Learn the basics and benefits of nonprofit advertising with this essential guide.

Nonprofit Advertising: The Essential Guide

Nonprofits fundraise, launch campaigns, engage with donors, and host events to drive their missions forward. But without a strategic advertising plan, charitable organizations can’t sustain that momentum and make meaningful change.

Nonprofit advertising is critical if you want to spread the word about your organization, solicit donations, and reach target audiences. While for-profit businesses can afford traditional advertising channels like billboards and commercials, nonprofits with tight budgets might struggle to inspire support towards their causes. Thankfully, nonprofits have low-cost to no-cost advertising options at their disposal.

Getting Attention understands the importance of a well-developed nonprofit advertising plan. Our team of marketing experts are here to champion your nonprofit digital campaigns, keeping costs low and successes high. This guide will walk you through the following topics:

Advertising can help your nonprofit increase awareness and engagement. Ready to learn more? Let’s start with a simple overview.

Take your digital marketing campaigns to the next level with Getting Attention.

Nonprofit advertising makes your mission visible to the world.

What is Nonprofit Advertising?

Nonprofit advertising makes your mission visible to the world. While traditional businesses pay for space to promote a product or service, nonprofits use both paid and non-paid strategies. The goal of any advertising strategy is to connect to your audience, bring awareness to your mission, and inspire action from supporters.

There are a variety of advertising outlets in the nonprofit space. The main platforms that nonprofits use to advertise include:

These are the 5 main platforms that nonprofits use to advertise.

  • Google: Google for Nonprofits is a free resource for qualified nonprofit organizations. It enables nonprofits to communicate, fundraise, network, and advertise more effectively. One of the most popular offerings that this program provides is Google Ad Grants. Google Ad Grants allow nonprofits to compete for paid search terms without any cost.
  • Web: Online advertising includes interactive websites, surveys, social media posts, banner ads, and search ads. An effective web presence provides your nonprofit with round-the-clock coverage. Make sure to place a call-to-action button on your web pages to allow people to donate immediately.
  • Print: Despite the onset of the digital age, print is a powerful medium in advertising. Your print ad must attract attention and quickly explain the importance of your cause. It should be clear, inviting, and informative.
  • Radio/TV: With radio and television, you can target emotions, tell stories, and leave a lasting impact on the audience. Think of the Tootsie Pop “How Many Licks” commercial or the Budweiser “Whassup?!” catch phrase. These campaigns withstood the test of time because they offer storylines the audience can relate and connect to.
  • Community Partnerships: For nonprofits, a community partnership means establishing a working relationship with local businesses, media companies, and others. Building a community partnership with your local media company is a cost-efficient way to share your story and upcoming events.

When used correctly, these platforms have a host of benefits. Here’s what nonprofit advertising can do for you:

  • Raise brand awareness. Advertising channels allow your nonprofit to reach a broader audience than word-of-mouth alone. Through compelling ads, you can connect with potential supporters and stay front-of-mind for existing donors.
  • Generate high-quality conversions. If your ad is powerful enough, you can convert an ordinary viewer into a valuable supporter. Conversions include  newsletter or blog subscriptions, contact form completions, donations, volunteer sign-ups, and shares to social media sites.
  • Grow and maintain thought leadership. Advertising can position your nonprofit as a thought leader in its field. If a nonprofit consistently releases relevant news and industry updates, it will become a go-to resource.

You won’t be able to accomplish the above without strategic advertisements and a well-crafted marketing plan. Keep reading to explore the differences between nonprofit marketing and advertising.

Nonprofit Marketing vs. Nonprofit Advertising

At first glance, marketing and advertising may seem synonymous. However, being able to differentiate between the two will help you achieve your goals. Nonprofit marketing relies on tactics and strategies to amplify an organization’s mission, solicit donations, and attract supporters. Nonprofits use advertising to promote their cause through paid channels. In other words, advertising is a component of marketing.

A nonprofit marketing plan is a dedicated document to help your fundraising team create promotional materials, stay consistent with branding and goals, and reach a target audience effectively. While making this plan, your team should decide between outbound and inbound marketing tactics.

Outbound marketing involves reaching out to consumers to get them interested in your organization. Inbound marketing focuses on creating and distributing content to draw people into your mission. Inbound tactics can include content creation, social media marketing, search engine optimization, and advertising

According to Hubspot’s State of Inbound 2018, 74% of companies globally reported that they’re primarily focused on inbound. Consider using inbound tactics like optimizing your website for SEO or nurturing leads with email marketing. Then, advertise your mission from those platforms.

Now that you know the basics of nonprofit advertising, we’ll dive into how much you should spend on ads.

Let's dive into how much your nonprofit should spend on advertising.

How Much Do Nonprofits Spend on Advertising?

In total, nonprofits spent $5.8 billion in advertising during 2020.Almost 70% of those advertising budgets were devoted to lead generation and new donor acquisition. Throughout the pandemic, the nonprofit industry saw a massive shift towards online fundraising and advertising. Nonprofits spent an average of four cents on digital advertising for every $1 raised online last year.

In the for-profit sector, businesses use ads to increase shareholder value. The purpose of nonprofit ads might be to increase donors, educate the public, or engage with volunteers. That means nonprofit ad spend doesn’t simply drive revenue, it drives impact.

Since impact doesn’t cover the cost of ads, it’s important to establish a detailed budget before each fiscal year. Try to allocate between 5-15% of your budget to marketing. As you build this budget, consider applying for grants to alleviate expenses. Google Ads created their own grant to help nonprofits budget for digital advertising.

Let’s take a look at how you can start advertising your nonprofit.

Here are 6 steps that your team can take to create an effective advertising plan.

How to Advertise Your Nonprofit

Your efforts should be ongoing to maintain engagement, bring in consistent donations, and ensure your work is relevant. Here are 6 steps that your team can take to create an effective advertising plan:

These 6 steps will help your team create an effective advertising plan.

1. Determine goals.

A mission statement summarizes why an organization exists, the audience it serves, and how it serves them in a couple of sentences. Your mission statement should guide your team through determining goals and objectives for advertising campaigns.

