Increase Awareness of Your Cause to Create New Supports of Your Mission with the Google Ad Grant

with Jenna Ross
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This transcript was created using AI. Please forgive any discrepencies.

Jenna Ross
So what is the Google Ad grant? Offered by Google, this program has been around for a little bit, it was launched back in 2003. And you’ve probably seen ads that appear when you search for something in Google. These ads are placed by businesses and nonprofits who pay every time someone clicks on the ad. And Google gives 501 C three nonprofits $10,000 each month to spend on these ads in Google Search. This allows you to really amplify the amount of people you can reach who are searching for your organization and your work online. And as long as your account stays compliant, it resets and renews each month, which is amazing. The vast majority do not spend the full time $10,000 A month, organizations that do or get close to spending it all are usually International, and have a very large geotargeting. So they have a much bigger audience than most. The average non managed spend of the Google grant is about only $800 a month. So that just kind of gives you a picture of what to expect. Factors like cost per click play into the amount of spend use, and this varies depending on competition trends, current events, those types of things. So for most nonprofits, the budget is more than enough, and you’ll never need all of it. So essentially, you can look at it as if it’s unlimited spend for your organization.

Here we have an example of a Google grant AD, the European Foundation. COPD Foundation is one of our clients. And they are an amazing resource that helps people get information and provide tools to help screen themselves for this condition, which is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. And this ad is triggered that we wrote this ad by the keywords, do I have COPD, those words that someone has typed into the Google search bar are tied to the ad for the information COPD Foundation is providing be interesting thing about these ads is that instead of targeting based on demographics, which is typically how you target when using Facebook, or Instagram or banner ads, you can target based on intent. So this person could be someone of any set of demographics. And you don’t even necessarily care really, because what you do know is that this person right now, in this moment is thinking about COPD, and wondering whether or not I had, so this is the perfect person or each. When someone clicks on this link, the Do you have COPD link, it takes them to the Foundation’s website and to that specific page with a screening tool, and they’ll be able to fill it out. And actually hundreds of people each month, click on this exact ad and fill out this exact screening tool. So it’s really cool. So you have potentially life changing things being promoted by the ads. So that just gives you an idea of what they look like, you know, just like a regular ad, they sit at the top the search results so that people can see them first. If people are searching for something on Google and you have a page addressing that topic on your website, you can use a Google grant to reach those searchers, drive them to your website and ask them to take the next step of helping push your organization’s mission forward, we can look at a few examples of ways that different organizations can use Google grant to impact their mission. And these are all clients of ours are these examples. And one classic example is driving awareness. This is a human services organization and pen marking services, which uses the Google grant to reach people who their services could help, in this case, people who are or have family members with intellectual disabilities. That’s a great way to use the Google grant because those types of people will be googling things related to this topic. Penn Meyer can show ads sharing how they can help. Another example is selling tickets. If you’re a symphony, in orchestra, theater, or any kind of performing arts organization, selling tickets is a great way to share your artistic accomplishments with your community and to also fund your revenue model. Sharing thought leadership is another great example. UNCF is a really cool organization, which gives out millions and hundreds of millions of dollars humbly in scholarships to students at HBCUs, which are historically black colleges and universities. And they do a really nice job of sharing the opportunities I have for students and also the impact the HBCUs are making both economically and socially. You can also promote events. And this is kind of a double capability here. You can promote your own events. Many times there are events like 5k that people are randomly searching for. So like five K’s this weekend. That’s a great way to promote your 5k using a keyword like that, because that’s something that people are looking for. And wellfield Botanic Garden uses the grant to not only promote their events, but also the fact that people can rent out their venue for their own events like weddings or other things like that. Which is pretty cool. Engaging donors is another great way to use the grant. This does require some creativity though, because most people unfortunately are not googling I have too much money, I need to get rid of it. But they might be googling things like donate refrigerator, or things like that donate refrigerator free pickup. And this is exactly what Habitat for Humanity does. They have a restore, where they accept donations of household items. And they will actually come and pick it up for free, clear, clean them up and sell them in their resort to fund Habitat for Humanity’s mission. And they’ve used this really effectively to drive 10s of 1000s of dollars of in kind donations each month. And we’ll talk more about ways that you can use the Google grant to eventually cultivate donor relationships later on. I know that’s the focus of this summit. So we will definitely touch on that. And then finally, attracting visitors. If you have a physical location, like your an aquarium, a zoo Museum, some kind of venue, the Google grant is a great way to reach people who are looking for that, or looking for things to do just a few examples. And there are hundreds more. We have over 650 clients, and each of them has slightly different goals for how they’re using the grant. Some are really focused on building an email list, which is actually a great thing to do. And we’ll talk more about that too, a little bit later. And others are focused on driving naturally of animals. Look, the list goes on.

