In this post, you'll learn how the Google Ad Grant can boost your nonprofit website's reach.

How the Google Ad Grant Can Boost Your Site’s Reach: 3 FAQs

For your nonprofit to enact lasting change in the world, people need to know about your cause—whether it’s creating accessible public spaces for people with disabilities or teaching at-risk youth the basics of personal finance. 

But even more than generally being familiar with your cause, people need to know that your organization is the one they should be supporting to further that cause. 

There are lots of ways to spread awareness for your organization’s specific work, from making phone calls and sharing social media posts to mailing out flyers or investing in local radio ads. But one of the most useful marketing tools you can use to garner attention for your mission is your website! 

However, challenges arise when it comes to getting the most mileage possible out of your website. After all, it’s one thing to have a functional website and another thing entirely for people to actually find it and use it to learn about your organization and how to get involved. 

Many nonprofits rely on optimizing their websites for SEO, but there are other free ways to get more attention for your organization. 

Enter: the Google Ad Grant. 

In this guide, we’ll cover three frequently asked questions about the Google Ad Grant to help you better understand how this free source of advertising can work for your nonprofit. Let’s go!

What is the Google Ad Grant? 

The Google Ad Grant is an in-kind donation from Google that gives qualifying nonprofit organizations $10,000 worth of free advertising credits every month

Nonprofits use these credits to bid on keywords that pertain to their causes so that they can promote specific web pages through text-based ads on the results pages for those keywords. 

Once created, these ads are placed strategically on search engine results pages—at the top or bottom—so that Google users see them in addition to the usual list of organic results. Typically, these ads showcase donation pages and “About Us” pages, highlighting your nonprofit as the organization to support. 

You can feature other action-oriented pages, too. For example, say your animal shelter wants to promote an upcoming virtual adoption event. You might bid on ad space for the keyword “pet rescue,” creating a text ad that promotes your event and directs users to your registration and volunteer sign-up pages.

Leveraging the Google Ad Grant is a smart nonprofit marketing strategy for a few reasons: 

  • It’s completely free! The Google Ad Grant is a free source of ad funding, and, if your nonprofit continues to meet the eligibility criteria, it renews every month. 
  • You’ll help more people find and engage with your organization. Research on paid ads (like Google Ads) shows that “41% of clicks go to the top three paid ads on the search results page.” That means that by using Google Ads, you’ll get your organization’s name in front of more people who care about your cause—and get them clicking through to your site to donate or engage in other ways. 
  • You’ll get a wealth of data you can use to improve your strategy. You can track the results of your ad campaigns within your Google Ad Grant account to get actionable information to improve your ads’ wording or even fine-tune your web content to attract more attention. 

Google Ad Grants pair nicely with other marketing strategies, like prepping your website for search engine optimization (SEO) and sharing your web content on social media. Securing a Google Ad Grant is a proven way to make sure you’re not putting all your marketing eggs in one basket!

How do I apply for a Google Ad Grant? 

To apply for a Google Ad Grant, you’ll first need to determine if your organization is eligible. According to Cornershop Creative’s guide to Google Grants for nonprofits, you’ll need to make sure your organization is meeting these criteria: 

  • Have a valid charitable status in the country where your organization is located
  • Be registered with Google for Nonprofits and TechSoup
  • Agree to follow the Program Policies
  • Follow the Website Policy, which requires that your organization owns your website domain, has a high-quality website that provides a great user experience, and that the main purpose of your site is not commercial activity. 

Note that some organizations are not eligible for the Google Ad Grant, even if they meet the above requirements. These organizations include: 

  • Schools or other educational institutions
  • Government organizations and agencies 
  • Healthcare organizations 

Once you’ve determined that your organization is eligible for a Google Ad Grant, you’ll apply to the Google for Nonprofits program and verify your Google account. After you’re verified, you can apply for a Google Ad Grant and create a Google Ads account. 

Google will review your application and account to make sure you meet all of its requirements. Then, you can start creating campaigns, bidding on keywords, and writing ads! 

Of course, applying for the Google Ad Grant, creating ads, monitoring your progress, and maintaining eligibility can require a lot of time from your nonprofit’s team. Re:Charity suggests working with a Google Grants agency that can handle all these moving parts for you. This will give your team the bandwidth to get back to running your programming and fundraising campaigns. 

What can I do to prepare my landing pages to get the most out of Google Ad Grants?

For your nonprofit to see positive results through the Google Ad Grants program, you’ll need to optimize the landing pages you’re featuring in your ads. After all, once you’ve got someone clicking on your ad, you don’t want to lose their interest in your page—you want them to complete the desired action! 

You can get your landing pages ready for Google Ad Grant traffic by implementing nonprofit web design best practices, such as: 

  • Leveraging impactful visuals. Visuals evoke emotion and help encode information in our brains. Catch your visitors’ eyes with pictures or videos of your team in action, or your beneficiaries receiving your services. 
  • Optimizing for mobile devices. Make sure that your pages resize to fit any type of screen. You don’t want phone or tablet users to have to pinch and zoom to see your page or not be able to exit out of pop-ups. 
  • Including strong calls-to-action. A call-to-action is simply a statement that implores someone to act. Choose your wording carefully when writing calls-to-action. For example, “Join the fight against cancer!” is a much stronger call-to-action than “Donate now.” 
  • Keeping forms short and sweet. Make it easy and convenient for your visitors to donate, register for events, or sign up to volunteer. Only ask for necessary information on forms, and mark additional fields or questions as optional. 
  • Including social sharing buttons. It can be a great bonus when a landing page visitor feels inspired to share your page with their personal network. Make it easy for them by including social sharing buttons. 

Taking action on a landing page is the “finish line” for Google Ad Grant-generated website visitors. Prepare your website to keep them reeled in and make it easy for them to complete the desired action. This will plant seeds for further involvement down the road, as your visitor will leave your page with a positive impression of your organization and its website. 

For your nonprofit to succeed, people need to know you’re out there, working hard to make a difference in your community. Applying for a Google Ad Grant is one fantastic way to open up the doors to more traffic on your nonprofit’s website. 

Use what you’ve learned in this guide to get started with Google Ad Grants today!


About the Author: 

This is a guest post contributed by Ira Horowitz at Cornershop Creative. With 15 years of experience, Ira is an expert in nonprofit online communications and online fundraising. His work has resulted in increased funds and resounding supporter engagement for hundreds of organizations.

Ira oversees the Cornershop Creative project management team and works with clients to provide the best possible final product. He also manages all of Cornershop Creative’s strategic engagements and helps guide nonprofits to determine their long-term strategic goals for online communications.

Person giving a presentation

Capital Campaigns 101: How to Train Your Entire Team

Capital campaigns transform organizations – often from top to bottom. And it’s all too easy to get so swept up in the work of fundraising that no one develops a plan for training the staff and volunteers.

But these are all-hands-on-deck undertakings! Everyone at your organization will need to understand the campaign and why it’s so important for your mission. Many members of your team will need to take on important tasks for the first time, like prospect research, managing complex outreach projects, asking for major gifts, and securing new sponsorships.

Training is critical for the success of a capital campaign, and it ensures your staff and volunteers will learn valuable skills to carry forward into the future.

In this post, you’ll learn who needs to be trained, when they need to be trained, and what they need to learn.

Understanding the Larger Context of Capital Campaigns

Capital campaigns are unlike other, more frequent fundraising campaigns you might conduct for your nonprofit. Their unique characteristics will impact the scope and shape of your training process.

Remember these three ideas as you develop a training plan for your capital campaign:

  • Most organizations only conduct a capital campaign every ten to twenty years. That means that very few staff and board members have likely ever been through a campaign from start to finish. They may have played small roles in pieces of campaigns with other organizations, but it’s safe to assume that they have only a limited understanding of capital campaign fundraising.
  • Capital campaigns rely on gifts that are much larger than most organizations ask for in their regular annual fundraising. While some organizations have well-developed major gift programs and are comfortable asking for large gifts, most are not! This will need to be a central part of your training process for individuals who will be directly involved in fundraising during the campaign.
  • In most organizations, the program staff is tangential to capital campaigns, while the development staff and board are much more actively involved. But since program staff members are often the front line of contact with the community the organization serves, training them is perhaps less obvious but still important.

The Standard Campaign Training Process

Most campaigns incorporate two basic training tracks into their planning process. They conduct training about the campaign for their board, and they conduct solicitation training for those people who will be asking for gifts.

Training Your Board

Your board should be trained early in the campaign process so they understand how a campaign works and what their roles and responsibilities will be. Board training sessions are often 2-3 hours long and can be conducted in person or virtually.

Board members should be trained to articulate the case for support in their own words. They should understand the phases and timing of the campaign. And they should be clear about the roles of the board as a whole and what will be expected of them as individuals serving on the board.

Training Your Fundraisers

Solicitation training should be a regular and ongoing part of any campaign. You might conduct an extensive training series with all the people who will be soliciting gifts during the campaign’s quiet phase, most likely including board members. But you should combine that with shorter brush-up sessions for solicitors before they ask for gifts.

Both of these trainings are important. But that’s not all the training you should do—look to other parts of your organization to ensure everyone is on the same page and ready to support the campaign as needed.

Training Your Organization’s Leaders

In addition to board training and solicitation training, you should train the executive team so that they understand how a campaign functions and can plan for the ways in which the campaign will affect their aspect of the organization.

The CFO, for example, should understand that campaign gifts are often pledged over several years and many of them are complex gifts that may involve securities, real property, and planned gifts. The CFO should know that during the campaign, they will have to find a way to reconcile the books and the campaign accounting. Making adjustments will be easier if the CFO understands how campaigns work, so early training is essential.

Training Your Program Staff

Often overlooked in campaigns is the training of the program staff. Those people often have front-line contact with the public, so it’s very important that they know that the organization is in a campaign and what it is about.

Program staff should know what the campaign is raising money for. They should understand how the results of the campaign will make a difference in the way the organization carries out its services.