First, consider what your organization hopes to accomplish. When creating goals, it’s helpful to use the SMART method:

  • Specific: Your goal should be as narrowly-focused as possible. For instance, a specific goal could be, “We will increase subscriptions to our e-newsletter.”
  • Measurable: Goals are useful when you can quantify their success and progress with a metric. If you notice rates dropping, simply adjust your strategies. “We will increase e-newsletter subscriptions by 50%.”
  • Attainable: Don’t set lofty, unrealistic goals. Look at your past fundraising results and aim for a realistic objective. “We will increase e-newsletter subscriptions by 30%.”
  • Relevant: Your goals should be stepping stones to your ultimate mission. Make sure that every goal you set is tied to a broader marketing goal. “We will increase e-newsletter subscriptions by 30% to retain more donors.”
  • Time-based: Objectives should have a deadline and be monitored regularly. “We will increase e-newsletter subscriptions by 30% by the end of the third quarter to retain more donors.”

By using this method, your goals will drive meaningful conversions and support your nonprofit’s mission. Download our SMART Goals Template to start planning your advertising goals today.

2. Define your target audience.

Your target audience consists of the people you hope to reach through your marketing efforts. For each campaign or event you plan, you should have a specific audience in mind. This audience can include new donors, existing donors, lapsed donors, major donors, and more. Start by collecting the following data to determine your target market:

  • Age: By dividing your ad strategy into specific age groups, you can ensure that you’re getting through to the right audience. A study by the USPS found that ads designed to elicit an emotional response were more effective with younger consumers, while those that describe a product’s function, especially in print format, were relatively more effective with older adults.
  • Location: Implement geo-targeting to provide the most relevant ads to people in your area. Geo-targeting is the practice of targeting visitors online with localized or location-appropriate content based on a visitor’s geographic location.
  • Employment Status and Employer: An individual’s business affiliations can give you an idea of their net worth, potential connections, and ability to donate. Plus, if they work for a company with a matching gift program, you can reach out to begin the gift match process.
  • Communication Preferences: Keep communication preferences in mind when choosing between print, digital, and telemarketing. For instance, young professionals 18 to 34 have one of the best response rates to direct mail campaigns.

These insights can answer the who, what, why, and where of potential supporters. Once you know your audience and their preferences, you can tailor your marketing efforts to reach them and prompt them to take action.

3. Research and choose outlets.

Once you determine your goals and define your target audience, it’s time to choose an advertising outlet. There are countless channels to choose from, but these are some of the most popular:

  • Email: ​​Email is an intimate platform that allows you to connect with supporters on a personal level. Send along a newsletter informing subscribers about new fundraisers, upcoming events, or volunteer opportunities.
  • Website: Your website is likely the first place people go to learn about your mission and where long-term supporters go to give support. Provide engagement opportunities like online giving and subscription sign-ups.
  • Blog: Websites with a dedicated blog drive more traffic and provide resources about your organization. Include calls to action in each blog post to convert visitors into supporters.
  • Social Media: ​​Social media is crucial to a nonprofit’s digital marketing strategy. It allows organization to reach a variety of customers on a consistent basis. Post quick updates and calls to action.
  • Google Ads: Google Ads ensure that your campaigns reach the top of the search engine results page (SERP). The Google Ad Grants program provides $10,000 each month in free Google ad space.

We recommend using a multi-channel approach to marketing. This allows you to use a variety of strategies that work together towards a common goal.

4. Develop key performance indicators.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are metrics that organizations use to measure the progress of their defined goals. KPIs can help your team gauge progress, make informed decisions, and turn metrics into actionable insights.

KPIs measure how an ad campaign performs, so it’s important to set them up before your campaign launches. However, finding the right KPIs to track can be difficult. That’s why we’ve outlined a few top advertising KPIs to follow, using the example of digital advertising:

  • Impressions: Impressions refer to how many times your ad unit was displayed to a user. This metric is related to the top of the marketing funnel and speaks directly to brand awareness.
  • Click-through-rates (CTR): This measures how relevant your ad is to your target audience. If the CTR is low, this means the ads aren’t meeting the searcher’s intent for the target keyword.
  • Bounce Rates: A bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who enter the site and leave (“bounce”) rather than viewing other pages. This can help you understand the quality qualify of your website and if it’s valuable to visitors.
  • Conversion Rate: This is the number of web visitors who complete a desired goal, like make a donation or sign up for a newsletter. If your conversion rate is high, your marketing strategies are working.

These are only a few of the trackable KPIs for digital ad campaigns. It’s important to know your platforms and the types of data that each offers.

5. Create copy.

One of the last steps is content creation. It’s important to make your ad copy stand out from the rest. When creating advertising content, keep the following best practices in mind:

  • Improve relevance. Posting regularly increases engagement and keeps your ads relevant. Another way to stay relevant is to use your supporter’s most popular search query keywords in your ad titles and text.
  • Showcase impact. Make your ads engaging and insightful by showing your organization’s impact. This will keep donors, volunteers, and supporters invested in your mission and encourage them to heed your calls-to-action.
  • Include calls to action. Call-to-action (CTA) buttons prompt readers to show their support and take initiative to further your mission. Keep phrases short and compelling, as in the following example: “Do you want to help children in need? Donate now.”
  • Add compelling visuals. Images, graphics, and videos can spark an emotional reaction in readers and help them to understand complex topics. Ensure that colors and fonts are consistently formatted and visuals are high quality.
  • Make the most of the ad space and characters allotted. Maximize your ad space by using the full allotment of headlines and descriptions. This will make your ads appear larger, increasing the click-through rate and number of visitors arriving to your website.

These quick, simple tricks will help your campaigns reach the right audiences and drive meaningful action. Now you’re ready to launch campaigns!

6. Launch the campaign and track progress.

After you’ve completed the steps above, it’s time to launch your ad campaigns and track progress against concrete, measurable benchmarks. Monitoring your performance is critical. It reveals what works, what doesn’t, and how to improve the effectiveness of future campaigns.

Start by accessing your campaign data and downloading reports. Focus on the KPIs that relate to your campaign goals. Then, compare multiple metrics to find where leads drop off. For example, if the conversion rate for an ad campaign is low, you may need to make the CTAs more attention-grabbing.

Through tracking results, you will gain a sense of what strategies work best to achieve your goals. This process is an effective way to manage your marketing strategies and grow your nonprofit responsibly.

Here's a list of three popular advertising ideas to inspire you.

Nonprofit Advertising Ideas: 3 Popular Options

Even after all that planning, you may still be wondering how to choose the right advertising method for your nonprofit. We’ve compiled a list of three popular advertising ideas to inspire you.

