, you’re able to market specific events, programs, and opportunities to your audience.

There are a few strategies you can use in tandem with the Google Ad Grant to build out your email list. It’s unlikely that people landing on your website will have your email list as their primary concern. Instead, they’re probably looking for information or are curious about your organization. That’s why an optimized landing page is important.

Designing a landing page specifically for use with a Google Ad ensures that most visitors who click through the ad will be engaged with the content they find on your website. The more engaged they are, the more likely they are to take a next step, which in this case would be signing up for your email list. Further, an email sign-up is a modest request that is more likely to be done by the average visitor.


3. Track Metrics For Key Insights

The Google Ad Grant is not just a tool to boost marketing, website traffic, and engagement. It also contains analytics that help you learn more about the audience that clicks on your ads. With this information, you’ll be able to track and analyze your ad performance and evaluate trends over time. Further, Google Ads easily integrates with Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics, giving you a full suite to track conversions, site referrals, and more. These tools can help you learn more about your audience and their propensity to give.

Over time, you’ll begin to notice performance trends that will help you develop your Google Ads skillset. Good managers of the Google Ad Grant need to be able to respond to the analytics data and make important tweaks to improve ad performance. With those skills, these tools can help you make your Google Ads more effective at driving traffic and creating valuable conversions for your organization.


4. Get Expert Help If You Need It

The Google Ad Grant is a flexible and cost-effective way for any nonprofit organization to jumpstart their digital marketing efforts. While the Grant has numerous upsides and can be used to great effect, your organization will have to ensure that it’s managed correctly. A mismanaged Grant will not achieve the desired results, and Google may even suspend your account if you cannot meet their minimum compliance standards. While these standards can be met by most organizations with only a few hours every month, many find the Google Ad Grant management to be too burdensome. Furthermore, because optimal use of the Grant can be complicated, some organizations ultimately prefer to outsource their Grant management to an external marketing company.

Compliance Standards

As a free grant, Google enforces compliance requirements to ensure that organizations are actually using the Grant with some success. So long as an organization continues to meet the requirements, they are free to use the Grant as they see fit.

Most of the compliance standards are fairly simple. Following best practices is the best way to remain compliant and even achieve greater success. For a full list of compliance standards, visit Google’s resource on the topic.

Grant Management Expertise

While meeting compliance standards is important, achieving success with your Google Ad Grant may require more time and effort. Grant management requires a specific skillset. Success requires good attention to detail, analytical skills, as well as writing and research abilities.

Perhaps your organization has someone with these skills who would thrive as your nonprofit’s grant manager.For others, it may be more prudent to outsource your grant to an organization with greater expertise. While this may be more costly, it will almost certainly enhance the performance of your Google Ad Grant. The Grant will be managed well in the hands of an expert, and your organization would have more time and resources to devote to creating the content and programming that the Google Ad Grant can share with the world. For other types of grants, consider using a grant management tool to help organize grant-related tasks, review applications, and assign committees.

Boosting the fundraising of your nonprofit organization requires a key strategy. You’ll need to think both in the short term and long term about how to cultivate the relationships necessary to sustain your organization. Programming and outreach go a long way, but you’ll need mechanisms to share your work with the broader community.

The Google Ad Grant presents an affordable way to do just that. By taking advantage of this free in-kind grant, your organization now has a way to spread your message across the digital world. Whether you use this platform to drive traffic to your donation page or take a more indirect approach to fundraising is up to you. What was once a question of possibility is now a question of strategy. If your organization needs a kickstart for your fundraising efforts, consider using the Google Ad Grant to achieve greater success.

Grant Hensel is the CEO of Nonprofit Megaphone, an agency focused 100% on Google Grant Management for nonprofits. NPM is honored to manage the Google Grant for 370+ leading nonprofits worldwide and to be an inaugural member of the Google Ad Grant Certified Professionals community.