Program staff should know what to say if someone asks them about the campaign. The receptionist, for example, shouldn’t be caught off guard if someone walks in and asks how they might make a campaign gift. And people who carry out the work should be able to talk comfortably about the coming improvements. Those small conversations with people in the course of daily service add up and create a sense of enthusiasm and excitement.

But if the program staff isn’t informed they might feel poorly prepared to answer questions and left out of the brewing campaign excitement.

Key Takeaways

As you begin your campaign, outline a training program that covers the entire organization. By all means, make sure your board and solicitors are well-trained—but don’t stop there. Develop a plan that will prepare your executive and program staff for the campaign too.

When everyone understands the campaign’s purpose, its impact, and how their role fits into its success, you’ll set your organization up for a successful campaign that will energize the community and transform how you work.

Capital Campaign Readiness Assessment

Is your organization ready for a capital campaign? This simple assessment tool will help you find out. You’ll assess six key areas of your organization. Take this free assessment now and find out if you’re truly ready for a campaign.

About the Authors

Photo of Andrea KihlstedtPhoto of Amy Eisenstein










Amy Eisenstein, ACFRE, and Andrea Kihlstedt are co-founders of the Capital Campaign Toolkit, a virtual support system for nonprofit leaders running successful campaigns. The Toolkit provides all the tools, templates, and guidance you need — without breaking the bank.

Marketing a Nonprofit Event Tips

Marketing a Virtual Nonprofit Event: 3 Essential Tips

Virtual nonprofit events can be a fundamental part of your organization’s fundraising strategy. With a strong virtual event, your nonprofit can easily grow its reach, build relationships with supporters, and boost donor acquisition and retention.

With these benefits in mind, it’s clear that your nonprofit needs to add virtual fundraising to its development toolkit. While less traditional than in-person events, virtual fundraisers can be equally effective at engaging donors and encouraging them to give from anywhere. However, your nonprofit will have to be intentional to keep supporters excited and engaged.

This is where a robust marketing strategy comes into play. Your virtual event needs to be marketed effectively to get as many people as possible to participate and increase awareness for your cause. Use these essential marketing tips to plan and promote your next virtual event:

By incorporating these essential strategies, your nonprofit can maximize its virtual fundraising. Let’s begin. 

Ambassadors are well-connected individuals that can help boost awareness for your nonprofit. 

1. Recruit ambassadors to help spread the word. 

Whether you’re hosting a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign or a virtual auction, you’ll need the support of your most-connected supporters to get the word out. By encouraging supporters to tap into their personal networks and share your fundraising campaign, you’ll be able to reach new audiences. 

Think of it as creating a fundraising army, whose built-in social and professional networks allow you to engage and funnel new volunteers, donors, and activists to your cause. But for it to be successful, you need to choose the right ambassadors for your cause.

Good places to look for ambassadors include:

  •  Board members: Board members are natural ambassadors. They are already committed and dedicated to the success of your nonprofit. They often have large professional networks, making them perfect social fundraisers. Engage them at a new level and watch their contacts turn into participants for your event.
  • Event committee: The people working on the event itself are passionate about the outcome! Tap the most dedicated committee members to become your ambassadors.
  • Volunteers: Volunteers are another reliable source for ambassadors, since they are deeply involved with your cause. They are used to giving their time and talent to your efforts. Target your most active and generous volunteers and ask them to join your ambassador campaign.
  • Micro-influencers: This is a great place to look if you’re just starting your ambassador program. Look for local nonprofit influencers with a large network and an active social media presence.
  • Sponsor connections: Ask your sponsors and long-time community partners if they know of potential ambassadors. 
  • Honorees at your signature event: Honorees are well-respected members of the community, which makes them the perfect supporters to raise donations before the gala.

Once you find the right ambassadors, the next step is to set them up for success! Outline clear goals, provide the right marketing assets, and let your ambassadors loose. Watch as their new network brings new attendees and donations to your virtual event.

Email segments can help your organization create a personalized, one-on-one communication experience. 

2. Segment your email lists. 

Understanding your donors is the key to unlocking your virtual event marketing potential. It allows you to engage better with different audiences and grow at scale (while still being personalized). By targeting your marketing messages to specific donor segments, you can boost engagement and registrations for your online fundraising event

How you decide to segment your donors depends on the needs of your organization. Let’s take a look at a few ways that you can create email segments to reach donors more effectively: 

  • How your donors were acquired
  • Size of gift
  • First-time versus returning donor
  • One-time gift versus recurring donations
  • Age/demographics
  • Donor interest

You can even target the way your donors have engaged with your events. For example:

  • New donors who haven’t attended an event before
  • Loyal donors who used to attend events but haven’t attended lately
  • Lapsed donors who haven’t donated in a while but need to be re-engaged

After figuring out how you’re going to segment your donors, the next step is to create marketing messages tailored to their particular motivators. For example, donors who haven’t yet attended virtual events should be clearly shown how your virtual event will work. 

Promoting your event across multiple platforms will help your nonprofit reach more people.

3. Promote your event across multiple channels. 

While email is a highly effective tool, your nonprofit should also spread the word about your virtual event across other popular channels. According to the OneCause guide to virtual fundraising, a multi-channel marketing approach gives your event the highest chance of reaching diverse audiences, including people that haven’t heard about your organization before. 

To raise awareness for your event, consider using marketing channels such as:

  • Social media. Leverage social media’s virality by sharing engaging photos, videos, or graphic designs related to your event and pairing it with a catchy hashtag. Make sure to highlight all the basic details of your event, like when it’s happening, how to access it, and how the funds raised will be used. You can include a mobile-friendly registration link in your social media bio to streamline the sign-up process. 
  • Direct mail. According to NXUnite, direct mail marketing gives your supporters something that’s tangible and can help them feel more connected to your organization. Incorporate storytelling into your direct mail outreach to demonstrate the impact of your organization’s work and why supporters should contribute to your fundraiser. You’ll also want to feature impactful images to get people excited about your event. 
  • Your nonprofit’s website. Create an event landing page that removes the mystery from your event and breaks down exactly what’s going to take place. This page should be visually appealing and informative to grab users’ attention and motivate them to sign up. You can embed your registration form directly into the event landing page for an easy sign-up. 

A tactful multi-channel strategy is key to attaining maximum engagement with your event. But don’t try to do it all at once! Choose 2-3 tactics that work best for your team and your mission and focus your attention there.

In order to cultivate better relationships with your supporters, your organization should be consistent in its outreach, communications, and engagement. A strong marketing strategy for your virtual event will give you what you need to grab and maintain donors’ attention from a distance. Use these essential strategies to maximize support and push your organization closer to achieving its fundraising goals. Good luck!

This guide explores how you can make the most out of Microsoft Ad Grants for nonprofits.

Microsoft Ad Grants: The Complete Guide for Nonprofits

Microsoft Advertising is empowering nonprofits to enhance their digital marketing presence with its new Ad Grant program. Similar to Google Grants, Microsoft Ad Grants offers approved organizations a monthly grant to advertise their web content across their network.

With an additional $3,000 in their advertising budget, participating nonprofits can create ads that target mission-relevant keywords that supporters are searching for online. The ultimate goal is to inspire prospects to take meaningful actions like donating or volunteering.

While the $3,000 Microsoft Grant might look small compared to Google’s mighty $10,000 grant, it presents an incredibly valuable opportunity to nonprofits. The program’s minimal restrictions mean organizations can easily reach a whole new audience they’re likely not targeting through Google Ads.

To help you create a foolproof Microsoft Grant management strategy, we’ll explore these core topics:

Here at Getting Attention, we specialize in Google Ad Grant and Microsoft Grant management. As this new program develops, we’re staying on top of its growth and striving to help nonprofits fulfill their digital marketing potential. We help nonprofits make the most of the program, including everything from applying to creating powerful ads for your cause.

If you’re ready to learn more, let’s dive in!

Get a free consultation to talk about your Microsoft Grant management strategy.

This section explains what Microsoft Ad Grants are.

What are Microsoft Ad Grants?

Through the Microsoft Ad Grant program, Microsoft offers approved nonprofits $3,000 a month to spend on ads on its owned and operated digital search and native advertising platform. This includes all platforms within its network, including Bing, Yahoo, AOL,, MSN, and Microsoft Edge.

Nonprofits must undergo an application process to participate. Any organization that’s approved can then create ads that target mission-centric keywords and drive users to get involved in their cause, like this example:

This screenshot shows what an ad funded by Microsoft Ad Grants looks like.

Unlike the Google Ad Grant program, Microsoft provides real money rather than ad credits through its corporate giving program. The monthly grant allocation is applied to your existing paid account. This puts nonprofit advertisers on the same playing field as traditional, paid Microsoft Ad accounts.

The program empowers nonprofits to effectively drive meaningful conversions through search ads, like:

While only available to U.S.-based nonprofits, Microsoft is planning to extend the program to other areas like Australia, Canada, France, Israel, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom in the future.

Microsoft Ad Grants and Google Ad Grants have several differences.

How Do Microsoft Grants Differ from Google Grants?

While similar to Google Grants, there are key differences between Google’s program and Microsoft Ad Grants. Your end goals may be the same (e.g. you want to increase donations, secure more sponsors, or boost event registrations). However, the two programs can help you achieve these goals in different ways.

Before getting started, make sure you understand these core differences between the two programs:

This chart outlines how Microsoft Ad Grants and Google Ad Grants vary.

Budget and competition

The Microsoft Ad Grant is $3,000 per month, while the Google Ad Grant is $10,000.

While notably lower, competition for Microsoft’s search engines is much lower, which makes $3,000 just as valuable when you craft your campaigns carefully.

How ads are displayed

Google marks ads with bold text that say ‘Ad’ alongside the title, while Microsoft marks ads with non-bold text in the meta description. Ads on Microsoft’s search engines are less apparent, which can lead to a better search experience for users that prefer interacting with organic results rather than paid ones.