Google Ads

Google Ads allow you to advertise your mission when users search for relevant keywords. Google Ads allow you to advertise your mission when users search for relevant keywords. Paid advertisements appear on the search engine results pages corresponding to your chosen keywords on Google.

The average small business using Google Ads spends between $5,000 and $12,000 per month on Google paid search campaigns. That’s $60,000 to $150,000 of marketing expenses spent on ad-clicks per year.

Thankfully, the Google Ad Grant provides eligible nonprofits with a $10,000 monthly stipend to spend on paid search ads. While regular Google Ad accounts have to pay per ad-click, Google Grant participants can display their advertisements for free. These ads enable your nonprofit to appear on Google when it matters— when someone searches for topics related to your mission.

The ideal Google Ad Grant candidate has a website that effectively serves their audience and promotes their mission. With the Google Ad Grant program for nonprofits, organizations can:

  • Increase online conversions.  
  • Reach out to new donors.  
  • Recruit volunteers.  
  • Market multiple ad campaigns. 
  • Analyze and track performance.  

As long as your organization complies with the eligibility requirements, the allotment renews monthly without a time constraint. For more information on Google Ad Grants, check out this article or contact our team at Getting Attention.

Social Media Ads

Consider implementing social media ads in your future marketing efforts.Consider implementing social media ads in your future marketing efforts. In recent years, social media has become a popular platform to connect with donors and solicit meaningful support. The most popular social media channels include:

  • Instagram: Instagram ads appear throughout the app in users’ feeds, stories, and explore pages. They look similar to normal posts but contain a “sponsored” label. They also have more features than a normal post like links, CTA buttons, and product catalogs. Track Instagram ad performance with insights so you can adjust your strategy to improve over time.
  • Facebook: Facebook offers a range of advertising solutions. You can create and run campaigns, select a target audience, and track performance with easy-to-read reports. Facebook is great for showcasing impact and engaging in conversation with supporters.
  • Twitter: Twitter allows you to choose your target audience and amplify your message. Promoted ads reach a wider group of users. They are the perfect way to share updates and increase visibility.

When using social media to advertise, keep an eye on what’s trending and focus your messaging.Further, 56% of those who support nonprofits through social media say that compelling storytelling motivates them to make a donation. Use real stories and photos from the communities that you’ve helped and the impact you’ve had on individuals to drive the point home.

Direct Mail and Print Campaigns

Direct mail and print campaigns can benefit your marketing strategy.Although the world transitioned into a digital-dominant space, print isn’t dead. Direct mail describes the hard copy requests for funds mailed to your donors and/or prospective donors. These solicitations arrive in your supporters’ mailboxes and provide a tangible connection to your organization. According to a study, donors say that they are more likely to read a piece of direct mail from an organization than an email.

There are plenty of benefits to direct mail and print campaigns, including:

  • Cost Effectiveness: Print campaigns are highly flexible, meaning they’re budget-friendly, too. Most nonprofits can’t afford TV or radio ads. A fractional-page advertisement in the local newspaper is much cheaper.
  • Increased Action: Print is an effective way to spark meaningful action. The Nielsen Global Trust reported that 65% of print readers take some form of action after viewing a newspaper ad.
  • Targeted Audiences: Digital marketing appeals to a broad audience that can be inattentive. However, print marketing is targeted to an audience already interested in your mission. Generally, you should only mail newsletters, magazines, or event registrations to subscribed supporters.

Keep these options in mind when launching your next ad campaign!

It’s no secret that advertising can fuel your nonprofit’s impact. When you manage a Google Ad Grant with a Google Ad Grant professional like Getting Attention, we’ll make sure you have a strong digital marketing strategy. Our team of experts offer free consultations and resources to help your organization expand its reach.

Getting Attention will guide your organization through the Google Ad Grant process, including application, hygiene, reactivation, keyword research, and management. We’re here to champion your nonprofit’s digital campaigns.

If you want to learn more about nonprofit advertising and marketing, explore these additional resources:

Are you interested in a Google Ad Grant? Contact Getting Attention!

What is a Google Ad Grant? Learn more in this guide.

What Is A Google Ad Grant? The Ultimate Guide for Nonprofits

For nearly two decades, Google Ad Grants have helped nonprofit organizations thrive in highly competitive marketing environments. It is a valuable tool that fuels many nonprofits’ missions and supports the growth of organizations. However, if you’ve clicked on this guide, you likely fall within the large population of nonprofits that are unfamiliar with this game-changing opportunity.

Don’t fret! You can still learn all you need to know about Google Ad Grants and begin your application today.

Getting Attention is a trusted expert in bringing new supporters to your website through Google Ad Grant management. In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about the Google Ad Grant Program, including the application process and eligibility requirements. We’re here to clarify your questions and help your nonprofit make the most of its grant.

In this guide, we’ll cover the following foundational information about Google Ad Grants:

Then, at the end of the guide, we’ll provide a few tips to bring your Google Ad Grants strategy to the next level. Let’s get started!

Learn what a Google Ad Grant is and how to optimize your strategy with Getting Attention.

What is a Google Ad Grant?

What is a Google Ad Grant? 

What is a Google Ad Grant? This graphic defines it.

If your nonprofit has a website, the Google Ad Grant is one of the most cost-effective and powerful marketing resources available. The Google Ad Grants Program awards select 501(c)(3) nonprofits with monthly ad credits to create and host advertising campaigns on Google. These free ads allow organizations to amplify their presence on search engine results pages (SERPs) and get their website content in front of the right eyes. 

How much is the Google Grant? 

Since 2003, Google has awarded over $10 billion in free advertising to over 115,000 nonprofits across 51 countries. The Google Ad Grant gives $10,000 in ad spend to eligible nonprofits per month. While regular Google Ad accounts actually have to pay per ad click, Google Grant participants can display their advertisements for free. 

As long as your organization meets and maintains compliance with the eligibility requirements, the allotment renews monthly without a time constraint. But don’t worry if you don’t know how to spend the full $10,000. Google Grant managers from an agency like Getting Attention will ensure you get the most out of your grant by focusing on online conversions and driving measurable results for your organization. 

How do Google Ad Grants work?

Google Ad Grants give nonprofits monthly funds to spend on paid search ads in Google. These ads enable your nonprofit to appear on Google when it matters— when someone searches for topics related to your mission. It’s a great way to educate the public about your cause and grow your audience. 