Okay, so now that we have a high level overview of what the people grant is, let’s dive into how you get this opportunity started. Unlike most grants, applying for the Google grant is relatively straightforward and painless. There’s also no competition for loans, if you’re eligible, you should receive it. So that’s great. A great thing about it, the amount of time it takes to apply for the grant depends on your preparation, the actual application itself doesn’t really take too long to fill out or get approved. But there are some pre qualifying steps that you need to take, which can take a bit of time. So that’s just kind of a quick overview of the steps have it broken down into five steps here, and so we can take a closer look at each part. The first step is that you must actually qualify for the Google Ad grant program. To be eligible, your organization must be a 501 C three in the United States are holdest similar status and one of the other 50 countries that have been added so far to this program. And you can click on the link in this slide to see if your country is eligible. You must also agree to the Google for Nonprofits terms, also linked in the slide. And you must have a secure high quality website that upholds Google’s website policy and meets the program policy. And again, this is all linked here. So you can take a look at it on your own time. The next step is to register and validate your organization with TechSoup and acquire your validation token for verification of your nonprofit status. TechSoup is a nonprofit that partners with corporations like Google to help bring technology tools and other resources to nonprofits at a discounted rate. It’s pretty cool Oregon are pretty cool company. And if you’re already registered with TechSoup, you can skip this step completely. And you should be able to pull existing information to verify your nonprofit. With Google right away, you’ll just need to determine who your organization is the administrator of your TechSoup account, they should receive an email that requests the necessary information to verify your status. When you set up your Google for Nonprofits account, we often see that at some point somebody had set it up and is no longer at the organization. So if that happens, the email with the information will reset in 15 days, and then the administrator rights will be transferred to you. So it’s just a little bit of a waiting process if that’s the situation that you’re in. And from there, you’ll be able to obtain the verification credentials that you need. All right, step three, you got your validation token, the next step is to sign up for Google for Nonprofits. And you’ll need to have this set up before you can actually apply for the grant. The Google for Nonprofits application is fairly straightforward. But it can take a few days. If you’re already verified with TechSoup, you should have no problem getting this applicant approved. And you can follow those steps there. And step four. As mentioned earlier, having a well organized nonprofit website that features valuable content is one of the most crucial factors of your success with the Google Ad grant program. So when you apply for the Google grant, they require you to submit your, your domain, your website, and then they’ll evaluate it to make sure that you have useful content that users will find trustworthy. So there’s a little bit of a verification process there. Google will run through your checklist of conditions is regarding the quality of your website before approving your application. So some things that you’ll need to get done before it gets approved are adding your EIN, and a statement regarding your mission to the website. providing that information shows that you’re a legit registered, see free to anyone who might be considering donating volunteering, sharing any sensitive information with you. So that’s, that’s important to have. And it should be visible anywhere that you’re asking for donations, we have found that a simple way to cover our bases is to just include it in the footer of the website, because then it makes it automatically show up on every page. So you don’t need to worry about making sure it’s included in all the places. Also, your website will need to be secure as part of the eligibility requirements. The main way to do this is by securing an SSL certificate, and what this does is encrypt any data that’s transferred on your site. So if someone’s donating, their payment details, name, address, and any other sensitive information they share will automatically be encrypted. And a quick way that you can verify if your website is encrypted is by looking at the URL. If the address begins with https instead of HTTP, then that indicates that it’s SSL certified. And additionally, not having the certificate can actually hurt your rankings. Google and other search engines as well use this as a ranking factor. So this is a critical step for sure.