Ad credits

While Google provides its grant in the form of ad credits, Microsoft provides advertisers with real money.

This means that advertisers in the Microsoft Grant network won’t have their ads pushed down lower in search results by paid accounts. This puts everyone on a level playing field and makes it easier for nonprofits in the Ad Grant program to actually compete for valuable keywords.


Users within Google and Microsoft’s search networks tend to vary slightly. For starters, Microsoft can help you connect with 44 million searchers who aren’t on Google. Beyond this, there are a few key differences between the two networks.

According to research on Microsoft’s network, people in their U.S. search network tend to be:

  • Wealthier. 41% of Microsoft users have a household income in the top 25%.
  • Older. 71% of users are 35 years or older, skewing the average age higher than Google’s users.
  • Bigger spenders. People within the Microsoft Search Network spend more online than the average searcher by 32%. What that means for nonprofits is that they have more generous spending habits than Google’s users, making them more like to give to charity.
  • College graduates. 48% of users in the Microsoft Search Network have a college degree.
  • In committed relationships. Half of Microsoft’s users are married.

Ultimately, knowing the relevant audience for each platform will allow you to choose which one will connect you with the right prospects. Then, you can develop ads that target those different audience segments.


Google restricts Ad Grant accounts by placing their ads below paid ads and requires them to meet ongoing eligibility requirements.

Microsoft differs in that it has very few restrictions and no limitations on impression share since it’s on the same level as paid ads. This makes it easier for nonprofit advertisers to reach more users and target bottom-of-the-funnel search terms.

Targeting features

Microsoft allows advertisers to target specific audiences with more granular targeting strategies. For instance, you can target users based on device type and also opt not to display campaign ads on desktops.

Takeaway: Both programs can be incredibly beneficial to your cause. As we’ll explore later, your best bet for maximizing your marketing potential is to participate in both programs. How you leverage the two programs should differ though, so you can take advantage of each platform’s unique quirks.

There are several reasons you should apply for Microsoft Ad Grants.

The Benefits of Microsoft Ad Grants

If your nonprofit is active online and would benefit from improving its digital marketing, applying for the Microsoft Ad Grant should be a no-brainer!

Free funding is certainly one of the main perks of the program, but the benefits run deeper than that. For instance, participating will allow you to:

Here's how Microsoft Ad Grants can launch your mission forward.

  • Boost awareness for your mission. Tap into Microsoft’s network of 653 million PC users and even more mobile users. Microsoft Ads also reach up to 40% of the U.S. search market, making it easy to tap into audiences you might not already reach.
  • Attract qualified supporters. When conducting research on its search network, Microsoft found that its users tend to be older, wealthier, and more likely to spend money online. In fact, 34% of its users have a household income in the top 25%, leaving them with income to spend on worthwhile causes. With in-depth targeting features, you can connect with different supporter personas.
  • Increase visibility on search engines. The Microsoft Ad Grant program makes it easy to create high-performing campaigns. Considering that the Microsoft Grant provides real dollars rather than unused search inventory, nonprofit ads won’t be pushed down by paying advertisers. And with a higher impression share than Google Ad Grants, nonprofit advertisers can actually show up for high-quality keywords that will drive more support for their work.

Backed by the Microsoft Grant, you can ultimately create ads that will help you push your mission forward. After all, plenty of your current and prospective supporters are likely searching for topics related to your mission online. Leveraging your Microsoft Ad Grant funds effectively will help you connect with those individuals more efficiently and maximize your support base.

Let's walk through the application process for Microsoft Grants.

How to Apply for the Microsoft Ad Grant Program

To get started with Microsoft Ad Grants, nonprofits must undergo a vetting process that gives them access to the program and an arsenal of other Microsoft products. The process is simple and will look familiar to people who have previously applied for the Google Grant.

To apply for the program, you’ll need to follow these basic steps:

Applying for Microsoft Ad Grants is an easy process.

1. Meet the eligibility criteria.

Microsoft limits which organizations are eligible for the program. The reason behind this isn’t to make it difficult to join by any means. Rather, it’s intended to ensure anyone who participates will actually benefit from the program.

For now, the program is only available to U.S. organizations. However, Microsoft is looking to open up the program to Australia, Canada, France, Israel, Netherlands, and United Kingdom in the future.

Beyond location, here are the criteria they require all participating organizations to meet:

  • Type of organization: Organizations must be nonprofit or non-governmental organizations with recognized legal status in their country. For instance, U.S. organizations must be registered as 501(c)(3) organizations with the IRS. Microsoft also allows public libraries that don’t charge residents within a given community and public museums that conserve and exhibit tangible objects to participate.
  • Mission: Organizations must operate on a not-for-profit basis and have a mission to benefit the local community. For example, they might work to provide social welfare, preserve culture, or promote human rights.
  • Non-discrimination: Any participating organizations must not have a discriminatory mission or policies. This is intended to uphold Microsoft’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity. Examples of discriminatory policies could include discrimination in hiring, compensation, training, promotion, termination, retirement, programs, activities, or services.
  • Website content: Applicants must have a functional nonprofit website that provides adequate details about the organization and its mission. In the case of Microsoft Ad Grants, this helps them determine whether there’s content that’s valuable enough to be promoted through the program.

Considering that Microsoft is offering $3,000 in free funding, it only makes sense that they’d want to make sure grantees will drive value from participating.

Not to mention, any nonprofits participating in the program reflect on Microsoft as well, as with any corporate giving initiative. For instance, allowing an organization that has a reputation for discrimination could easily fall back on Microsoft for allowing its ads to be run.

One of the main benefits of the program is its lack of restrictions when compared to Google Ad Grants. Once they meet these initial eligibility requirements, there’s not much more they need to do to stay compliant with the program.

2. Apply for Microsoft for Nonprofits.

Before applying for the Microsoft Ad Grant, you need to register for their nonprofit program.

Once you determine your organization’s eligibility, you can sign up for Microsoft for Nonprofits. Note that the individual completing registration must be an employee or strategic volunteer of the nonprofit.

You’ll provide details about your role and organization, agree to the nonprofit discount and donation policies, and verify your contact information.

Completing this step should only take around 10 minutes. Plus, Microsoft moves through applications rather quickly. While they say registration review may take up to 7 days, Microsoft For Nonprofits typically gets back to applicants via email within about 24 hours.

3. Complete the Microsoft Ad Grants application.

To apply for Microsoft Ad Grants, you'll need to fill out the application in the Nonprofit Hub.

Once approved for the Microsoft for Nonprofits program, you’ll gain access to a variety of free and discounted Microsoft products and programs, including the Ad Grants application.

Applying for Microsoft Ad Grants is incredibly straightforward. Visit the Microsoft Nonprofit Hub to access the application. Then, fill out some additional information about your organization and role.

After submitting your application, you should receive an email confirming acceptance into the program within 10 business days. This timeframe can vary based on your nonprofit’s responsiveness to requests for additional documentation.

4. Set up your first campaign with a Microsoft representative.

Considering this is a fairly new program, Microsoft has a few ground rules for getting started to make sure nonprofits start off on the right foot. Instead of leaving you to fend for yourself, they require you to set up a time with one of their representatives to get started.

They’ll work with you to set up your first campaign and ensure your ads and keywords are set up correctly. From here, you’re free to start creating ads on your own, using your initial campaign as a reference point.

Follow these tips to make the most of the Microsoft Ad Grant.

Tips for Effective Microsoft Grant Management

While the program is fairly new, there are some emerging best practices you can already follow to make the most of the program. Some of these will take a bit of practice to leverage effectively, but once you get the hang of things, you’ll start to see better results for your campaigns.

Leverage action-based conversion extensions.

Similar to ad extensions for Google Ads, Microsoft Ads allows you to expand your ads with extensions. You can combine ad extensions, giving readers multiple options to choose from.

For instance, callout extensions allow you to add a snippet of non-clickable text that highlights key points about your organization. Sitelink extensions enable you to link to additional pages on your site, giving readers additional ways to engage with your cause.

Another valuable extension is Action Extensions. Action Extensions act as CTAs for your ads. Essentially, they tell the readers exactly what next steps to take to get involved. That way, you can encourage prospects to take the next step in their support journey.

Any Action Extensions you use will be clickable and appear next to your ad’s description. As of today, you can choose from a list of 62 different options, including (but not limited to):

  • Donate
  • Apply now
  • Learn more
  • Subscribe

Take a look at how the Salvation Army leverages multiple ad extensions to stand out among other search results:

This graphic explains the different types of Microsoft Ad Grant extensions.

Using extensions can drastically increase your CTR and conversion rates. They tell readers exactly what to do next once they’re inspired by your ad!

Set up Universal Event Tracking.

Universal Event Tracking (UET) is a powerful tool that monitors what your customers do on your website. You simply create your UET tag, place it on your website, and let Microsoft Advertising do the rest when it comes to tracking actions on your site.

By setting up UET, you can unlock features that will help you better understand your audience and what drives them to interact with your cause. In turn, you can level up your ads and make them more targeted. For instance, you can enable:

  • Conversion tracking. Track a variety of custom conversion goals, such as donations, event registrations, the number of people that visit a specific section on your site, and plenty more. By closely monitoring the effectiveness of your ads, you can make tweaks and determine what drives more conversions over time.
  • Audience targeting. Set up criteria for who can and can’t see your ad. This makes it so your ad will only be shown to users you’ve determined are likely to get involved. For instance, use in-market audiences to target curated lists of customers who have shown purchase intent signals within a particular category, or use remarketing lists to target users who have previously interacted with your site. You can also combine multiple targeting strategies to reach the most qualified customers.
  • Automated bidding strategies. Tap into Microsoft’s automated bidding strategies to ease the manual labor required to maintain your account and maximize your ad spend. Choose from bidding options for different keywords. For instance, the maximize conversions bidding strategy will adjust your bids to help you get as many clicks as possible. The maximize clicks bidding strategy will help you increase ad clicks. You can also use target ROAS, which sets your bids to achieve your target return on ad spend (ROAS).