The ideal Google Ad Grant candidate has a website that effectively serves their audience and promotes their mission. Whether your organization wants to increase event sign-ups or inspire new donors to take action, Google Ad Grants can help you achieve your goals. With the Google Ad Grant program for nonprofits, organizations can:

  • Increase online conversions.
  • Reach out to new donors.
  • Recruit volunteers. 
  • Market multiple ad campaigns.
  • Analyze and track performance.

Paid search ads are shown at the top of the SERP, meaning your nonprofit will have a greater advantage at increasing visibility and connecting with more people. Your nonprofit will choose keywords (abiding by certain guidelines outlined by Google), run campaigns, then track the success of those campaigns using Google Analytics. For more information, read our dedicated article to learn more about how marketing grants work.

What is a Google Ad Grant and who qualifies for them?

Who qualifies for Google Ad Grants?

Before requesting a Google for Nonprofits account, find out if your organization qualifies, what you’ll need for verification, and what to expect throughout the process. If you apply and you’re eligible, you will automatically be approved. 

Every 501(c)(3) nonprofit— other than hospitals, schools, and government organizations— is eligible for the Google Ad Grant. There is no limit on the number of nonprofits who can be approved for the program, unlike traditional grants which often have a limited amount of funds to be dispersed. 

If your nonprofit organization has an established web presence, it doesn’t take much to be eligible for the Google Ad Grant. To meet the eligibility requirements for Google Ad Grants, your organization must: 

Once you understand what a Google Ad Grant is, you can discover whether your nonprofit is eligible.

  • Hold a current and valid nonprofit status (501(c)(3)) 
  • Not be a government entity, healthcare organization, or educational institution
  • Have a functioning and detailed website with few existing ads
  • Install a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) 
  • Agree to the terms of service 

Once you’ve applied for and been awarded the grant, Google has multiple rules for maintaining eligibility. Your organization must remain compliant with the following to continue reaping the benefits of free ads: 

  • No single-word keywords: Google determined that keywords must have at least two or more words to increase relevance. Swap keywords like “conserve” or “water” for complete phrases like “conserve water” or “donate to conserve water.” 
  • No low-quality score keywords: Avoid keywords that have a quality score of 1 or 2 to ensure the results are relevant to searchers. 
  • Maintain 5% minimum click-through rate (CTR): Google requires that Ad Grants accounts maintain a CTR of at least 5% to stay in the program. If the click-through rate is low, this means that the ads aren’t meeting the searcher’s intent for the target keyword. . 
  • Geo-targeting: Only show ads in geographic locations where your organization operates to ensure you’re targeting actual supporters of your nonprofit, rather than a wide, but uninterested audience.
  • Conversion tracking through Google Analytics: Install Google Analytics on your website to set up and track conversions and understand your Google Ads performance.
  • Annual survey: Complete a survey each year to share your experience with the program. 
  • Account structure (minimum of two ad groups): Google requests that you have a minimum of two ad groups (a collection of keywords and ads) for each campaign. 
  • Account maintenance: Google needs to see that your organization is staying active with the account. If you don’t spend any money on the account for a certain period of time, your account may be deactivated. 

If your organization is eligible and looking to take control of a digital marketing strategy, then it is fully recommended to apply. We’ll break down the application process in the next section.

How to Apply for Google Adwords for Nonprofits

The amount of time spent on the application process will depend on your organization’s readiness. If you are already registered with  TechSoup and have a website that meets Google’s requirements, the process should only take 2 to 14 days. If not, your organization will have to jump through a few more hoops to finalize the application. 

Check off these steps before submitting your application for the Google Ad Grant:  

Once you understand what a Google Ad Grant is, you can apply using this application checklist.

  • Register with TechSoup 
  • Sign up for a Google for Nonprofits account 
  • Apply for the Google Ads Grant 
    • Create a Google AdWords Account 
    • Submit a pre-qualification survey and grant training. 
    • Submit required materials for pre-qualification review. 
    • Once approved for pre-qualification, set up your first Google Ads campaign. 
    • Submit your AdWords account for final review. 
    • Once approved, the nonprofit can begin running a Google Ad campaign!

If you’re unsure of where to start, consider working with skilled Google Ad Grant consultants,  like our team at Getting Attention. We can help you save time and avoid potential mistakes that could slow down the process or risk your eligibility.

What is a Google Ad Grant and how can you set your account up for success?

How can you set your Google Ad Grants campaign up for success?

A healthy Google Ad Grant account requires proactive organization and optimization. Take full advantage of your grant by following these best practices for Google Ad Grant management. 

Optimize your website before directing ads to it. 

Rather than focusing on targeting ads, consider what happens once searchers land on your website. A common mistake is to send those users to your homepage, leaving it up to them to find the desired information. Take the time to study your audience— what are their personas, their drivers, and the keywords that resonate with them? What do you want them to do when they arrive at your website?

Create a targeted landing page that corresponds to the next action that you want ad viewers to take. On this landing page, keep the following best practices in mind:

  • Have a compelling headline 
  • Include strong visuals 
  • Share impact stories
  • Add a call-to-action button
  • Adapt to different screen sizes

Targeted landing pages can increase engagement and drive conversions, so it’s important to develop an optimized website with landing pages for each campaign.

Aim to run at least 3 to 5 campaigns. 

With the Google Ad Grant Program, your nonprofit can market multiple ad campaigns at the same time. Take full advantage of this feature by running at least three campaigns. Then you can compare the metrics of each to determine the successes and shortcomings of your marketing strategy. To create easy-to-manage campaigns, make sure to: 

  • Set clear goals
  • Always keep the target audience in mind
  • Use mobile-preferred ads
  • Implement conversion tracking
  • Modify campaigns when needed

These quick, simple tricks will help your campaigns reach the right audiences and drive meaningful action. 

Base each campaign on tightly focused ad groups. 

An ad group contains one or more ads that share similar targets. Each campaign should have multiple ad groups that organize keywords under a common theme, such as the different sections or categories that appear on your website. Ad groups should include at least three ads, with one responsive search ad, an ad that adapts to show more text and relevant messaging to your customers. 

