What’s better than low-cost targeted online advertising? FREE targeted online advertising.

Every nonprofit organization understands how important it is to stretch every dollar. Resources can be scarce, so you have to make every investment count. Organizations rightly want to put most of their resources directly toward serving their mission, with fewer going toward soliciting more donations or advertising their services and events.

But what if I told you there was a way for nonprofits to get $10,000 in online advertising for free? Oh, and it’s not just a one-time thing: that’s $10,000 EVERY MONTH. That’s exactly what Google Ad Grants does. Google offers nonprofit organizations $10,000 of in-kind advertising every month through its AdWords program. AdWords are the text ads that you see when you enter a search in Google—they appear along the right side and at the top of the search results with the little yellow “Ad” box. Millions and millions of people search Google every day, including for causes just like yours, and now you can help your organization’s website appear at the top of a Google search results. For free!

Benefits of Google Ad Grants

They say any publicity is good publicity, and Google AdWords offers specific benefits for nonprofits. Your Google ads serve as impressions that increase awareness of your organization. Impressions can turn into clicks, which lead more folks to your website. And those clicks can then become conversions, whether that means becoming a donor, a volunteer, an event attendee, or even just an addition to your mailing list.

The ads are highly targeted. You can specify the geographic location they’re seen in, and you can choose the keywords that make your ad appear in the Google search results. This is great, because you’re showing your ads to folks in your area who are already searching for organizations like yours! You can use many keywords and key phrases, and you can create a lot of different ads that tell people about you, your cause, your site, or events you have coming up.

Another benefit is all the data that Google provides to optimize your ad campaigns. You can learn about who is searching for you, and what terms they’re using. And you can use those data points to enhance the content on your website to make it pop up for more searchers, and even improve your unpaid search ranking. You can also track how many of your paid search visitors convert once they reach your site. (Here are a few tips on how to increase your site’s conversion rate).

Limitations of Google Ad Grants

There are a couple of limitations to this great program. The first is that your organization has to qualify. It’s not really a competitive process, but there are some organization types that are excluded, and you have to state how you will be using the ad spend.

The other constraint is that Google limits how much you are able to spend for each click. They cap the cost per click (CPC) at just $2, which is not very much for most searches. This makes it very important that you have a well-run campaign based on specific keywords and targeting, and the best strategies are not always obvious.

SHERPA can help

It takes some time and effort to apply for Google Ad Grants and run a successful campaign. Optimizing AdWords campaigns can be tricky sometimes (here are a few helpful tips), and you don’t want to squander these free advertising dollars.

Fortunately, SHERPA Global is here for you. We are certified Google Partners, and we have helped our nonprofit clients through this process before. We have extensive experience helping nonprofit organizations—including human rights organizations, student leadership organizations, religious organizations, and arts organizations—reach their digital goals.

We know what it takes to customize successful online ad campaigns and how to make the most of your ad spend. Contact us today if you’d like some help optimizing your Google Ad Grants campaigns.

Rusty Parker

Rusty Parker

Rusty Parker is the director of data and analytics for SHERPA Global. He has a doctoral degree in Applied Sociology from Baylor University, with an emphasis on survey methodology and data analysis. He has led data collection projects for corporate, government, and nonprofit clients for more than 10 years.

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