UET unlocks a ton of additional tools for your ads that you won’t want to overlook. While they may seem complicated at first glance, you can always turn to a Microsoft Grants professional to manage your account and leverage these features for you!

Create separate strategies for Microsoft Grants and Google Grants.

While very similar, Microsoft Ad Grants and Google Grants do have their differences. It can be tempting to target the same keywords and replicate the same ads. However, you’ll likely see better results by varying the campaigns you create on the two platforms.

Remember, you have different audiences across search engines and different capabilities across these advertising platforms. Optimizing a Google Grant account looks a bit different from optimizing a Microsoft Ad Grant account. Here are a couple of ways you can vary your campaigns:

  • Target high-volume, top-of-the-sales-funnel keywords with Google. Microsoft has a higher impression share and cheaper costs per clicks (CPCs), so this makes it easier to target more specific buying terms that are lower in the sales funnel.
  • Create ads targeted toward different audiences. Based on your mission, you might take different angles to appeal to different groups through your ads. Determine how your cause would appeal to the audiences within the Microsoft Search Network compared to Google. Remember, users within the Microsoft Search Network tend to be young, big spenders, wealthy, college graduates, and in committed relationships.

Both programs are incredibly valuable, and your organization should take advantage of free funding. Create strategies that play to each advertising platform’s strengths, and you’ll drive more value through your ads!

Rely on Microsoft Ad Grant experts to manage your advertising for you.

How to Work with a Microsoft Grants Expert

There’s no doubt that Microsoft Ad Grants are an incredible asset to your nonprofit’s marketing strategy. However, learning the intricacies of the Microsoft Advertising platform can take time. Many nonprofits simply don’t have the time to spare for conducting keyword research, crafting well-written ads, or monitoring campaign success.

That’s why we recommend outsourcing the work to a dedicated Microsoft Grant agency, like Getting Attention. Professionals can guide you through everything from your application to ongoing account maintenance, reducing the manual labor required by your team.

Some of our core services include:

Our Microsoft Ad Grant professionals offer these services.

  • Eligibility Check: We’ll compare your organization against Microsoft’s eligibility requirements. That way, you can get approved for the program the first time.
  • Application: Upon eligibility verification, we’ll walk you through the application process. Note that Microsoft currently requires nonprofit staff and volunteers to apply on behalf of the nonprofit, but we’ll make sure you have everything you need to breeze through the process.
  • Keyword Research: We’ll conduct thorough keyword research, ensuring that you’re targeting the most valuable search terms for your cause.
  • Landing Page Optimizations: High-quality content is one of the primary components of your ads. We’ll relaunch the landing pages you want to promote using your Microsoft Ad Grant and even handle the design work!
  • Ad Creation: We’ll write compelling ad copy and enable action extensions that drive more users to get involved.
  • Campaign Performance Tracking: We’ll monitor the results of your campaigns and continue tweaking your ads to generate better results based on your goals.

While we’ve historically worked with the Google Ad Grant program, the new Microsoft Ads for Social Impact program is emerging as a strong force in the digital marketing world. We’re committed to staying on top of the program, so our nonprofit clients can push their missions forward using some of the world’s most popular search engines.

Even if you need support in areas not mentioned on our website, we’re happy to chat about our experience with any additional services you need. Reach out to learn how Getting Attention’s Microsoft Ad Grant services can help take your digital marketing to the next level!

Explore these additional resources to continue improving your Microsoft Ad Grants strategy.

Additional Resources

The Microsoft Ads for Social Impact program is a powerful opportunity for any organization that’s looking to strengthen its digital marketing strategy. While fairly new, the program is already gaining quite a bit of traction, so get ahead of the competition by applying as soon as possible.

Between finding mission-centric keywords and crafting high-performing landing pages, there’s a lot of work that goes into maintaining your Microsoft Ad Grant account.

We highly recommend devoting one of your team member’s time to managing your account. Alternatively, turn to a trusted Microsoft Grants expert to minimize the amount of time your team needs to spend and maximize the success of your campaigns. Our experts here at Getting Attention are prepared to help you get the most out of your monthly $3,000.

With plenty of research and a well-thought-out strategy, you’re well on your way to crafting inspiring ads through Microsoft Advertising. If you want to continue research or you’re curious about how to market your mission more effectively online, check out these additional resources:

Take charge of your Microsoft Grants management with a free consultation with Getting Attention.

3 Methods for Measuring Your Nonprofit’s Investment Success

Is your nonprofit’s investment strategy paying off? Understanding your investment portfolio’s performance is critical to establishing a healthy budget, determining future fundraising strategies, and providing a meaningful snapshot to stakeholders.

When evaluating your nonprofit investment performance, it’s essential to consider the following factors:

  1. Return on Investment (ROI)
  2. Risk
  3. Liquidity

By combining these methods, you’ll be able to take a holistic view of your investment approach and make the best possible decisions for the success of your organization and community at large. Let’s dive in!

1. Return on Investment (ROI)

According to NPOInfo, return on investment (ROI) represents the total revenue your organization gains over the total investment cost, including the principal amount and ongoing fees.

When looking at your nonprofit’s investment success, return on investment is the most important measurement to consider. For nonprofits, we recommend looking at your ROI through two different lenses: ROI over a period of time and ROI compared to the market.

ROI Over a Period of Time

ROI over a period of time considers both capital gains and dividends and can be used to analyze the overall performance of a nonprofit’s investment portfolio.

To calculate ROI over a period of time, simply divide your investment return (current value minus investment cost) by the cost of your initial investment. 

ROI = (Investment Return / Investment Cost) × 100%

For example, if you invested $100,000 in a mutual fund and it gained 10% over the course of a year, your ROI would be 10%.

ROI Compared to the Market

ROI compared to the market is a way to measure how well your investments performed compared to a benchmark index. In this sense, it focuses on the difference between the return you earned and the return you could have earned by investing in a low-cost, passive benchmark index.

For example, if the S&P 500 gained 10% over a year, and your investment earned 13%, your ROI compared to the market would be 3%. 

Additionally, as inflation rates rise, you should compare your ROI against current rates. If inflation is at 9%, but your investment account returns 8%, your fund is actively losing its value, and you should reconsider your investment strategy.

2. Risk

In addition to ROI, you should consider the riskiness of your investments when evaluating your investment performance. A successful high-risk investment strategy can quickly become a very unsuccessful one.

While measuring the risk of your investment strategy is a complex process, for nonprofits, we recommend you begin by evaluating it in two forms: volatility and drawdowns.


Volatility is a calculation of how much your investments fluctuate in value over time. Measuring volatility can help your organization understand the predictability of an investment fund’s growth. For example, a fund that gained 10% one year, lost 12% the following year, and gained 16% in a third year would be considered an unpredictable and thus volatile investment. 

Volatility is particularly important to consider with short-term, time-bound investments where you can’t wait for the value to swing upward before removing the funds. However, in general, the higher the volatility, the higher the risk. 


A drawdown tells you how much an investment or fund has lost in value over a specific period of time. Drawdowns are important to consider in your performance analysis because they provide historical insight into how much your investments can lose. Much like volatility, the higher the drawdown, the higher the risk.

Generally, a diversified portfolio, alongside ongoing fundraising activities, such as events, donations, and matching gifts, will help your nonprofit reduce the potential risk in your investment portfolio and perform better long-term. For example, if you have a portfolio diversified across multiple asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, and cash, your overall investment is less likely to suffer if one of those assets performs poorly.

3. Liquidity

As an investment performance metric, liquidity tells you how easily you can convert your investment into cash and access your money in an emergency. While not all your funds will be liquid, nonprofits should aim to have an easily-accessible reserve fund of nine to twelve months of their operating budget in a conservative and diversified portfolio.

Endowment funds, for instance, often carry restrictions that regulate the amount your organization can withdraw each year and where that money can go. Similarly, if you have a portfolio that is composed of only stocks, you may have a difficult time quickly converting your investments into cash in the case of an emergency. On the other hand, if you have a portfolio composed of cash and bonds, you will likely have an easier time converting your investments into cash.

To measure liquidity, consider the percentage of your investment portfolio that is composed of cash and cash equivalents. For example, if you have a portfolio consisting of 50% cash and 50% stocks, your portfolio would be considered 50% liquid.

The Bottom Line

By measuring return on investment, risk, and liquidity, you will be able to get a clearer picture of how your nonprofit’s investments are performing.

However, for many nonprofits with limited resources, this information can often be challenging to find, share, and act on. To improve transparency and accessibility as well as increase your investing success, it’s important to consider the investment tools you use. Infinite Giving’s guide to nonprofit reserve funds recommends that you ask the following questions of providers when considering where to invest your funds:

  • How will you support my nonprofit’s goals?
  • What are the associated service and investment fees? 
  • How do I access, deposit, and withdraw funds?
  • What security features do you offer?
  • What investment portfolio options do you offer?
  • Can I generate and share custom reports with my stakeholders?
  • Do you offer accessible customer service and expert advice?

With the right investment tools and measurement strategies, you can better engage key stakeholders and donors, make financially sound investment decisions, generate more income for your organization, and make a greater impact in your community.

Motivate your employees to work towards a good cause with these four corporate giving events

4 Corporate Giving Events That Teams of Any Size Can Host


Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the concept that corporations are responsible for addressing social and environmental concerns to make the world a better place. Corporate giving, which falls under the umbrella of corporate social responsibility, allows businesses to contribute to organizations that promote social good (usually nonprofit organizations). Typically, companies organize events encouraging employee giving to maximize their contribution and impact.

Corporate giving directly benefits the nonprofit partner’s worthwhile causes, and these programs can also help your business. For example, after a corporate giving event, your business might enjoy positive publicity from participating in philanthropic activities. This is known as cause marketing and can improve your business’s reputation in your community.