Ad groups should be narrowly focused. For example, if your organization runs a clothing drive campaign, your ad groups should contain a few closely-related keywords and drive a wide variety of related phrases. Examples could include: 

  • “Donate shirts” 
  • “Donate pants” 
  • “Donate shoes” 
  • “Why clothing drives matter”
  • “Clothing drives near me”

Organizing your campaigns in this way simplifies the process of monitoring your account. 

Make the most of the ad space and characters allotted. 

Maximize your ad space by using the full allotment of headlines and descriptions. This will make your ads appear larger, increasing the click-through rate and the number of visitors arriving to your website. As a general rule of thumb, be as descriptive as possible in headlines and ensure your ad descriptions convey exactly what users can expect when they click on them. Follow these tips to write the most effective headlines and ad descriptions: 

  • Include the main keyword in your headline
  • Add numbers and statistics
  • Be clear about what you’re offering
  • Keep your most important messaging in the main headline
  • Check spelling and grammar 
  • Use remaining characters to say something new, not restate information 

Learning to write strong ad copy is essential in growing your campaigns, so make sure you tackle this task! 

Prioritize conversion tracking.

The Google Ad Grants program prioritizes high-quality traffic, rather than just driving a high quantity of users to your website. High-quality conversions happen when searchers take an action like signing up to your organization’s newsletter, donating to your cause, or signing a petition. Google strives to help your team rethink your digital advertising strategy and discover which calls-to-action are most effective at driving a visitor down your funnel of engagement.

Set up and optimize Google Ads conversion tracking to follow which ads drive the most users to take action towards your mission and what type of messaging drives the most engagement. Then, use that information to optimize your future ad campaigns.

What is a Google Ad Grant agency?

Working with a Google Grants Agency

Whether you manage a Google Ad Grant in-house or outsource it to a Google Ad Grant certified professional like Getting Attention, your return on investment will be positive if you prepare a strong digital marketing strategy. 

Getting Attention is a fully certified agency here to guide your organization through the Google Ad Grant process. Our services include:

  • Google Grant Application: Our team of experts can walk you through every step of the way to ensure that your nonprofit is accepted.
  • Google Grant Hygiene: Maintaining your data and keeping it clean can be a pain point for many nonprofits. We’re here to ensure you never have to worry about outdated or unnecessary data bogging down your processes. 
  • Google Grant Reactivation: Has your account been lagging or even suspended? We can help get your account reactivated.
  • Keyword Research: High quality and valuable website content is one of the most important qualities of a successful Google Ad Grants campaign. Make sure that you’re targeting the most relevant and useful keywords with our research team. 
  • Google Grant Management: To determine if your marketing strategies are working, you need to be tracking conversions. We’ll ensure that not only are you on top of your conversions but that you also are tracking the most useful opportunities. 

Getting Attention’s team of experts offers free consultations and resources to help your organization plan a successful campaign strategy.  Reach out to our team today to learn more!

Want to continue your research on Google Ad Grants or learn how to market your mission effectively? Explore these additional resources:

Work with Getting Attention to optimize your Google Ad Grant strategy.

Explore this guide for a comprehensive look at Google Grant eligibility.

Google Grants Eligibility: Is Your Nonprofit Eligible?

If you’re involved in the nonprofit world, you need to know about Google Grants. Google Grants are a digital marketing resource designed to get your nonprofit the attention it needs and deserves in a financially practical way. Through receiving a monthly paid advertisement stipend, your nonprofit will absolutely see a spike in website traffic from Google Search.

While Google Grants is a valuable nonprofit resource, not all nonprofits are eligible to receive the funds. The process to determine eligibility can appear daunting, as can the next steps once you’ve figured out your organization is indeed eligible. That’s what this guide is here for, to clear up any confusion or misconceptions surrounding the Google Grants process. 

At Getting Attention, we specialize in helping nonprofits just like yours secure and strategize for Google Grants. In this guide, we’re going to cover the following points to help your nonprofit determine your eligibility for Google Ad Grants:

  1. What is a Google Grant? 
  2. Google Grants for Nonprofits: Who is eligible for Google Ad Grants? 
  3. How do I get a Google Grant? 

Would Google Grants benefit your nonprofit? Continue reading and we’ll give more program details, as well as help you determine your nonprofit’s eligibility. 

Contact Getting Attention today to elevate your Google Grant strategy.

Before we discuss Google Grant eligibility, what is a Google Grant?

What is a Google Grant? 

Google Grants (also known as Ad Grants or AdWords Grants) are awarded through a  Google-sponsored marketing grant program that gives eligible nonprofits $10,000 monthly in AdWord credits. These credits provide your nonprofit with a free way to advertise at the top of Google search results. 

Unlike most nonprofit grant programs, the Google Grants for Nonprofits program is not constrained by available funds. In other words, all nonprofits with Google Grants eligibility can receive the $10,000 per month— there is no limit to the number of nonprofits who can participate.

What does free advertising on the world’s largest and most popular search engine mean for your nonprofit? You’ll have: 

  • Increased digital visibility and reach 
  • More interactions with your website 
  • Free and amplified promotion to potential donors and volunteers
  • Complimentary analytics on your campaign
  • The ability to market multiple digital campaigns at once

Each of these five benefits come together to drive more awareness for your nonprofit, and in turn, garner more donations. Next, we’ll cover eligibility requirements for the program. 

When it comes to Google Grants eligibility, who is eligible for a grant?

Who is eligible for Google Grants? 

To be eligible for Google Grants, your nonprofit must be in good standing, meaning you are fully registered with your respective country, be located in a country in which Google Grants operates, and meet the full eligibility requirements of your respective country. 

Beyond that criteria, there are three main categories Google looks at when determining a nonprofits Google Grants eligibility: 

This graphic breaks down the three main criteria of Google Grant eligibility.

1. Type of nonprofit organization 

Not every nonprofit can receive Google Grants. In the U.S., for instance, only 501(c)(3) nonprofits are eligible. 501(c)(3) means the Internal Revenue Service recognizes the nonprofit as an official charitable organization and thus exempts it from any federal tax obligations.  

A nonprofit’s specific industry matters, too. The following three sectors are ineligible for Google Grants:  

  • Government: All government-affiliated organizations and entities
  • Healthcare: All hospitals, offices, and other healthcare organizations
  • Education: All schools, academic institutions, and universities

It’s important to note that these eligibility requirements are specific to Google Ad Grants. There are other programs offered by Google, such as Google for Education which offers support to educational institutions, designed for different purposes and thus have different specifications. 