You should also make sure that you optimize your website for a good user experience. This is really important to Google, your website needs to have the kind of content that Google will be able to see and understand. We call these promotable pages. These should be pages or posts that are 300 words or more, and have a single well defined topic that is relevant to your organization’s goals. The best promotable pages will include a relevant call to action for visitors to take such as donating or volunteering. Also, load time is an often overlooked aspect, but it’s also really important to user experience. We have found that 40% of visitors will abandon your site if it takes more than three seconds to load. some easy ways to click in your load times are to compress your images, or reduce the use of third party plugins, and to also minimize the amount of unnecessary code on your site. So going through cleaning up anything you’re not using any more getting it off of there will help speed up your website. Okay, step five. Once your Google for Nonprofits account is approved, you’ll receive an email from Google and you can finally apply while filling out an application form is part of it. It’s more of a multi step back and forth process. So I’ll just kind of run through that quickly with you, you’ll log into your Google for Nonprofits account. In the product section, click get started, you’ll click and fill out the eligibility form and then hit submit when it’s complete. And then you’ll exit out of there and return to the Google for Nonprofits page, click the checkbox that you’ll see there and then hit Activate to officially submit your application. And once it’s submitted, it could take up to a week or more for your application to be approved. And if everything’s up to their standards, you’ll receive an email approving you to move on to the second part of your application process. And then you can begin setting up your account to take the first step into using the Google grant. One last tip is to not enter any billing information as you set up your initial ads. At no point in this process is it required and it can actually interfere later on. There’s a red bar at the top of the screen which will prompt you to fill out this information but you just ignore it. It will not be required in order to move forward and entering information into that spot could actually void your progress and require you to start over from the beginning with the account. So seems like you should fill it out. But just skip over that. Okay, so on to configuring your Google Ads account. Within Google ads, you’ll find the campaign’s tab on the navigation bar to the left, you’ll be able to build campaigns with keywords targeting your intended audience, right your ad copy, choose landing page for each campaign. As you do this, there’s a few tips to help configure a well organized count. Starting with follow the required account structure within each of your campaigns, you should have at least two ad groups and within each ad group, you should have at least two active ads. doing keyword research is really important. It ensures that your ad group idea is going to perform well. Keyword research basically tells us the projected search volume for key phrases. Typically creating ad groups around heavily Googled key terms results in more ad clicks. And we like to recommend there’s lots of options out there but we we tend to stick with SpyFu the keyword planner and Google ads, Google Trends. Answer the public, Uber suggests is a newer one that we’ve been using that We probably like for keyword research. So you can look those up and check those out. And just a couple other notes about keywords is, single word keywords are not allowed unless it’s one of the approved exceptions, and keywords with a quality score of one or two are not allowed, so be sure to remove any of those. If Google flagged keywords as having a quality score that is low enough, they will require you to remove them or replace them with something that is more effective. Also enable sitelink extensions. These will enable you to link to specific parts of your website below your ads. This stuff is important if you want to send someone to where they can donate, volunteer or interact with your site in some other way, you can click the ads and extensions tab in the Page menu on the left and you’ll find a panel where you can set up site links in your ads. And setting up Google Analytics is also an important step. To see the best results, you will need to connect your Google Analytics with your Google Ads account. And you can see what’s working and what isn’t working. The Google Ad grant policy requires active and accurate conversion tracking. And at least one conversion must be set up when the account is active. In order to comply with their policies, though, you must you must actually accrue at least one conversion per month. So just keep that in mind as you’re setting things up. And compliance. So once you have received the grant, it’s not just like set it and forget it, you actually have to do some things to maintain your eligibility and keep it going keep it active.