These four corporate giving event ideas can help your business promote social good and take advantage of the benefits of CSR:

  1. Athletic Shoe Drive Fundraiser
  2. In-Kind Donation Drives
  3. Auction Fundraiser
  4. Fun Run

Giving back to your community doesn’t have to be costly or require a large team of volunteers. There are impactful corporate giving events that any team can take part in, no matter what size they are. Let’s dive in!

1. Athletic Shoe Drive Fundraiser

By participating in a Sneakers4Good program, your running store or gym collects gently worn, used and new running shoes to raise money. Encourage your employees to bring in their athletic shoes, and place collection materials in your store or gym to collect sneakers from customers as well.

These fundraisers are very simple. According to Sneakers4Funds’ guide to donating running shoes, you can breakdown the process into four steps:

  • Step 1: Collect gently worn, used and new running shoes from your customers and community.
  • Step 2: Fill shipping bags with the shoes you collect.
  • Step 3: Take the shoe bags to your nearest UPS store to ship to your fundraising coordinator.
  • Step 4: Receive a check in the mail after your shoes are processed and donate the funds to your nonprofit partner.

The Sneakers4Good program is quick and easy to put together, especially if your business works with a facilitator like Sneakers4Funds. Because these fundraisers don’t require a significant investment of time or money, smaller running stores and gyms can still raise money to donate to a worthy cause.

2. In-Kind Donation Drives

In-kind donations are non-financial contributions that businesses or individuals make to mission-driven organizations. These donations usually include supplies or goods the organization needs to further its mission. Here are a few common ways to make in-kind donations:

  • Donating school supplies to a local school
  • Contributing canned goods to a food bank
  • Giving toys to children’s nonprofits during the holiday season
  • Donating running shoes to a sneaker recycling program

Businesses often donate their own products or services to nonprofits and other mission-driven organizations. To increase your business’s impact, market the opportunity to donate items to a mission-driven organization to your customers and employees.

3. Auction Fundraiser

Auctions are a popular corporate giving event. The suspense, fast-paced action, and competition of these events make them one of the most exciting ways to drive employee giving. To make the experience even better for participants, you can add a creative twist to a traditional auction fundraiser.

For example, consider trying one of these innovative ways to host an auction:

  • Silent auction. During a silent auction, guests place bids on items by writing them down on paper or submitting them through the event’s online auction website. According to Handbid’s guide to silent auctions, using an auction website or software to facilitate bidding helps eliminate common issues with paper biddings like illegible handwriting or lost bids. You can pair the auction with another event, like a gala, to make the auction even more exciting.
  • Virtual auction. Virtual auctions take place entirely online, which makes ironing out logistical details much more manageable. You can choose to host the auction over a single night on a synchronous video call with participants or allow participants to bid on the items on your auction site over a few days or weeks.
  • Holiday auction. Take advantage of the “season of giving” during the holidays by creating a holiday-themed auction. Decorate your location with ribbons, bows, and tinsel, and create holiday-themed gift baskets for participants to bid on at the auction. You can even pair this with other holiday activities like cookie decorating or gift swaps to boost the holiday fun.

Many factors go into making an auction successful, including your bidding solution, auction items, and, most importantly, the guests who will bid on the items. Market the event to your employees and customers to drive attendance at your auction.

4. Fun Run

Fun runs are a great way to raise money for a good cause and encourage participants to be active. These events are fairly simple, and all you need is the space to host the run and willing participants. The “fun” element of these runs adds a fun, customizable twist on the traditional 5K race.

If you decide to organize a fun run, consider these tips when planning your event:

  • Stay organized. While simple, this event still has several moving parts you need to track. To ensure nothing slips through the cracks, use a platform like Google’s G Suite to organize your work and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with team members and vendors.
  • Choose an engaging theme. The best part of a fun run is that the “fun” element can be anything. For example, you might schedule the race for October and encourage runners to wear Halloween costumes. Make sure to choose a theme your staff, customers, and other attendees will enjoy.
  • Give your participants fundraising tips. Give participants tips and pointers about the best ways to fundraise for your cause, like leveraging social media to reach members of their social networks who want to give. This can help your participants generate more funds to power your corporate giving program so you can maximize your business’s impact.
  • Invite additional guests. Remind participants to invite other guests (like their friends and family members) to cheer them on as they run. Provide opportunities for these guests to contribute to your cause by adding donation collection tables so you can generate additional revenue outside of your staff and customers’ contributions.

In addition to inviting guests to watch the event, you can also connect with other groups in your community. For example, you could ask your local running club to get involved to boost participation in your event.

Corporate giving events are a great opportunity to bring your business and community together to collect donations that will go to a good cause. Whether you host a shoe drive fundraiser to collect running shoes or organize a fun run, you can make corporate giving events engaging for your staff, customers, and other supporters.

About the Author: Wayne Elsey, Founder and CEO of Sneakers4Funds

Photo of Wayne Elsey Wayne Elsey is the founder and CEO of Elsey Enterprises (EE) and a member of the Forbes Business Development Council. Among his various independent brands, he is also the founder and CEO of Sneakers4Funds, which is a social enterprise that helps schools, churches, nonprofits, individuals and other organizations raise funds while helping to support micro-enterprise (small business) opportunities in developing nations.

Data Hygiene: Keeping Your Donor Database Clean

Data Hygiene: Keeping Your Donor Database Clean

Imagine a monthly donor contributes to your organization’s latest campaign. When they signed up for your monthly giving program, they listed their address as “123 Smith Street.” However, when they gave their additional contribution, they listed their address as “123 Smith St.” 

At first, this may not seem like a very big deal. Both addresses are technically correct, so what’s the harm? The issue is that when this information is entered into your CRM, your system may create a new profile. If your CRM doesn’t alert you to duplicates, this may go unnoticed.

The result? You could forget to thank the supporter or accidentally solicit another donation at an inappropriate time. This can lead to upset or insulted donors, hurting your organization’s donor retention and reputation. 

Unclean data is unusable data. Keep your donor database clean and organized to ensure you’re reaching out to the right people at the right time to build stronger relationships. 

This means you’ll need to re-examine your data at regular intervals. In this guide, we’ve laid out the activities you should complete to ensure your data is up to date and the timelines on which you should complete these activities. All of these insights are taken from Bloomerang’s donor management ebook and are designed to help nonprofits do more with the information they collect. 

Maintain the information you collect on a daily or weekly basis.

On a daily or weekly basis, your nonprofit needs to maintain the information you collect and save in your donor database. We recommend setting a dedicated time on your calendar either daily or weekly to conduct the updates that need to be done on a regular basis. 

Some of these regular maintenance activities include: 

  • Entering new data. You should record new information gained from interactions with donors, notes from meetings, and data from surveys and other engagement metrics in your CRM as soon as possible. 
  • Updating existing data. Your donors’ lives change on a regular basis. If you encounter these changes, go ahead and update your database to reflect them! For example, your donors might get married, change their names, move homes, get new jobs, etc. Updating records that are pulled by your billing software for recurring payments is particularly important to keep transactions running smoothly.
  • Backing up your database. Some donor database software automatically updates your organization’s data to the cloud or a hard drive. However, they don’t all do so! To avoid losing important information about your supporters and fundraising efforts in the event of a crash, be sure you back up this information as frequently as possible.

If you have integrated systems, some of these input and information updates will occur automatically. For example, if your donation forms integrate with your donor database, the information collected as people contribute to your cause will be automatically uploaded into your database. If not, you’ll need to manually pull files from your donation system and upload them to your CRM. 

Perform monthly maintenance activities. 

You may not perform other maintenance activities on a daily or weekly basis, but you should keep up with them frequently to keep the data in your database clean. Performing monthly data hygiene activities not only helps keep your information clean, but it also keeps your staff members updated with the latest information about your organization and its campaigns. 

Complete the following activities on a monthly basis: 

  • Identify and merge duplicate records. Remember the example we cited earlier on about a donor writing “St” instead of “Street” in their address? Simply formatting information in a different way or having a typo in a form can lead to an accidental duplication of a record in your CRM system. Regularly identify and merge these duplicate records to be sure all supporter information is kept in a single location, allowing you to reach out to them and build relationships based on the most accurate data. 
  • Run reports to update your team members. You keep more than donor data in your nonprofit CRM. Consider which metrics are most important to your organization, your supporters, and your team members. Generally, these are the metrics most directly tied to your organization’s goals. Pull reports regarding your progress and share them with your team members so they know if they’re achieving their goals.
  • Review fundraising campaign activity. Some of your more specific goals for your organization may involve your various fundraising campaigns and activities. Whether you’re hosting a capital campaign, monthly recurring gift campaign, peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, or a one-time event, keep your staff members informed about the progress of your various initiatives by reviewing your activity. This keeps them motivated and determined to reach those specific goals. 
  • Review your LYBUNT and SYBUNT lists. LYBUNT and SYBUNT stand for “last year but unfortunately not this” and “some year but unfortunately not this,” referring to when donors contributed to your organization. These are the supporters you’re trying to re-engage now instead of later. Because the recapture rate for lapsed donors rests around 4%, these lists should be kept up to date to prevent losing supporters to begin with. 

Performing monthly check-ins is not only important for your donor data hygiene, but it’s also the key to keeping your team updated with the latest information regarding your goals and initiatives. Block off a time on your calendar each month to report on necessary metrics and check in on your donor data. 

Revisit your strategic plan every three to six months.

Revisit your strategic plan. Don’t wait until the end of the year to determine if you’re hitting your goals. If you’re not performing to your expectations, you can make tweaks or changes to ensure that your campaign is a success by year’s end.

Every quarter or biannually at your nonprofit, there are several large-scale updates that you should make to ensure your fundraising team is working with the most accurate and descriptive information possible and that this information is being leveraged to its fullest potential to help your nonprofit achieve its goals. For example, donor data can help inform how much your development director should be raising

Invest in advanced data services to build out the information in your donor database and create more complete pictures of your supporters. 