2. Quality of website 

Google also looks at the attributes and quality of a nonprofit’s website to determine the organization’s Google Grants eligibility. This is because the advertisements purchased via Google Grants will send search engine users to the nonprofit’s website, and Google doesn’t want to direct users to ineffective web presences.

When evaluating a website, Google looks for:

  • An owned website: Your organization must own the domain that a Google ad would direct users to when they click on it.
  • A clear and detailed description of the organization, its mission, and its activities: There should be no mystery as to what your nonprofit does and stands for. 
  • Unique website content: Materials on your site should be exclusive to your nonprofit and not found elsewhere on the internet.
  • No broken links or slow loading time, and HTTPS-secured: 
    • Broken links are links that no longer direct to their previously intended destination. Avoid these by constantly checking your linked materials and updating as needed.
    • There are many factors that contribute to slow loading time, and therefore many ways it can be avoided. For instance, opt for smaller images as opposed to larger ones to keep your site running quickly. 
    • HTTPS-secured refers to a website that is encrypted and therefore offers users greater protection and privacy during their browsing. Make sure your website is secured for best results with Google’s quality evaluations. 
  • Noncommercial in nature: Your website must serve the general public, not just those who provide financial contributions. The main purpose of your website cannot be anything commercial. This includes the sale of products and/or services, consultation offers, lead generations, and referral provisions. If anything commercial appears on your website, you must clearly describe how it supports your mission; and in certain cases, you must provide an annual report detailing how your organization used the commercially-obtained funds. 
  • Limited advertisements: All ads must be relevant to your mission and not obtrusive to site users.

In short, make sure your nonprofit owns its website, the site clearly describes your mission and purpose, the site hosts unique content, the site has no broken links or slow loading time and is HTTPS-secured, and is noncommercial. Next, let’s discuss program policies. 

3. Compliance with program policies 

In order to be eligible and remain so for Google Grants, your nonprofit must comply with various program policies set by Google. 

This includes following the Google Ad Grants terms and conditions, standard Google Ads policies, Google’s general terms and conditions, and account management policies.

After determining your Google Grant eligibility, how do you secure a grant?

How do I get a Google Grant? 

So, you’ve determined your organization’s Google Grants eligibility. What’s next? Here are the steps to getting the Google Grant process started:

  1. Register with TechSoup. If you haven’t already, you need to authenticate your nonprofit through TechSoup. It could take a few days, so be sure to factor this step into your timeline. 
  2. Sign up for a Google for Nonprofits account. In order to access Google Ad Grants, your nonprofit needs a Google for Nonprofits account. It’s a straightforward process that involves providing your tax identification number, non-discrimination policies, and general contact and organization information. Plus, this account offers many other nonprofit resources  that your organization can take advantage of. While straightforward, this process could take many months. It’s best to get started as soon as possible. 
  3. Apply for the Google Ads Grant. This is a six-step process that includes the following steps: 
    1. Create a Google AdWords account.
    2. Submit a pre-qualification survey and complete ad grant training.
    3. Submit required materials for pre-qualification review.
    4. Set up your first Google ads campaign once approved for pre-qualification..
    5. Submit your first AdWords campaign for review.
    6. Begin running Google Ad campaigns once approved.

If this process seems a bit overwhelming, relax. Getting Attention specializes in helping nonprofits apply for Google Ad Grants, so reach out today for a free consultation

Can you lose Google Grants eligibility? 

In short, yes.

If your nonprofit doesn’t maintain compliance with the program’s policies, you can absolutely have your eligibility revoked. To avoid that outcome, abide by the following best practices: 

  • Maintain an active account. Google wants to see that you’re making good use of the grant, so log in at least once a month and update your account at least every 90 days. 
  • Target ads in a relevant way to a specific region. Make a recognizable effort to target your desired audience by both topic and region. You want your ads to accurately reflect your nonprofit’s mission as well as reach who your mission is relevant to. 
  • Evaluate keywords monthly. Check your keywords often to see what’s working and what’s not. Based on your evaluation, restrategize as necessary. Additionally, there are a few keyword rules to keep in mind. For example, no single keywords, overly generic keywords, or keywords with a quality score of 1 or 2 are permitted. 
  • Maintain a 5% click-through rate (CTR). Failing to meet 5% CTR for two consecutive months can result in account deactivation. 

Google provides a number of resources to help you meet these account requirements. For example, to improve CTR, you can pause generic and high impression, low CTR keywords. You can also ensure geotargeting is set for each campaign. Don’t worry about having to figure it all out on your own; Google is here to help. 

Have you lost your eligibility? Don’t stress about it too much yet. Google has a clear process for requesting account reactivation. You can partner with a Google Grants consultant to work through the reactivation process.

Partner with a Google Grants agency to understand your nonprofit's Google Grant eligibility.

Wrapping Up 

We know this is a lot of information to take in. Don’t worry, though— you don’t have to navigate Google Grants alone. There are professionals out there who can help you use your Google Grant funding to its fullest potential. 

Oftentimes, nonprofits will look to traditional marketing agencies for their Google Grants needs. However, the Google Grants program is not the same as standard Google Ads. It’s best to look for an agency that specializes specifically in Google Grants.

For example, Getting Attention is qualified to help you every step of the way. Here are just a few of the many services we can offer your nonprofit throughout your Google Grants journey: 

This graphic illustrates the ways Getting Attention can help your nonprofit after you've determined your Google Grant eligibility.

  • Google Grant Application: Our experts can complete the application for you efficiently and effectively, pledging a high success rate for your nonprofit’s acceptance. 
  • Google Grant Hygiene: While you focus on your nonprofit’s mission, we will take care of maintaining your campaign and keyword data. 
  • Google Grant Reactivation: If your account is ever suspended, we can help get your account back up and running. 
  • Keyword Research: The key to a successful Google Grants campaign is choosing the perfect terms to target. Our research team can do the heavy lifting to make sure you’re using the most relevant and effective keywords for your nonprofit. 
  • Grant Management: Accurate conversion tracking is a crucial component of your Google Ad Grants campaigns. In fact, Google requires your nonprofit to report at least one conversion per month. We’ll meet and beat this expectation by tracking conversions as well as taking note of potential valuable opportunities based on our findings. 

Interested? Sign up for your free consultation today and we’ll get to work on shaping up your Google Ad Grants strategy.  