A minimum of 5% click through rate as required. And they do give you a grace period of 90 days from the time your account is created to get that up and going. And the goal is to ensure that your ads are actually useful to users and are relevant to their search intent. And accounts that fail to meet this requirement will be notified. And if you go two or more two months, with it being under 5%, then your account will be suspended. So that’s a pretty big one to stay on top of. Also, your ads must only link to the website domain approved in the application process. Additional domains can be advertised upon, but you have to get approval for any additional domains as well. And you must also own those on those domains. Just like your original one. Your ads must reflect the mission of the approved nonprofit in your keywords must be relevant to the nonprofits programs and services. You also must keep your account active, you should log in at least once a month and make update every 90 days, ideally more to show people that you’re still using the help that they’re providing. And Google doesn’t implement these requirements to punish you or anything, it’s really just to ensure that you’re actually generating value from the program. Failing to meet the compliance requirements does result in account deactivation. So keep an eye on your account and continue optimizing your ads frequently. Okay, so now getting into the content fees. The content on the landing page should closely match your ad and keywords, the stronger the connection between the ad and landing page. So the more directly relevant they are, the better your chances of a conversion are. So send your visitors to a page that has the information promised in your ad. If they don’t quickly and easily find what prompted them to click on your ad, then they’re more likely to leave. It’s also a good idea to put important information towards the top of the page. This way, it’ll be quickly visible when they arrive on the page and they don’t have to scroll to see it. So again, just keeping them there. In our experience, over the years, we found content to be the biggest factor in running a successful account. I can’t stress enough just how important it is to have the right amount and the right type of content on your website. If you’re utilizing the grant. Some of the guidelines that we really push are that your website has, ideally at least 10 qualified landing pages. And by qualified views, the things we’re looking for are that each landing page focuses on a single primary topic. It has at least 300 words on the page. That just gives you like just the right amount to be able to create ads with a text that’s there. But if you can shoot for more like 700 words, if possible. And ongoing content is probably the most impactful component of your website. So having things like new blogs posted if you have any events or programs that might be changing new job openings, volunteer opportunities, those are all great ways to get ongoing content so that you have things that are changing on your website, and it’s not just staying the same. I’m also important to note that websites with high quality content are more likely to do well with the grant. The high quality content really makes a great user experience giving them what they’re looking for. Not only does it help your rankings with Google but it also boosts your conversions and traffic and other valuable metrics. And while users come to your site for your content, be sure to take advantage of their attention by placing buttons and calls to action. Calls to Action are phrases that ask the user to take, you know, the next step, relevant CTAs are clear and easy next step for the visitors to take. And these are usually done through the form of buttons, because they visually draw your attention, and they tend to perform better than just text that is linked. So make sure that you stand out and don’t blend in with the rest of your page. It’s easy to see, easy to click on. One other thing about content that we tend to see a lot is that there will be great promotable content in a PDF on your website, it’s important that this PDF content is moved over onto a separate landing page. Google doesn’t allow us to direct ads to content on a PDF. It’s just some other things to be aware of is that sometimes text ends up in images that are on pages, Google cannot see that text when I call your site. So if you’re trying to promote something and you have an image of your event on your website, it’s really important to pull that information out and actually put it onto the page so that Google can see it.

And content that you want to promote must be on your URL, not a domain that you don’t own. So if you have a resources page that only links out to other websites, that wouldn’t work that makes sure it’s all stuff on on your website, at a summary of each resource, so there’s content for ad copy. And then you can always link out but just make sure there’s something there for text to write ads around. Okay, so now that we know a little bit more about how the Google Ad grant works, let’s shift a little think about how we can take advantage of this increased traffic to your website to help fulfill most organizations ultimate goal of cultivating donors, or just general supporters of your mission. The customer journey is a map of the route a customer takes from the time they encounter your brand, to the time they make a purchase, or whatever your organization’s main ask would be. This helps to visualize how visitors who have no idea who you are become aware of your existence, and then transform into clients, donors, etc. And then ultimately become supporters of your mission. It’s important to note that the Google grant itself is not a great driver for immediate donation. While it does happen, and it’s great like a great surprise when it does, it’s not to be expected because for the most part, the Google grant ads are only shown to new visitors on your website, people typically don’t tend to fork out money to an organization they just met. This is why it’s so important to have content on your website to share with them who you are, what you’re doing and calls to action to keep them engaged in moving along in the funnel. And we can take a quick look at a customer journey. And to help plan around the different phases and the journey that your visitors will go through. So very first, here we have awareness, and you are creating the initial awareness with the Google Ad grant. It’s a perfect example of finding someone who knows nothing about you because these ads are really only shown to people who haven’t been to your site before. And it’s important to use keywords that will target the people you’re trying to reach because this is how they will be introduced to your organization and entice to click over to your website. So after awareness, next in this funnel, we have interest, keep their interest by showing them exactly what they’re searching for. So this means relevant content. If someone is wondering how much it cost to adopt the dog, they will type keywords into the search bar that will trigger your ad to show make sure the content they find when they click on your link answers their questions or provides the information they’re looking for. And then keep them clicking and moving through your websites with calls to action. They’re interested in what you’re selling them, they become engaged by clicking around to see what else you offer, what other things you’re doing. And it can be helpful to consider different personas for each type of person you want to bring to your website. So you might have slightly different ads created with the intention of reaching potential clients versus potential donors, or volunteers, you know, what you’re saying to them is going to be slightly different. So just take that into consideration when you’re funneling them around your website to. And then another thing that’s helpful to think about is, what do you want each of these personas to feel when they’re looking at your services and your events and your overall mission? Because this will inform the messaging that goes into what you’re saying, as well as the voice and tone for what you deliver it and you can lead them to specific content targeted to elicit the desired emotion from the visitor, like heartwarming stories, and consider what do you want them to do? So this will inform your CTAs or any next steps you want them to take based on that. And engage visitors are the ones who end up completing conversions. You can encourage them to perform the action that you want them to take with a strong clear call to action which tells them what they can expect and nudges them toward your desired action. So like join our mailing list, get involved, donate hear those types of things. We recommend having CTAs on every page so you don’t miss any opportunities and you can keep them moving along in your funnel. The more specific your call to action is, so the closer it matches your keywords and landing page, the better your chances are of a conversion taking place. So by choosing the right action phrase, you’ll avoid having to pay for clicks that are less likely to results in business for you. And then conversions are more likely to happen when you are intentional with the content that you’re leading a visitor to based on what brought them to your website. And again, ensure your website content and layout is optimized for a good customer experience. Sites that are attractive and easy to navigate informative tend to be more profitable. So educate them answer their questions, tell them all about the work you’re doing and why it’s important and why they should take action. Often starting with a small ask is the best way to get people to take any action, such as telling them to subscribe to your newsletter. This is a relatively risk free way for them to engage with your organization. And by continuing to build that relationship through your newsletters and email marketing efforts. That new visitor will learn more about you and be more likely to take a bigger action next, like registering for an event or signing up to volunteer

or donating and then reaching the end of the funnel here. We have advocacy, that people in the same time have become aware, engaged with your website. they’ve subscribed or completed some sort of action and have become supporters of your mission. They have grown to trust you and are passionate about what you’re doing. The ultimate goal is to create engaged supporters who will share your organization with their friends and community and will be long term donors or advocates for your work. However, this doesn’t just happen once someone has taken action to support your organization once, it’s still important to keep the people engaged so they don’t lose interest. And the best way to do this is actively utilizing your email list to stay in touch and to stay top of mind. keeping them informed and up to date on your successes. But also your needs throughout the year goes a long way for continuing to raise funds. If they know you need things, they’re much more likely to help in that regard. So keep the information flowing. So just for a little plug for something that we’ve been doing and seeing a lot of success with in regards to email lists and continuing to cultivate those relationships. We have the visitor email tool. You know, we recognize that email communication is one of the best marketing methods to drive more donations. And this is why we’ve created this tool is pretty effortless. And you can add hundreds of new people to your email list each month and turn them into more active supporters of your mission. So 1000s of people might visit your website a month Yeah, only a few might take action or involve. Our visitor email tool provides you with email addresses of 10 to 20% of your website visitors and allows you to strike up a conversation with them using newsletters. They can automatically be added to your currently existing marketing system like MailChimp, email, octopus, and to start to start that. And also, since email marketing lists normally decay by about 22% Each year, this tool is a great way for you to keep growing your email list and connect with people who have already engaged with your brand, the back end of your website, and it integrates with Google Tag Manager to collect visitors emails into a format that can quickly and easily be added to your existing subscriber loving and you also don’t need to have the Google advert to utilize this. But it’s just a really impactful addition, if you are using the grant, it just really helps take advantage of all those new visitors to your website and, and helping move them along in your funnel. And I’ll put a quick link or a video to quick link a link to a quick video in the slide here so you can get a better idea of how this tool works. And then just wrapping up. Um, I hope some of that was helpful in how to you know tie that into a monthly giving program. I know that was slightly different approach to that topic, but I think it still ties in. So I wanted to share that with you all. And I would love to hear if anyone has any questions about the Google algorithm or the Bucha removal tool or anything else that I touched on. So I will look for your questions in the chat. Thanks so much.