According to NPOInfo’s guide, there are three main types of appending services that you can use to get a more comprehensive picture of your supporters: 

  • Forward services add new information about your supporters based on what you already know. For example, from someone’s full name and address, you can find information such as their birthday or their phone number. 
  • Reverse services allow you to fill in the gaps in your current information based on what you have. For example, if you have a phone number for a supporter, you can reverse append information such as their full name and email address. 
  • Fractional appending allows your nonprofit to sort data to find the specific information you need and add it to your database. For instance, if you have a supporter’s email address and name, you can use that to compile a number of data points about that supporter, and choose what you need to add— such as their birthday. 

Gathering information is one of the most useful tools that you can use to reach your supporters and show them you care. You can further personalize communications with them to craft the most applicable messages and engage them further. 

Next, revisit your strategic plan to be sure you’re on track to hit your annual goals.

Make sure you’re on track to hit your nonprofit’s goals. If you wait until the end of the year to check out how well you kept to your strategic plan, it’s more challenging to identify where your campaigns and activities may have fallen short of expectations.

However, if you check in on a regular basis, you’ll be able to determine where your team is off track and adjust your plans accordingly. This will help you make sure you achieve and hopefully exceed all of your goals by the end of the year. 

Update your database frequently.

On a frequent basis, you’ll need to update your database with some of the important changes that occur on a less frequent basis. For example, conduct updates such as: 

  • Run an NCOA update. On average, 10% of Americans move each year. This means you’ll need to update address information for an average of 10% of your donor database on an annual basis. Use the National Change of Address database to be sure you have the latest address information for your supporters.
    • Run a deceased suppression. If a donor hasn’t given in the last two years, the chances that they will return to your organization to give again is around 2.2%. Therefore, instead of using your energy to recapture these lost donors, focus on retaining the supporters you still have! Purge your donor list of those who haven’t donated to (or engaged with) your cause in more than three years, except for those who have volunteered or those who are board members. According to one study, 16% of donors lapsed because they passed away. A deceased suppression will alert you to anyone in your database that has passed away. Removing deceased individuals from your mailing list can save you the embarrassment of appearing insensitive to a surviving spouse or household member who is receiving mail addressed to their deceased loved one. 
  • Update business partner information. While businesses don’t generally move or change quite as frequently as individuals, you should still make sure you have the updated information for each of your for-profit partners. Update your contact information and revisit their social responsibility policies to see if you can strengthen the partnership, providing and deriving additional value for both parties. 

On an annual basis, you should also review and update your organization’s policies for data management. Standardize the way that you enter information and abbreviate words (Street vs. St.), and assign who is responsible for making what updates. Then, train your staff members so they can make these updates. This reduces the potential for human error and ensures data is being used effectively. 

Data is only valuable for your nonprofit if it’s clean and tidy. Then, you can leverage it for segmentation, personalization, and to build relationships with donors. Use these best practices on the suggested timeline above to be sure your organization is effectively sorting, organizing, and updating the information you store about supporters. 

Three people talking as one works on a computer

6 Common Challenges with Marketing and How To Solve Them

Finding new ways to reach and engage donors is a continual challenge for nonprofit marketing professionals. Effective marketing requires being creative, staying aware of ongoing trends, and navigating obstacles efficiently. Of course, there are still several common challenges that most nonprofits’ marketing strategies will encounter.

Facing challenges is a normal part of the marketing process, and what matters most is how your nonprofit responds to them. Do you first devote more time and resources to the problem? Attempt to minimize its impacts? Hold a meeting to reevaluate your nonprofit’s strategy?

Each of these approaches can be the correct solution depending on the specific challenge and the resources your team has to invest in resolving it at that time. Of course, the first step to overcoming many common challenges is to conduct research and determine if an equally common solution already exists. To help your nonprofit with that research, this article will explore six common marketing challenges:

  1. Lack of a Defined Audience
  2. Unclear Lead Sources
  3. Unready Website
  4. Data Silos
  5. Poor Follow-Up
  6. Attaining Board Buy-In

For most nonprofits, the most common marketing challenges will be related to their digital strategy. This article will explore specific strategies for overcoming these problems, though keep in mind that often the most effective approach to technology-related issues will be reassessing how your nonprofit uses software and potentially investing in a new solution.

1. Lack of Defined Audience

Who is your nonprofit marketing to? While your marketing team may be aiming to attract a wide variety of audiences, creating materials that are too broad can inadvertently limit the number of supporters who will take interest in your nonprofit.

To define your audience, first assess your current supporters. Identify their shared characteristics, such as demographics, engagement trends, and interests. Use this information to divide your audience into several unique groups with similar goals, problems, and motivations. By defining multiple audiences, you will be able to better tailor your messages to each group, increasing the likelihood they will engage with your content.

Additionally, try varying your marketing strategies depending on the group you are targeting. Remember, not every supporter needs to be invited to every event, participate in every fundraiser, or read every article your nonprofit creates. For example, you may hold a gala specifically for your older major donors, as well as a 5K targeting younger, more active supporters.

2. Unclear Lead Sources

A marketing campaign is effective if it earns your nonprofit new leads who later become donors or volunteers. If your nonprofit lacks an established framework for tracking leads, it can be difficult to determine if your marketing campaigns were successful.

Use lead-tracking methods and resources such as:

  • Tracking links
  • Analytics tools
  • Donor survey questions
  • Referrals

Track clickthrough rates and popular landing pages to discover which links are resulting in supporters visiting your website and which of your pages are the most successful at attracting supporters.

Other marketing materials may require taking a more indirect tracking approach. For example, perhaps your nonprofit creates a matching gift video promoting corporate giving opportunities and includes it on your website homepage. Some donors who immediately apply for a matching gift may have been influenced by your video, while others may have done so independently.

To determine the video’s effectiveness, nonprofits could compare the overall volume of matching gift applications before and after posting the video to check if there was a notable increase. Alternatively, the nonprofit could create a follow up survey specifically for completed matching gift applications with a question asking how they learned about the matching gift process.

3. Unready Website

Your website is one of your strongest marketing tools, providing donors with key information about your nonprofit and leading them towards converting. A website that looks unprofessional, is difficult to navigate, or is generally unengaging can negatively impact the extensive work put into your external marketing materials.

If your website has a high bounce rate, session times, or low conversions, you may need to update it. To leverage your website as a marketing tool, ensure that it is:

  • User-friendly. Your website’s navigation should be as intuitive as possible. Improving your website’s interface often requires an outside perspective to understand how new visitors are most likely to interpret your navigation. To create a more user-friendly interface, gather a group of volunteers and run tests such as card-sorting. Ask volunteers to reach a certain page and narrate their thought process aloud, providing insight into the decisions and assumptions a person may make while navigating your website.
  • Optimized for mobile. Optimizing your website for mobile ensures your audience will be able to use your website no matter what device they are using. Most CMSs will automatically create mobile-friendly versions of your webpages. However, it can be worthwhile to take the time to adjust the mobile version of your pages further to reduce load times, streamline navigation, and minimize scrolling.
  • SEO ready. You can increase organic traffic to your website by improving your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. SEO best practices can increase the chances that your content will appear on the search results page for keywords related to your nonprofit. You can improve your SEO by creating content, such as blog articles, that are optimized for keywords your supporters are likely to search. For example, an animal shelter might write an article for their blog that’s optimized for the keyword “local no-kill shelters.”

If your nonprofit is in need of a new website, DNL OmniMedia’s nonprofit website design guide recommends partnering with a consultant.

A nonprofit marketing and website design consulting service can create a new website designed to your nonprofit’s specifications that also makes use of marketing best practices. For example, consultants will have insight into where to strategically place calls to action, what images best inspire action, and how you can create campaign pages that will be shared across social media.

4. Data Silos

Your nonprofit collects data from a variety of sources and sends messages to numerous staff members to take action on that data. However, nonprofits are often slowed down or experience outright interruptions in their work due to data not moving as it should and instead getting siloed in specific databases or systems.

Data silos are a common occurrence and can be particularly challenging if they occur during a marketing campaign. As your outreach efforts require receiving and sending an extensive amount of messages, it is essential that internal feedback, donor messages, and engagement data all flows to your marketing team as quickly as possible.

You can prevent data silos by integrating your various software solutions. This ensures information in one database will be automatically updated in another system, rather than requiring a manual migration. Some platforms, such as Salesforce NPSP, can integrate with a wide variety of native and third-party applications, making it easier to synchronize your software and eliminate data silos.

5. Poor Follow-Up

Once your marketing campaign attracts a new donor, what steps does your nonprofit take afterwards? Nonprofits that only focus on the initial conversion and have limited follow-up are unlikely to significantly grow their donors’ value or make long-term connections necessary for cultivating major gifts.

For each of your marketing strategies, ensure you have a follow-up procedure in place. This can be as straightforward as sending automatic thank you messages to donors who give under a specific amount and flagging donors who give over that threshold for additional follow up, such as a thank you card or phone call.

This applies to fundraisers and events, as well. After participating in an advocacy campaign, peer-to-peer fundraiser, virtual gala, silent auction, or any other activity your nonprofit hosted, reach out to donors to thank them for their participation and provide next steps to continuing their involvement with your nonprofit.

You can improve your follow-up by using an email authoring tool. These tools allow you to construct follow up emails and welcome series for each event or campaign you host. You can also create separate emails for those who didn’t participate, invoking a sense of FOMO that will provide another call to action to attend your next opportunity.

6. Attaining Board Buy-In

When planning a new marketing campaign, ensure that one of your strongest assets, your board, is being leveraged to improve your campaigns rather than acting as an obstacle. When launching a new marketing campaign, include your board in your stakeholders to consider to help attain their buy-in early on.