We’ve covered the ins and outs of Google Grants and your nonprofit’s potential eligibility, but that’s not all we have to offer. Review the following resources on the Getting Attention blog to help you take your nonprofit to the next level and meet your mission goals:

Contact Getting Attention today to elevate your Google Grant strategy.


How to Master Volunteer Communications for Your Nonprofit

As a nonprofit professional, you have a lot to juggle: administrative tasks, event planning, fundraising asks, and more. But there’s an important component of your team that helps you push through these challenges and raise your level of success.

These are your volunteers.

Your volunteers make up the backbone of your organization. Without their help, many smaller (but still important!) tasks would be delayed or go unfinished altogether, which could significantly slow down your team’s progress. That’s why prioritizing volunteer engagement is essential. So what’s the best way to keep your volunteers engaged? Communication.

Effective volunteer communication keeps the wheels of your organization turning and ensures volunteers are up-to-date with what needs to be done. That’s why we’ve outlined our top strategies for mastering volunteer communications at your nonprofit:

  1. Make use of social media and email.
  2. Leverage your website.
  3. Make a good first impression.
  4. Regularly check in.
  5. Keep your volunteers updated.
  6. Segment your communications.

Keep your wheels turning and your volunteers engaged with the right kind of communication strategy. Let’s get started.

1. Make use of social media and email.

As you prepare to reach out to both potential and current volunteers, there are two top channels to consider: social media and email. Through social media, you can recruit volunteers, and through email, you can keep them directly updated.

But those are just a few of the benefits of using these channels. Let’s dive more specifically into each so you can get the most out of them.

Social Media

Social media can be used to share your recruitment message, but it’s essential that you don’t just post and walk away. According to the InitLive volunteer management guide, it’s helpful to craft a formal social media campaign. This campaign should outline what your message is and include content that is meaningful to your supporters.

Here are some tips as you prepare to engage with your audience:

  • Be brief. Shorter posts get straight to the point and are easier for readers to digest. This will encourage more engagement from your supporters.
  • Don’t feel the need to post all the time. While regular updates are important, you don’t always need to post multiple times a day. In fact, posting too often might turn off some readers.
  • Post new information. Share content that might not be found on your website or blog, which will add value to the post. For example, offer early access to new opportunities or highlight some of your standout volunteers!

As you share your content, make your recruitment link available on your specific posts and in your page description. Then, you should see more volunteers signing up!


Email is also an important element of volunteer communications. Email not only helps recruit new volunteers, but it also serves as a way to keep your current group of volunteers updated (more on that later!).

Use email outreach to give past volunteers exclusive access to your available volunteer positions. You can even encourage them to share volunteer opportunities with their circle of friends, or offer a referral gift as an additional incentive to get the word out.

There are many ways both social media and email outreach can contribute to a solid volunteer communication strategy. Start by sharing meaningful but relevant content that will boost recruitment numbers, and you’ll be on your way to even more engagement.

2. Leverage your website.

Your website is typically the very first place potential volunteers will go to find out about opportunities with your organization. That’s why you should always keep this information up-to-date, especially if you want to recruit successful volunteers.

Your website will allow you to:

  • Post new volunteer opportunities
  • Offer supporters an easy way to sign up for those opportunities
  • Promote your overall mission

When your website prominently features your organization’s mission and includes clear calls-to-action (CTAs), this will make it easy for supporters to navigate their way to your volunteer opportunities and registration. Even more, a clear and intuitive website will ensure that your volunteers have a basic understanding of your goals and what you need from them.

Once you’ve optimized your website to communicate what it is you need from your volunteers, you’ll be in a better position to communicate with them going forward.

3. Make a good first impression.

Volunteers come to your organization because they believe in your mission. That’s why you should take the time to get to know them, to determine the specific appeal that brought them there and help them learn more.

This starts with your registration process. Use volunteer management software that creates an easy sign-up process and helps you sift through each individual’s information to assign them the best possible fit.

This applies whether you’re organizing an event and need to staff it, or you need people to help with data entry. It’s important to find out what skills your volunteers have and what they would enjoy.

When you clearly communicate with your volunteers and understand what is important to them, you’ll pave the way for a good first impression, happier volunteers, and more work that gets done.

4. Regularly check in.

Even after you’ve successfully recruited volunteers and everything seems to be running smoothly, effective communication doesn’t end there. It’s essential that you regularly check in with your volunteers to keep the engagement going.

For example, you can ask:

  • About any challenges that might have come up
  • If they’re enjoying their role
  • If they’d like to try something else to continue or deepen their involvement

Regular check-ins also include recognition. While it’s probably true that your volunteers aren’t doing this specifically for the glory, it’s important to recognize your volunteers to keep them motivated and ensure they feel appreciated.

Look for ways to communicate your appreciation through social media, email blasts, and even through features on your website. Personalize individual outreach as you say thank you and demonstrate the impact your volunteers have made on your overall goals, whether it relates to fundraising, events, or other tasks. If you’re looking for examples of emails that say thanks, check out these templates, which can be adapted to suit any type of supporter.

Case in point: Regularly keeping up with and recognizing your volunteers will help push your organization closer to achieving its mission. Be sure to openly communicate with them to recognize them for a job well done and make sure they feel fulfilled in their role.

5. Keep your volunteers updated.

Something that’s occasionally overlooked is the idea that volunteers should be treated the same way as your nonprofit’s employees. They offer value, just as your staff does. For that reason, volunteers should know about changes in the organization just like employees do.

Keep volunteers informed and let them know about important developments or challenges that have come up at your nonprofit. In turn, this will help raise engagement and make these individuals feel valued.

You can do this by:

  • Inviting volunteers to certain staff meetings
  • Including them in staff email correspondence
  • Communicating key changes that affect their volunteer positions

The more you involve your volunteers in developments at your nonprofit, the more they’ll feel valued and like they’re a part of your team. This can lead to longer-term engagement and retention, and can also help you build stronger relationships with your volunteers as supporters of your organization.

6. Segment your communications.

We’ve talked about how it’s important to communicate with your volunteers in general and keep them in the loop. However, sometimes certain pieces of information don’t apply to all of your volunteers.

Our last crucial tip for communicating with volunteers at your organization is to segment your communications. InitLive’s volunteer engagement guide notes that sending out irrelevant communications to volunteers will waste their time and lead to frustration.

Just as you would tailor your communications to donors in order to maintain a high donor retention rate, you should also segment your communications for different volunteers so they receive information that’s relevant to them. That way, you won’t waste their time with details that don’t apply to their role or shifts.

In order to do this, consider using a volunteer management solution that helps keep your volunteers updated with automated notifications that apply specifically to them. This way, you’ll be able to keep your volunteers informed, but they won’t need to read every single scheduling issue or other memos that have come up from another team.

The more you respect your volunteers’ time, the more they’ll respect your organization and want to stay involved.

Your volunteers help your organization stay on its feet and keep your day-to-day operations running smoothly. That’s why they deserve to be treated as an essential part of your team, and why communicating with them is so important. Once you’ve mastered your communication strategy with your volunteers, they’ll keep coming back to help you reach your goals.

Be sure to keep these tactics in mind as you build up your volunteer base and continue serving your mission. Best of luck!

7 Steps to Motivating the Actions You Need (Case Study)

Thanks to New York Times  writer Jane Levere, I was pointed to this print ad campaign from Action Against Hunger (AAH). The first ad features a line-up of paper dolls, with one figure much thinner than the others — but no clear call to action. The second ad features this pizza box with mini pizza inside (much less than you and I are used to eating), highlighting that the 3.5 million children under 5 worldwide who die from hunger on annual basis don’t have enough to eat. Readers are asked to visit AAH’s website (for what?) or text in a small donation.

Jane covered the campaign in her advertising column in yesterday’s Times, and called to get my take on the ads — generously designed pro bono by G2 USA — that will run in December issues of high-end consumer magazines including Esquire, Saveur and Harper’s Bazaar. Ultimat Vodka is the cause partner, and purchaser of the ad space (pricy, believe me). Stylistically they’re much like the typical consumer ads in magazines like these — spare, graphically-compelling, more about aesthetics than anything else.

If you read through to the very end of Jane’s column, you’ll see that she quoted my questioning the choice of corporate partner. She also featured my characterization of the ads as abstract in her headline, but what she didn’t include is the balance of my recommendations for productive calls to action, that are far more important. 

Note: It’s common that a journalist focuses on points you made but weren’t what you emphasized or thought were most important. You’re contacted as a subject expert to help the journalist do her job, not to tell the story you want to tell.

Here are seven steps to take to motivate your network to take the actions you need:

1) Abstraction is deadly. Be concrete and specific.

  • The ads are abstract and high-styled, typical of high-end consumer advertising. They mimic the look-and-feel of what I promise you most of the other ads in these magazines will look like, so will be easy to miss.
  • A concept or abstraction is far harder to grasp than a story about an individual like you, or someone you know. Abstraction is a burden on the reader flipping through.  Make it easy.
  • Plus, pizza is not nutritious!

2) Feature a single individual, rather than a group or — far worse — daunting stats that seem absolutely insurmountable.

  • Stats on the enormity of problems like child malnourishment (3.5 million children under 5 perish every year from poor nutrition) are daunting, and tend to generate the response…well, I can’t do anything about a problem that’s so huge.
  • Instead, feature one child who has been restored to health through the proper nutrition. Relating to a single individual enables your network to relate to her — one-to-one — far better than to even a small group of kids. Think about how you relate when speaking to a group of 10, versus a one-to-one conversation.

3) Avoiding negative imagery (a.k.a. starving child) is spot on. But focus on a positive story  — with specifics — of someone who’s life is improved as a result of your organization’s work!

  • Bring her (let’s call her Anna) to life with a photo.
  • Add specific details about how AAH’s work has helped restore Anna to health, and what her day is like now–the “after” (now, everyday after school, Anna plays soccer with the girls and boys in her neighborhood, until her grandmother chases her in to sweep the hut and get dinner started for her four younger brothers and sisters).
  • It’s details like this that make Anna’s story real, and enable your prospects to relate this story to the children in their own lives.

4) Write to a single person (Judy), not the many you hope to motivate to act. This transforms the interchange to a one-to-one; more conversation than lecture.

  • These ads seem written to the “general public.” Can you imagine speaking the words of either one? You’d never do it.
  • Keep a single member of your target audience (let’s call her Judy) clearly in mind as you craft your concept and content — Judy’s wants, values, morning schedule, face, etc. — to connect. Crafting a persona is a valuable and easily doable way to close the gap with your target audiences, and get to know them so you can shape your messages most effectively. Here’s my how-to guide to persona creation.

5) Reach out to Judy’s heart first, head second.

  • The ads are all head, with their abstract imagery and their stats. They are designed to engage a reader via logic.
  • You’ll be much more successful engaging Judy emotionally (so she can immediately gauge whether there is a match, or not). Her emotional connection (or lack thereof) will direct her rational response.

6) Emphasize a clear, easy-to-do call to action.

    • The paper doll ad has no call to action. The pizza ad features a clear call to action but it’s in small type and the last element in the text block. You really have to work to find it.
    • Any outreach without a clear, doable call to action is a waste. You don’t have to convert (motivate her to give, sign, volunteer) Judy in any one call to action, but you do want to move her forward to the next step.
    • If you want Judy to take that next step, you have to ask her to do so. And make it easy for your her to find and digest the call to action — large and simply-stated is the way to go.

7) Start at the end and work backwards. What is the benchmark you’re trying to hit with the specific marketing project you’re working on now?

    • I’m unsure what AAH is going accomplish with these ads. Building awareness is a valid high-level goal, but is not a benchmark (can’t be measured).
    • There is a chance that AAH will bring folks in the door for the first time, but if they don’t text that $10 contribution, there’s no way they can follow up with these potential supporters.

I want to emphasize that this ad space was an opportunity that AAH was right to accept — premium timing in premium media.

Also, it’s often challenging to direct pro bono contributions, especially on the creative side. Jane Levere cites the originality of the creative direction for focusing on abstract images, rather than those of starving children — that the ads are something that magazine readers are likely not to have seen before for a nonprofit. However, they’re similar to all the consumer ads that run in those media — so are likely to be overlooked. It could have been much different: I see many nonprofit campaigns that are original, sophisticated and effective — in imagery and content — without using the “starving child” approach.

Do these ads work to engage you, and would you be motivated to visit the AAH website or make a text donation? If not, what would you change to increase the effectiveness of these ads?