While planning your marketing campaign, consider strategies for getting your board involved and how you can pitch these strategies to your board members. Some board members will naturally be more ready to help with your fundraising campaigns than others, but there are several steps you can take to make your board more fundraising-friendly overall. These include:

  • Setting expectations. Does your board already think of fundraising as one of their responsibilities? If not, consider how you can reset expectations to get them more involved in your marketing strategy. In your board members’ job descriptions, ensure you include specific details about how you expect them to contribute to fundraising. Then, when presenting a new campaign, write out a description for how you would like board members to get involved and have specific roles in mind that you can delegate to each member.
  • Addressing common concerns. Board members often hesitate to take part in fundraisers due to common concerns and misconceptions about marketing. For example, a board member may express that they wouldn’t know what to say when conducting outreach. You could address this concern by providing board members with fundraising scripts, conducting orientation sessions, and walking them through the details of your marketing plan.
  • Providing resources. Marketing and fundraising are ultimately skills, and you can help your board attain them by providing necessary resources. These can include basic tools all of your board members will likely appreciate, such as message templates and scripts, and more intensive solutions for specific members, such as training courses. NXUnite’s guide to fundraising training suggests looking for workshops tailored specifically to board members, which can help them manage their board responsibilities and fundraising work, as well.

Making your board a part of your outreach strategy can lend your marketing campaigns additional credibility and access to new networks. Work with board members to tailor your marketing approach to specific donors they have a connection with, improving your ability to steward major giving prospects.

Marketing is often resource-intensive, requiring a significant amount of your budget and time to acquire new donors. To ensure your marketing efforts lead to a high return on your investment, have strategies in place to overcome common challenges, from defining your audience and ensuring you have internal buy-in to preparing your software for your next campaign.

Carl Diesing Author Photo

Author: Carl Diesing, Managing Director

Carl co-founded DNL OmniMedia in 2006 and has grown the team to accommodate clients with on-going web development projects. Together DNL OmniMedia has worked with over 100 organizations to assist them with accomplishing their online goals. As Managing Director of DNL OmniMedia, Carl works with nonprofits and their technology to foster fundraising, create awareness, cure disease, and solve social issues. Carl lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife Sarah and their two children Charlie and Evelyn.

Nonprofit Website Design Made Easy: A Digital Guide

Your nonprofit’s website is a powerful tool to expand your reach. With more and more people spending time online, your website can help you gain supporters from all over the world and make people more passionate about your cause. However, if your website doesn’t stand out from the crowd, it’ll be much more difficult for your organization to prove that it’s worthy of people’s support.

A tried and true way to improve your website’s digital presence is through designing an engaging website. With a well-designed website, you can maximize support and increase revenue, helping your organization better reach its goals.

Web design can be an easy process for anyone, even for people without previous design or technical experience. In this guide, we’ll walk through how to streamline the entire website development process. Use these key tips to create a well-designed website:

With a strong website, your organization can effectively market itself and turn casual site visitors into loyal supporters. Let’s begin.

Choose a nonprofit website builder.

A content management system (CMS), or a nonprofit website builder, can streamline the design process so your nonprofit can focus on creating great content. The right website builder will offer nonprofit-specific features that enhance the user’s experience and offer all the tools you’ll need to engage supporters effectively.

To support your programming and fundraising efforts (and grow your supporter base), choose a nonprofit website builder with the following features:

  • Embedded forms. Your nonprofit will need forms for a variety of purposes, such as facilitating event sign-ups, collecting donations and contact information, and more. Rather than sending your supporters to an external website, your nonprofit website builder should allow you to easily create forms directly on your website.
  • Social media integration. Social media integrations can help your nonprofit easily advertise fundraisers and programs so current supporters can stay in-the-know and new supporters can learn about your organization.
  • Customizable templates. Coming up with a website theme on your own can be difficult, which is why a website builder with built-in templates is a must-have in order to simplify the process. The right website builder will allow you to use their templates and adjust them to match your nonprofit’s unique style, allowing your nonprofit to stand out online.
  • User-friendly interface. If your site has a slow loading speed and is hard to navigate, you might face a significant drop in support. Your website builder should come with accessibility features—like a straightforward layout and accessibility widget—that promote a positive user experience and encourage users to interact with your site’s content.
  • Blog. To engage supporters and keep them informed, you should actively maintain a blog on your website. Here, you can post new projects your nonprofit is working on, spotlight volunteers or people who have been positively impacted by your nonprofit, and upload educational guides to help people learn about your mission. Choose a website builder that allows you to create and customize a blog roll.

Getting started with all these tools might take time and require additional support. Your nonprofit website builder should offer training on how to use its system as well as live support from web developers. This way, you can use these features as efficiently as possible and reduce your stress.

Brand your website.

By customizing your website to be unique to your nonprofit, you’ll be able to build brand recognition and help supporters feel more connected to your organization. With added brand awareness, site visitors will start to see your organization as credible and will be more likely to turn into loyal supporters.

Include the following features to boost your branding strategy and create a professional-looking website:

  • Color scheme. Pick colors that work well together and use them throughout your website. This will create a consistent feel that ties your website together. Your colors should make your website visually appealing and help users feel more engaged with your content. If possible, choose colors that relate to your organization’s values. For example, if you’re an environmental organization, colors like brown and green give an earthy feel, which will help supporters feel more connected to your cause.
  • Font. Use the same one or two fonts throughout your website to create a seamless reading experience. For instance, you can use one font for all the headers and another font for the body text. Choose fonts that are legible and have a clean, professional look.
  • Layout. Each page on your website should have the same general layout to create a unified appearance. Use your website builder to create a custom layout that will automatically apply to each webpage.
  • Logo. Create a simple yet effective design that conveys your organization’s values and allows someone to easily recognize that this logo belongs to your nonprofit. Once you have a well-designed logo, display this prominently at the top of your website to help build brand visibility and strengthen relationships with supporters.

Remember that the key to developing your brand is simplicity. If you make your web design complicated or distracting, users will be more likely to click away from your website. Create a clean design that intrigues users but allows them to focus on your website’s content.

Create event landing pages.

Your nonprofit will likely host events and fundraisers to help advance your mission. In order to effectively market your event, you’ll need well-designed event landing pages. An event landing page is a designated page that gives supporters a complete overview of your event. This way, existing and new supporters can easily learn about your event and sign up.

To make your event landing pages visually appealing and informative, include:

  • Time and place. Put this information boldly on your event landing page and include a countdown clock, so supporters know exactly when and where your event is taking place. If you’re hosting a virtual event, be sure to include details on how to access it, such as a Zoom conferencing link and password if needed.
  • Topic of event. Let supporters know the general details of your event and why it’s taking place. Be sure to emphasize how the funds raised from this event will benefit the community.
  • Branding. Your event landing page should feature the same branding style as the rest of your website. Include consistent font, color scheme, and page layout so donors recognize that this event is being run by your organization.
  • Registration form. Help donors sign up easily for your event by embedding a registration form onto the event landing page. This streamlines the process and makes it more likely supporters will fill out each prompt. Make it clear if your event requires an entrance fee, then include a billing information prompt in your registration form.

Your event landing page should motivate people to sign up, so get creative and point out all the highlights of your event. Tailor your event landing page to your audience so you can appeal to their interests and compel them to want to join in on the fun.

Optimize your website for mobile devices.

By extending your website’s reach to mobile users, you’ll be able to get more people to learn about your nonprofit and bring in more donations. After all, people are spending more time on their phones than ever. Why not prioritize your audience’s convenience so they can engage with your website right from the palm of their hand?

According to Morweb, the best nonprofit websites include the following mobile-friendly features:

  • Appropriately sized text and visuals. No matter what size screen your users are on, they should be able to clearly see your website’s content. This means that all images and text should automatically resize to fit smaller screens and maintain the website’s readability.
  • Easy-to-complete forms. All forms—especially your donation page—should be accessible and quick to fill out for mobile users. People using mobile devices shouldn’t have to do too much pinching or scrolling to fill out their information.
  • Clickable buttons and links. All buttons and links should work for mobile users and take them to the appropriate place on your website.

Not sure how to optimize your website for mobile devices? No sweat! The right website builder will automatically optimize your website for mobile devices so all users can engage with your content.

Create a strong donation page.

In order to develop an effective online fundraising strategy, you’ll need a well-designed donation page. A donation page that is accessible and visually appealing will attract more donations and help your nonprofit boost its revenue. Plus, donors who have a positive experience on your page will be more likely to give again,

Your donation page should include the following to maximize support:

  • Visuals. Include photos of volunteers, staff, or people your nonprofit has positively impacted. This helps build credibility for your organization and humanizes it so donors can better connect with your nonprofit. Plus, providing a photo or video of someone directly benefiting from your nonprofit lets donors see how their funds will be used. Under these visuals, write a few sentences telling this person’s story to help your supporters emotionally connect with your cause.
  • Limited number of prompts. Your donors should be able to quickly fill out your donation page. Stick to the most important information, like name, phone number or email, and billing information. You can always ask for more information once you’ve retained people as loyal supporters.
  • Matching gifts tool. Did you know there’s an easy way to double (or triple) your donations? By adding a matching gifts tool to your donation page, donors can easily search if their employer has a matching gifts program and whether they’re eligible. If they’re eligible, donors’ contributions will be matched by their company, increasing their impact and the revenue your nonprofit will receive. According to 360MatchPro’s fundraising statistics, an estimated $2 to $3 billion is donated through matching gift programs annually. This is a great opportunity for your nonprofit to strengthen its fundraising strategy and give donors a more rewarding donation experience.
  • Payment processor. In order to safely transfer donors’ funds to your nonprofit, you’ll need a nonprofit payment processor. A payment processor protects donors’ billing information so they can feel confident giving to your organization. Plus, you can feel confident knowing that you’ll receive all donated funds.

As with all of your nonprofit’s webpages, make sure to use consistent branding on your donation page. Branding builds credibility and will help drive more site visitors to your page so you can increase revenue. As a result, your nonprofit will be able to better reach its goals.

The Gist

Nonprofit website design doesn’t have to be complicated! The right nonprofit website builder will streamline the process and make it easy to build a beautiful website. With a strong digital presence, your nonprofit can reach more people and take its digital fundraising strategy to the next level. Good luck!

This guide walks through eight tips for designing nonprofit logos.

Our Top 8 Tips and Tricks for Designing Nonprofit Logos

Whether it’s a portrait of a mythical siren in a green circle, a “swoosh,” or a red-and-white Play button, logos are all around us. Many for-profit companies—from local businesses to internationally known brands like Starbucks, Nike, and YouTube—use logos to identify their products and services and sell them to consumers. But nonprofit organizations just as much to gain from a logo as these for-profit businesses!

Your nonprofit’s logo is essential to an effective marketing strategy. It allows your audience to get an idea of who you are and what you stand for with a single glance. Plus, when you add a logo to each of your marketing materials, it helps your mission to stick in their minds.

Every nonprofit can benefit from a well-designed logo, whether your organization is just starting out or has been around for some time and wants to take its branding to the next level.

In this guide, we’ll walk through all you need to know to start designing nonprofit logos, including:

Using the tips and tricks in this guide will put you well on your way to creating the best logo for your nonprofit. If you need help or have questions along the way, don’t hesitate to reach out to nonprofit graphic designers who can work with you on all things related to logos.

Learn what makes a good nonprofit logo.

What Makes a Good Nonprofit Logo?

The most important aspect of a logo is that it reflects what you want your nonprofit’s brand to look like. Branding is what makes your nonprofit stand out in your supporters’ minds, and your logo is the center of that brand. After all, when people talk about “branded communication” or “branded merchandise,” they’re usually referring to something that features an organization’s logo.

When designing your nonprofit’s logo, make sure to use your nonprofit’s brand:

As far as logos are concerned, tone refers to how the design reflects your organization’s mission and values. Your logo influences how your supporters perceive your nonprofit, so you’ll want to make it memorable, impactful, and unique.

To see these ideas in practice, let’s look at an example: the WWF logo. Pandas are one of the most vulnerable animals that the WWF has made it their mission to protect. They’ve been using a panda image in their logo for so long that audiences around the world instantly recognize the design. The organization also uses a similar graphic style and black-and-white color scheme across their website and social media.

The WWF has one of the most recognizable nonprofit logos.

Start designing a nonprofit logo with these eight tips.

8 Tips for Designing Nonprofit Logos

Whether you’re designing your nonprofit’s first logo or your organization is rebranding, you’ll need to put a good amount of time and effort into the process. Get started with these eight helpful tips:

1. Start with your mission statement.

Your nonprofit’s mission statement is the core of all the work you do. So, naturally, you’ll want to express it through your logo design. Supporters should be able to tell, generally, what your nonprofit does with a quick glance.

You can connect your nonprofit’s mission to your logo design by following these three steps:

  • First, carefully read over your nonprofit’s mission and vision statements.
  • Second, write down whatever words, symbols, and images come to mind when you think of your mission.
  • Finally, consider what logo colors could be associated with the ideas you’ve brainstormed.

One example of a nonprofit with a mission-centered logo is Feeding America, whose mission is to ensure equitable access to food for everyone in the United States. The grain stalk “growing” from the two I’s in the logo is a common symbol related to food security. The colors they chose also work well with their mission—green is associated with peace and life, and orange is associated with friendliness and affordability.

Feeding America’s logo places the nonprofit’s mission front and center.

2. Brainstorm on paper before moving to digital design platforms.

When you create your nonprofit’s logo, you have a lot of options in terms of what digital design tools to use. But your most valuable tools might just be a pencil and paper.

In many cases, it’s easier to navigate the features of a digital design tool when you already have a visual reference for what you want the finished product to look like. Plus, if you’re working with a professional graphic designer, you may be able to get your ideas across to them more effectively with a sketch than if you just wrote down or told them your vision for your nonprofit’s logo.

3. Keep it simple, but make sure it stands out.

Good graphic design is all about balance, especially when it comes to creating logos. On one side of the spectrum, you need to make your logo stand out from other similar organizations so that supporters recognize your nonprofit. But on the other side, simpler designs are more memorable and tend to stand the test of time.

The Girl Scouts logo design is a good example of this balance. They use a basic color palette of white, black, and their trademark green in their logo, which is made up of their name and just one shape. But that shape is a trefoil, which is distinctive to the Girl Scouts because it represents the three points of the Girl Scout Promise. The organization makes their logo even more memorable (and delicious!) by selling shortbread Girl Scout Cookies in the trefoil shape.

The Girl Scouts logo is simple but stands out.]

4. Make sure all text is readable.

To make your logo stand out, you might want to write your organization’s name in a unique font, have the words read in a direction other than horizontal, or use standout colors for text. Those ideas are all well and good—as long as you can still read the words easily.

If your logo uses a custom typeface or has vertical or diagonal text, it’s often best to make the words the main focus of the design. Bold text colors are also generally more readable than pastels or light neon shades. But whatever color you choose, make sure it contrasts with the background (light-colored text on a dark background or dark text on a light background tends to work well).

For example, the Trevor Project’s logo does a great job of giving text a unique look but ensuring it’s readable. Whether it’s against a light or dark background, the logo’s orange text is striking and contrasts well. And even with the vertical direction and hidden star, the text is fairly easy to read.

the Trevor Project logo has unique-looking but readable text.

5. Design with your audience in mind.

A good logo design will resonate with your nonprofit’s audience. Besides being able to identify your nonprofit by its logo, your supporters should relate to the logo in some way.

To create a logo your supporters connect with and understand, you’ll want to do some research on these audience-related topics:

  • Demographics, such as age, gender, location, and family status.
  • Psychographics, which refers to your audience’s interests, values, beliefs, and motivations.
  • Direct feedback, because after you make inferences about your audience from their demographic and psychographic characteristics, you can test your logo design on some supporters and adjust it based on their reactions.

The Humane Society of the United States is an example of an organization with a logo design that fits their audience. The logo is shaped like the country where their supporter base primarily lives and includes a variety of animals that audience members may be interested in helping.

The Humane Society has an audience-centered nonprofit logo design.

6. Remember that your first idea may not be your best idea.

You don’t have to make the perfect logo on the first try. When your organization creates its first logo, the design will be more effective if you revise it several times based on feedback from inside and outside your nonprofit. 

Also, if you’re designing a nonprofit logo with your audience in mind, you’ll probably notice that your audience will change over time. Both for-profit and nonprofit organizations will rebrand and roll out new logos when they feel it’s time to adapt to a new social climate. So, keep in mind that your logo will be most effective if it evolves with your audience’s needs and interests.

The YMCA is one nonprofit that has rebranded several times in its long history. The two black-and-red, sharp-edged logos that the organization used throughout the 20th century contrast strongly with the version they started using in 2010. The new logo has softer edges and uses a variety of colors to appeal to modern audiences. Plus, it focuses on the letter Y to emphasize inclusion, but it also includes the acronym YMCA because the organization is still known by both names.

the YMCA used a sharp-edged, bold logo design throughout the 20th century.

The YMCA added a second nonprofit logo with just the letter Y in the 1960s.

The YMCA rebranded in 2010 to a modern nonprofit logo.

7. Create several versions of your logo.

Once you’ve settled on one new logo design, you’ll want to create several versions of it. Each place where you use your logo will have a different amount of available space, so you’ll need a logo that can fit each one. For example, you’ll be able to fit a much larger logo on a t-shirt than you would on a social media graphic.

Designing your logo as a vector will come in handy so you can change its size without affecting image quality. If you need help with this, contact a professional graphic designer. Also, you’ll want a few variations of your logo to fit the aesthetic of each piece of content you create.

To look at an example, the United Way uses several different versions of their nonprofit logo across their marketing materials. They have a main color logo with the organization’s name and a symbol, one with the same elements in black and white, and a version with only the symbol and no text. Each design is obviously a variation on the same theme, but different versions work in different situations. For instance, the black-and-white logo is the easiest to print, and the symbol-only version fits well in tight spaces.

The United Way uses several versions of their nonprofit logo, including this classic one.

The United Way uses several versions of their nonprofit logo, including this black-and-white one.

The United Way uses several versions of their nonprofit logo, including this image-only one.

8. Experiment with your designs in context.

When your logo design is finished, you’ll put it on every piece of marketing content your organization creates, including:

  • Your website
  • Email newsletters
  • Social media posts
  • Branded merchandise
  • Signs or billboards
  • Direct mail
  • Print and digital flyers

To make sure you like how your logo looks and envision how it will fit into each content type, create a few sample designs. Once you come up with some ideas that work well, add the samples to your organization’s brand guide for reference over time.

charity: water is one nonprofit that uses its logo in creative ways across different marketing materials. For example, they used it in place of a title on a flyer that gives an overview of their organization, and they made a physical version of the design to fit into an Instagram photo.

charity: water used their logo as the title of a fundraising flyer.

charity: water made a physical version of their nonprofit logo for an Instagram photo.

These tools can help you design effective nonprofit logos.

Tools to Get Started With Designing Nonprofit Logos

As mentioned previously, there are a number of graphic design tools available to help you create a logo for your nonprofit. Some of our favorites include:

  • Canva
  • DesignMantic
  • Adobe Express

These tools all work well for beginner graphic designers and can easily be used in-house. But if you want to take your logo design to the next level, your best bet is to partner with nonprofit graphic designers.

Kwala is a graphic design service that connects nonprofits with a team of experienced professionals. These designers then work with nonprofits to create logos as well as a variety of other graphics. Their subscription model gives your organization an unlimited number of designs and revisions each month for a flat rate. If you want to try out Kwala’s services before committing to the monthly rate, you can also request a quote on a one-off project.

Design your nonprofit logo using Kwala's services.

Wrapping Up: Additional Logo Design Resources

A strong logo is central to your nonprofit’s branding and marketing, which fuels your ability to make an impact. Ultimately, your logo should reflect your organization’s mission and resonate with your audience. Use the tips in this guide and the resources available to you—particularly the help of nonprofit graphic design experts like those at Kwala—to help create the best logo for your nonprofit.

For more information on nonprofit logo design, check out these resources: