Learn everything you need to know about Google Ad Grants for nonprofits in this guide.

Google Ad Grants for Nonprofits: The Complete Guide for 2023

Google Ad Grants for nonprofits are an incredible marketing and fundraising opportunity rolled into one. Created in 2003, the program was designed to help nonprofits amplify their most important content and effectively reach larger pools of donors, volunteers, and advocates.

By equipping eligible organizations with $10,000 in ad credits per month to reach out to supporters online, the Google Ad Grant program enables nonprofits worldwide to see a phenomenal increase in website activity and digital conversions. 

Even though the program has been around for almost two decades now, there are still plenty of nonprofits out there that aren’t taking advantage of this powerful program. If your nonprofit wants to thrive in this modern space and leverage your website to push your mission forward, starting with Google Ad Grants will establish a secure and dependable marketing foundation in which your organization can grow.

Chances are, you fall into one of three areas: you already have an account but need help leveraging all of its capabilities, your account has started to lag and you want to reinvigorate it, or you don’t have an account at all. Whatever your situation may be, you’re in the right place! This ultimate guide to Google Ad Grants for nonprofits will teach you about:

Here at Getting Attention, we specialize in Google Ad Grants management in hopes of empowering nonprofits to take full advantage of the program. We dedicate our time to learning the rules of the program and the latest best practices for maximizing ad campaigns. That way, our nonprofit partners can amplify their work and connect with a larger pool of motivated prospects.

Without further ado, let’s dive in!

Contact us at Getting Attention to enhance your Google Ad Grants management.
This section will review the fundamentals of Google Ad Grants for nonprofits.

Google Ad Grants for Nonprofits: The Basics

Before deciding if Google Ad Grants are a smart investment of your time, make sure you have a solid grasp of the fundamentals, starting with what Google Ads are. That way, you can understand how the program will fit into your current strategic goals.

What Are Google Ads?

Formerly known as Google AdWords, Google Ads is a digital marketing solution that businesses and nonprofits use to promote their products, services, and other marketing content to web users. The platform strategically places ads on Google’s search engine results pages for the keywords advertisers bid on. The program allows advertisers to choose specific goals for their ads, such as increasing website visits or phone calls.

The Google Ad Grant program is a free version of Google Ads for select charitable organizations. There are stricter guidelines to be a part of this program since access is given as an in-kind donation.

What Are Google Ad Grants?

The Google Ad Grants program gives eligible nonprofits $10,000 in free advertising credits every month. Organizations can use their grant money to bid on different keywords and promote specific pages on their website through text-based ads. Most often, these pages include donation pages, service pages, and educational content that align with user intent for the search term. So long as the organization complies with the program’s rules, the grant will automatically reactivate each month.

Ads are placed strategically on the search engine results pages for keywords they bid on. For example, when you look up a term or question on Google — like “ocean conservation” — you’ll get tons of results for educational articles and news stories. Along with these results, you’ll run into advertisements at the top and bottom of the page that promote content from nonprofits dedicated to supporting this cause. Some of these are donation pages, whereas others are service pages that explain the organization’s work.

Here's an example of a nonprofit putting its Google Ad Grants to use.

The program’s overall goal is to enable organizations to increase awareness of their causes in an effort to make a greater impact on the world. Think of it as your secret weapon for spreading awareness for your cause, expanding your donor and volunteer network, sharing essential updates with your supporters, and ranking higher on Google.

Bottom line: If you’re looking to increase marketing for your charitable organization, Google Ad Grants for nonprofits will allow you to do so without spending a single penny.

Are Google Ad Grants free for nonprofits?

Yes, participating in the Google Ad Grants program is free to eligible organizations! All you have to do is meet the program’s eligibility criteria, apply, set up campaigns that align with the keyword requirements, and keep your account compliant with the Google Ad Grant rules.

While the program’s entirely free, creating and maintaining your account will take substantial time and effort. To truly be successful, you’ll need to either devote a staff member’s time to managing your ad campaigns OR outsource the work to a Google Ad Grants manager. We recommend turning to an agency that will handle the application process, ad campaign creation, account hygiene, and ongoing compliance. That way, you can sit back and focus on how you’ll engage the new prospects who find you through your ads.

These are the most common use cases for Google Ad Grants.

Potential Use Cases For Google Ad Grants

These are the types of landing pages you should prioritize when building your Google Ad Grants management strategy.

The Google Ad Grant program is about much more than driving traffic to your website. When you think critically about the pages you want to promote, you can create carefully-targeted ads that promote your events, inform people about your cause, and recruit passionate supporters to power your mission.

Effective Google Ad Grants management empowers nonprofits to:

  • Inform and educate the public by promoting educational content.
  • Increase the visibility of their upcoming events like webinars, conferences, and 5Ks.
  • Share volunteer registration forms and other volunteer-related content to boost recruitment.
  • Promote advocacy activities like online petitions.
  • Share donation and sponsorship opportunities to increase funding.
  • Provide information about any of the organization’s services.

You can promote a wide range of content with Google Ad Grants. Just think carefully about how the pages you choose to amplify will support your nonprofit’s goals.

Let's take a look at the advantages of leveraging Google Ad Grants for nonprofits.

The Benefits of Effective Google Ad Grants Management

If your nonprofit has a website and is active online, applying for a Google Ad Grant is the next natural step for your marketing strategy. After all, current and prospective supporters are likely already looking up topics related to your mission.

While free funding and connecting with new supporters is undoubtedly a plus, what are the specific benefits of the Google Ad Grant program? Let’s dive into a few advantages that nonprofits experience when they invest time into effective Google Ad Grants management.

These are the most common reasons nonprofits create a Google Ad Grants management strategy.

Benefit 1) Boost Site Engagement.

You spend time creating valuable content on your nonprofit’s website. Naturally, you want people to see the most important content that also aligns with their goals. Google Ad Grants allow you to direct readers to the pages that they’ll find most valuable, thus improving the user experience.

By analyzing the search intent for different search terms, you can pinpoint what content they’ll find most valuable. For instance, someone who searches “animal shelter volunteering” will obviously be a strong prospect for your volunteer program. In that case, you’d want to use your Google Ad Grant money to promote your site’s ‘Volunteer’ page where they can explore upcoming volunteer events.

Benefit 2) Increase Online Conversions.

The goal of Google Ad Grants for nonprofits is to amplify worthwhile causes on a larger scale and inspire more people to get involved. For data-focused nonprofits, this can be translated into tracking conversions. Backed by a strategic Google Ad Grants management plan, you can effectively create and promote forms and pages that help you boost conversions for different activities.

Nonprofits most commonly aim to increase online conversions like:

  • Event registrations and ticket sales
  • Donations
  • Volunteer registrations
  • Online petitions
  • Email list signups

Whether you’re focused on becoming well-known in the event space or inciting political change, effective Google Ad Grants management can get you there. As we mentioned, think through the specific pages you promote and how they’ll help you meet your conversion goals.

Benefit 3) Enhance Supporter Communications.

If you work in mission-driven marketing, you know your organization faces the ongoing challenge of increasing email open rates, boosting social media interactions, and generally keeping your supporters informed. This inhibits your ability to spread the word about important initiatives and share crucial updates regarding your work.

Google Ad Grants are a natural addition to your communication strategies. While they certainly don’t replace your need to email and call supporters, they can help increase your visibility online.

You can amplify your web content on Google so that it’s delivered directly to those most likely to support your cause, whether they’re existing supporters or brand new to your cause.

Benefit 4) Learn What Inspires Supporters.

When you leverage Google Ad Grants, you’ll be able to track campaign performance through Google Analytics, view the exact actions users take once they enter your site, and draw conclusions about what inspires them to get involved.

Google Analytics will provide you with in-depth data regarding:

  • The success of your ad campaigns
  • The sources driving visitors to your site
  • The actions users take on your website

In turn, you can optimize your site’s content that you’re promoting via Google Ad Grants, effectively inspiring more users to engage with your cause.

Benefit 5) You Don’t Have to Compete for Funds.

One of the best parts of the Google Ad Grants program is that it’s not like a traditional grant where there is only a limited amount of money to give to one or a select few organizations.

With traditional grants, eligible organizations must compete for the money, and whichever organizations demonstrate the highest need for funding are most likely to win the grant. With Google Ad Grants for nonprofits, there’s no competition to win the grant money. Rather, any organization that meets the program’s requirements will be awarded $10,000 in ad credits each month.

The Google Ad Grants program has several eligibility requirements in place.

Google Ad Grant Eligibility Requirements

Considering that $10,000 per month is a sizeable contribution, Google requires that nonprofits meet several requirements in order to be deemed eligible for the program. We have an entire article that walks through the program’s eligibility requirements, but let’s cover the highlights, as well as which organizations shouldn’t invest their time into the program.

Use this checklist when determining your nonprofit's Google Ad Grants eligibility.

What Do Nonprofits Need To Be Eligible?

To qualify for Google Ad Grants, nonprofits must meet a set of rigorous standards. It’s important to note that the program is available in over 50 countries, with each having its own requirements.

Here are the following requirements that all nonprofits must meet regardless of location:

  • Hold current and valid charity status. For U.S.-based organizations, you must have current 501(c)(3) status, meaning that the IRS recognizes you as an official charitable organization and exempts you from tax obligations. Google requires organizations in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and New Zealand to be verified by Percent. Meanwhile, organizations in any other country must be registered with TechSoup or a local TechSoup partner.
  • Acknowledge and agree to the Google Ad Grants program’s required certifications regarding how to receive and use donations obtained from the grant. You must also agree to the Google for Nonprofits and Google Ads terms of service.
  • Have a functioning website that provides valuable content regarding your nonprofit and mission. Any pages you promote through Google Ad Grants will live on your nonprofit’s website. As part of their standard eligibility check, Google requires that you own the domain, include unique website content, and feature a detailed description of your organization’s mission and activities. These are just a few of their website quality guidelines.
  • Have an SSL certificate. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is a security protocol between a web server and browser. This will look like a lock icon in the navigation bar in Google Chrome. If there is no lock and you see the words “not secure” next to your website’s URL, it means SSL is not installed or there is another issue.

If your nonprofit organization has a solid foundation in the digital space, it doesn’t take much to be eligible for the Google Ad Grant. However, there are also Google Ad Grant managers that can help with the eligibility check process. That way, you won’t waste your time applying just to get rejected.

What Organizations Are Not Eligible for Google Ad Grants?

While the Google Ad Grants program is widely available to many charitable organizations, there are a couple of exceptions.

These are the types of organizations that are not eligible to apply and use Google Ad Grants:

  1. Governmental entities and organizations
  2. Hospitals and healthcare organizations
  3. Schools, academic institutions, and universities  However, the philanthropic arms of educational organizations are eligible!

We’d like to note that Google does have a similar grant program for educational institutions. If that applies to your organization, we recommend you check it out!

As a final note, know that the Google Ad Grants team implements these requirements to ensure that only organizations that will genuinely benefit from the program apply.

These nonprofits will benefit the most from the Google Ad Grants program.

Who Should Apply for Google Ad Grants?

Many small nonprofits wonder if they should apply for the Google Ad Grants program — will it genuinely help them? The answer is generally yes!

The Google Ad Grants program was designed for any organization to promote its mission, regardless of its size. However, while all nonprofits are encouraged to apply for Google Ad Grants, that doesn’t mean every organization will find it beneficial to their mission.

The Google Grant is especially helpful for organizations that have extremely relevant missions and topics — meaning many people are searching for them online — and have an established website with content that reflects and supports those topics. 

So, the main factors to bear in mind when determining the potential value of Google Ad Grants for your organization include:

  • How many people are searching for the topics that are central to your organization’s mission
  • Whether your website has valuable content that addresses those topics

If so, then the Google Ad Grant can be very beneficial. It doesn’t matter if your nonprofit is just getting started or if your work already spans multiple countries. Many small nonprofits have valuable website content that effectively serves their audience and promotes their mission— making them the perfect Google Ad Grants candidate.

In fact, careful Google Ad Grants management gives smaller nonprofits an even playing field compared to larger organizations. If your organization is eligible and has an established web presence, we fully recommended applying.

However, bear in mind that the program is a big undertaking. It requires more than a set-it-and-forget-it approach. Consider outsourcing the work to a dedicated agency that can apply for you, create your ad campaigns, and make sure you comply with all Google Ad Grant rules.

Reach out to learn about how we can transform your Google Ad Grants management.

Let’s review how you can apply for the Google Ad Grants program.

How To Apply for the Google Ad Grants Program

Getting accepted into the Google Ad Grants program isn’t as complicated as it may seem. However, there are a couple of essential steps that must be followed if you want to be deemed eligible and attain the program’s benefits.

To apply for the Google Ad Grants program, here are the basics steps you’ll need to follow:

 Use this chart to see what your next step is to apply for Google Ad Grants for nonprofits.

1. Register Your Nonprofit with TechSoup.

So you’ve determined that your nonprofit is eligible for the program — great! The next step is to register and validate your organization with TechSoup.org. TechSoup is a nonprofit that partners with corporations (like Google) to help provide technology and other resources to nonprofits at discounted rates.

To join TechSoup, you’ll need to:

  1. Visit the TechSoup registration page to sign up for an account.
  2. Choose your preferred language and the country in which your organization operates.
  3. Click ‘New Member’, register, and agree to the terms.

Before creating your Google Ad Grants management plan, apply for TechSoup.

Once they verify your organization, they’ll provide you with a validation token that you’ll need to provide to Google, which brings us to our next step.

2. Enroll in Google for Nonprofits.

If you want to apply for the Google Ad Grants program, it’s essential that you have an active Google for Nonprofits account first. If you already do, you can skip to Step 4. Otherwise, the application is available through Google for Nonprofits.

With a Google for Nonprofits account (for U.S. organizations), you can have access to Google Ad Grants along with these additional services:

  • Google Workspace for Nonprofits which includes free access to Google’s apps like Gmail, Docs, Calendar, and Meet
  • YouTube Nonprofit Program which provides you with special features on YouTube, like a donate button
  • Google Earth and Maps which helps users locate community programs and resources in their area

Gain access to these products and the Google Ad Grants application through Google for Nonprofits.

To enroll in Google for Nonprofits, you’ll need to provide your tax ID number, contact information, and TechSoup validation code. Bear in mind that it can take some time to get approved, so it’s best to get started as soon as possible.

3. Ensure Google Analytics Is Installed.

While Google Analytics is essential for your own data tracking purposes, it’s also a requirement that all websites need to have prior to applying for Google Ad Grants.

We recommend installing Google Tag Manager on your website and setting up some conversion tracking goals for your site. These goals should be valuable actions that you want your audience to complete while on your site, like making an online gift or signing up for your email list.

These goals can guide your analytic strategies and help determine the content or pages that will best appeal to users and inspire them to complete that goal. Plus, this will allow you to effectively track your Google Ad Grant campaigns and tweak them as needed.

4. Submit Your Website and Account to the Google Ad Grants Team for Review.

After your Google for Nonprofits account is approved, you’re ready to apply for the Google Ad Grants program! As part of the process, you’ll need to submit your website for review to the Google Ad Grants team. They’ll certify whether you’re eligible by determining if your web presence and content are ready.

From here, Google will review your account and respond with further instructions, typically within 3 business days. Once you’re approved, you can then start building out a basic Google Ads account, and then submit that for review as well.

When you apply, you’ll be given the choice of a “Smart Campaign” or a “Classic” Google Ads account. To gain access to the full suite of tools and options, make sure you apply for the “Classic” account as the “Smart Campaign” is a much more basic version of Google Ad Grants. Then, you’re ready to start building out your Google Ad Grants management plan.

Bonus: If you want to dive further into the process, check out our ultimate guide to Google Ad Grants applications, where we explain each of these steps in more detail.

Leverage these tips for better Google Ad Grants management.

Tips for Effective Google Ad Grants Management

Once your Google Ad Grants account is up and running, your work isn’t quite done. You still need to allocate your $10,000 smartly, create targeted campaigns with carefully-chosen keywords, and track those campaigns.

After all, the program won’t drive any value unless you develop a foolproof Google Ad Grants management strategy that allows you to turn the traffic you generate into a foundation of lifelong support.

Let’s explore twelve easy ways you can make the most of the program.

Here are the 5 key best practices to better Google Ad Grants management.

Google Ad Grants Management Tip 1) Develop Valuable and Promotable Website Content.

If you want your Google Ad Grants account to be successful and provide value to your supporters, you need to have valuable website content that will inspire your audience to take action. Otherwise, all the leads you generate will likely turn to other websites that provide the information they’re looking for.

Look at your website pages and make sure that they have:

  • A high search volume topic. Sometimes you’re prioritizing content on a topic that very few people search for. A dedicated blog post that summarizes a volunteer event likely won’t get as much traffic as more educational informational content that answers the most common questions about your mission and work. To get a better idea of the terms and topics your audience is actively seeking out, check out Google Trends or other search engine optimization (SEO) tools like Moz.
  • One single focus. A common problem that nonprofits run into is not having enough dedicated content on important topics. Don’t lump your most searched questions into one page. The important big topics should all have their own page or blog post on your website.
  • Enough content. Don’t make a different page for each topic just for the sake of doing so. Google won’t respond positively to a page with just a couple of sentences on it. Taking the time to develop researched and comprehensive pages will not only perform better with your Google Ad Grants campaigns, but it’ll increase your organic search engine rankings as well.
  • Effective calls to action. When someone lands on these well-developed and valuable website pages, they should know the exact next step you want them to take. From filling out a form to signing up for text alerts, make this next step clear with a strategically-placed call to action in the form of a prominent button or link.
  • Mobile responsiveness. Around half of all nonprofit website traffic comes from mobile devices. Ensuring that your content is mobile-accessible will encourage mobile users to stay on the site and continue exploring your content. Otherwise, they may have to pinch and zoom or rotate their devices to effectively interact with your site. Not to mention, Google also uses responsiveness as a ranking factor for organic traffic (AKA the traffic you receive from sources other than ads).

Valuable and promotable website content is not only critical to getting your account approved, but it also ensures that the Google Ad Grants for nonprofits program actually helps you gain meaningful conversions.

Google Ad Grants Management Tip 2) Measure Campaign Performance.

Google Ad Grants aren’t just about spending $10,000 a month — they’re about making meaningful and valuable conversions. Upkeep is vital to the success of your campaign performance. Similar to many tools, it all depends on your ability to monitor (and translate) performance data, then make adjustments as needed.

Managing your Google Ad Grant campaigns can be simple, but you do need to set up conversion tracking and data analytics in order to do so successfully. The best part is, you already have Google Analytics installed on your website— so use it! It’s important that you set up one or more “Goals” within Google Analytics so you can track valuable actions on your website.

To determine the best goals to track, explore your website and note the actions that you want users to take the most to push your mission forward. Common goals include:

  • Monetary: donations, purchases, event ticket sales, and membership fees
  • Non-monetary: volunteer registrations, email list sign-ups, contact form submissions, online petition signatures, time spend reading content, etc.

These are the most common conversion goals that nonprofits set for their ads.

Don’t forget to first set up conversion tracking for each of these actions using Google Analytics. Once you’ve set up conversions for each key action that you want to track within Analytics, you can then use them in your Google Ads.

Because your grant will renew monthly, monitoring performance on an ongoing basis is key to ensuring your nonprofit continues to comply with all Google Ad Grant rules and standards.

Google Ad Grants Management Tip 3) Understand Your Audience.

Google Ads provides you with several options on who to show ads to and when. That’s why you should take the time to define your target audience for each of your campaigns and the keywords you want to target. Then, you can leverage this information and configure your campaign settings accordingly to ensure ads show up for the intended audience.

Thorough keyword research also allows you to shape your content to meet users’ needs and make them more likely to convert. By understanding what your audience is searching for when Googling different terms, you can adjust your ads so that they’re more likely to show up whenever they’re searching online.

For instance, let’s say someone searches “food drive volunteering” or “serve food to the homeless.” They’ll expect to find volunteer opportunities at nearby food banks. Or, if someone searches “animal shelter adoptions” or “adopt a dog,” they’ll expect to find animal shelters with animals up for adoption. Knowing what your audience will search for allows you to promote the right content to meet their needs.

Google Ad Grants Management Tip 4) Focus on Quality Over Quantity.

While this may come as a surprise, the majority of nonprofits using Google Ad Grants actually do not spend the full $10,000. This could be for many reasons, like:

  • Difficulty in management — Not every nonprofit has the resources and support to maintain multiple marketing campaigns, with a large chunk of money not being spent or put to use.
  • Lack of high-quality online content — If your Google Ads aren’t performing well, it might be because your website and other online content are not meeting the needs of your audience.

However, just because you don’t spend $10,000 a month doesn’t mean you don’t have a fully functioning and successful Google Ads account. For instance, perhaps your audience is just narrow. If you’re promoting ads in one specific city, you don’t need to spend the full amount of money to target the audience you need.

Bottom line: It’s way more important to focus on the quality of your visitors and the number of online conversions than just maxing out your monetary quota.

Google Ad Grants Management Tip 5) Experiment With Your Ad Titles and Copy.

You won’t know what drives users to click through to your website until you start publishing ads. Each ad you create within your Google Ad Grant account will be made up of several components, including a headline and description. Think of your headlines as a way to grab users’ attention and your descriptions as a way to explain why they should click through to your site.

Improve your Google Ad Grants management by testing different headlines and descriptions.

With Google’s responsive search ads feature, Google will automatically test different headlines and descriptions for you. You enter a variety of headlines and descriptions. Then, Google will algorithmically mix and match them to find the combinations that are most relevant to a user’s search term and drive more clicks.

This feature reduces the manual labor needed to manage your account. As an advertiser, you won’t have to craft multiple variations of your ads since Google automates the process for you.

Google Ad Grants Management Tip 6) Choose Your Keywords Carefully.

Your keywords — word combinations and phrases that users enter into Google — are a vital part of your Google Ad Grant campaigns.

Put yourself in your supporters’ shoes for a second. Ask yourself which keywords you’d type into Google to find your nonprofit’s programs, services, and engagement opportunities. Then, head to Keyword Planner to find related keywords that users also search for.

Further, you can use negative keywords to indicate which audiences you don’t want your ads shown to. Over time, you can monitor the search queries that lead people to your site and determine which terms aren’t related to your organization. This will allow you to continue refining your list of negative keywords and only show your ads to those who will be interested.

Google Ad Grants Management Tip 7) Pick The Right Landing Pages.

When choosing keywords for different ad campaigns, think carefully about what landing pages you’ll assign to them. Remember, your goal is to meet searchers’ needs with your ads.

It’s not enough to simply link to your homepage and expect users to click around your site to find what they need. You need to deliver the exact content they want.

Let’s say you’re looking to boost registrations for an upcoming 5K fundraiser for your nonprofit. When users search terms like “upcoming races near me,” they expect to find information and registration pages for 5Ks, 10Ks, and other races. In this case, it doesn’t make sense to promote your ‘About Us’ page or a page about one of your programs. Rather, you’ll want to promote your 5K race information and signup page.

Ultimately, thinking critically about the landing pages and keywords you pair will drive more conversions and more satisfied users.

Google Ad Grants Management Tip 8) Strengthen Your Ads with Geotargeting.

Google requires all Ad Grant accounts to have proper location settings enabled. This allows you to use geotargeting to show ads in locations where users will find your programs and services useful.

Here are a few common tips for making the most of geotargeting:

  1. If you primarily serve your local community, show your ads in your town and nearby communities. Examples might include food banks and animal shelters.
  2. If your nonprofit works in one area but primarily fundraises in another, adjust your ads to target users who are likely to donate. For instance, a humanitarian relief program that serves Indonesia but fundraises in the United States could use geotargeting to promote its fundraising activities to U.S. users.
  3. If you offer different services locally and nationally, create separate campaigns that target different geographic areas to ensure the right content is delivered to different users.

In the example below, Google delivered a specific ad to the user based on location. Without geotargeting enabled, ads like these would be delivered to people who aren’t geographically close enough to benefit, negatively impacting the user experience.

Geotargeting is a powerful tool for better Google Ad Grants management.

Targeting by location like this allows you to deliver content to your unique audience, meeting their needs and driving greater value for your cause!

Google Ad Grants Management Tip 9) Run 3-5 Ad Campaigns.

Within your Google Ad Grant account, you’ll have separate campaigns composed of ad groups. These ad groups host individual ads.

Too few campaigns won’t cast a wide enough net, whereas too many campaigns will become difficult to manage. For the best results, create your campaigns based on 3-5 core goals you want to reach. Choose your campaigns based on the content and opportunities you want to advertise.

For instance, you might create separate campaigns that promote:

  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Fundraising activities
  • Educational content about your cause

Creating separate campaigns like this allows you to allocate your budget to the topics that are imperative to your mission. Then, you can create ad groups that target specific keywords related to each primary goal.

Google Ad Grants Management Tip 10) Focus Each Ad Group on a Central Topic.

Within your campaigns, focus each ad group on a central topic. They should be specific to your cause. Within each ad group, you’ll have a cluster of related keywords and ads that target an array of related phrases.

For instance, let’s say your organization provides at-risk youth with mentoring services. Within your ‘Volunteer’ campaign, you’ll want a series of related keywords and ads that promote volunteer opportunities.

For instance, your campaign and ads might target keywords like:

  • Volunteer to teach kids
  • Mentoring opportunities for underprivileged youth
  • Teach underprivileged kids

Targeting specific topics with your ad groups will keep your Google Ad Grants account organized and structured properly. That way, you can see what goals the program is helping you to achieve.

Google Ad Grants Management Tip 11) Use a Liberal Amount of Ad Extensions.

Ad extensions are a feature that allows you to expand your ads with additional information and provide people with more reasons to click through to your online content.

In our Google Ad Grants account optimization guide, we dive into what these extensions are, and while there are several ad extensions to choose from, here are the most commonly used ones:

  • Callout extensions: Add short bullet point phrases beneath your ads to emphasize key information.
  • Sitelink extensions: Append links to other pages on your website.
  • Call extensions: Enable mobile users to call your organization by tapping a button.
  • Lead form extensions: Add a lead form directly to your ad.

Use extensions like these to improve your Google Ad Grants management.

Ad extensions are a great way to encourage more users to engage with your Google Ads. Not to mention, more robust ads will naturally draw readers’ eyes, giving you a competitive edge over other nonprofits’ ads.

Google Ad Grants Management Tip 12) Use Google Ad Grants in Conjunction With Other Marketing Efforts.

At this point, it’s clear that Google Ad Grants are a great addition to your nonprofit’s overall fundraising and communications strategy. You can leverage Google Ad Grants to drive people to sign up for your mailing list, follow your social media accounts, or sign up to receive texts from your nonprofit.

Not to mention, you’ll gather a lot of useful data through your Google Ad Grants campaigns, which will be applicable to the other advertising methods. Google Analytics will empower you to learn about the users’ demographics, what content they engage with, and other important insights about your site visitors.

Don’t forget that by applying for Google for Nonprofits, you also have access to a suite of other specialized marketing tools designed to amplify your cause. For instance, the YouTube Nonprofit Program allows you to fundraise on YouTube and ultimately unlock the power of visual storytelling through tailored lessons.

You can also extend your Google Ad Grants management skills to the Microsoft Ad Grant program. This program allows you to create ads across the Microsoft Search Network, so you can tap into a new audience that doesn’t use Google. Carefully consider how your Microsoft and Google ads can complement one another, rather than simply replicating ads on both platforms.

You’ll need to actively maintain your Google Ad Grants account to see results.

Maintaining Your Google Ad Grants Eligibility

These tips are easier said than implemented, especially when fundraising leaders already have to juggle so many different tasks. Managing the full $10,000 a month can be challenging, in which case you might consider outsourcing account maintenance to a professional agency.

Ongoing compliance is an essential part of effectively managing your Google Ad Grants account. In fact, not complying with the Google Ad Grants policies will lead to your entire account being suspended.

While visiting the official compliance page will be your best bet for up-to-date policies, here are the most important requirements to remember as you develop your campaigns:

Keep these crucial Google Ad Grant rules in mind as you build out your account.

  • Do not use single-word keywords unless it is one of the approved exceptions.
  • Avoid overly generic keywords that don’t indicate the intent of the person searching, for example: ‘”free videos”, “e-books,” or “today’s news.”
  • Ensure your keyword quality has a score higher than 1 or 2. You can determine keyword quality with expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience.
  • Maintain a 5% clickthrough rate (CTR) each month. CTR is the number of clicks that your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown. For example, if you had 5 clicks and 100 impressions, then your CTR would be 5%.
  • Have valid conversion tracking set up through Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager.
  • Have at least 1 responsive search ad per ad group.
  • Have at least 2 sitelink ad extensions which link to additional pages on your site.
  • Respond to the annual program survey sent to the login email addresses on each Ad Grants account.

We highly recommend that you frequently check (even bookmark!) the Google Ad Grants compliance page to keep up-to-date, as the rules sometimes do change. If you have any questions, your best bet is to rely on a dedicated Google Ad Grants management team that spends its time familiarizing itself with the program rules.

Reasons Your Google Ad Grant Account Might Be Suspended

By now, you should understand that your Google Ad Grant will renew monthly if you maintain compliance. If you don’t intentionally maintain compliance, you risk getting your account suspended.

Beyond the basic compliance rules we just walked through, here are the most common reasons that your Google Ad Grant account could be suspended:

  • Losing your 501(c)(3) status
  • Failing to meet the eligibility criteria
  • Abusing the ad network
  • Needing to reverify your account and failing to do so
  • Repeatedly violating the program’s terms and policies
  • Misrepresenting your organization

Similar to maintaining compliance, a Google Ad Grants manager can help you get back up and running in the event that your account gets suspended. For instance, the experts here at Getting Attention offer reactivation services, where we work with Google to resolve any issues with your account.

Connect with our team to see how we can take your Google Ad Grants management to the next level.

Learn how working with a professional agency can amplify your Google Ad Grants management.

Working with A Google Ad Grants Manager

Google Ad Grants management is a full-time job. Oftentimes, nonprofits will turn to professional consulting agencies to manage their Google Ad Grants accounts. With as many compliance rules in place, that’s the best approach you can take!

You might be tempted to turn to a traditional marketing agency to handle your account. However, this is actually not the best approach. Traditional nonprofit marketing agencies don’t specialize in Google Ad Grants. Instead, they offer it alongside other services.

You’ll want to invest in an agency that devotes its time solely to Google Ad Grants. These professionals know what it takes to meet eligibility requirements, select the right keywords for your cause, write ads to stand out among search results, and continually monitor campaign performance.

Ultimately, the price you pay to outsource the work to a professional will pale in comparison to the $10,000 you’ll receive in free funding. Not to mention, you’ll also generate revenue from your ad campaigns as well!

Getting Attention’s Approach to Google Ad Grants Management

Here at Getting Attention, we specialize in Google Ad Grants management, with the intention of handling every aspect of the process for you. We’re prepared to help you every step of the way, no matter if you’re learning about the program for the first time or need help getting your existing Google Ad Grant account off the ground.

Some of our core services include:

Our agency offers expert Google Ad Grants management.

  • Google Ad Grant Applications: Our team of experts will verify your eligibility and can walk you through every step of the application process to ensure that your nonprofit is accepted.
  • Account 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 duplicate data bogging down your processes.
  • Google Ad Grants Reactivation: Has your account lapsed or been suspended? We can help get your account reactivated, so you can continue doing the work that matters to your cause.
  • Keyword Research: Through thorough keyword research, we’ll make sure that you’re targeting the most relevant and useful keywords for your cause. That way, you can connect with the most valuable prospects who are likely to convert.
  • Landing Page Optimizations: High-quality and valuable website content is one of the most important components of a successful Google Ad Grants campaign. We’ll relaunch the landing pages you want to promote and even handle the design work!

Even if you need help in areas that don’t appear on our website, we’re open to chatting about our experience with the additional services you need. If you’re interested in a free consultation, contact us to learn more about how Getting Attention’s services can help your nonprofit grow!

Explore these additional resources to continue learning about Google Ad Grants for nonprofits.

Additional Resources for Better Google Ad Grants Management

The Google Ad Grants program is an obvious opportunity for nonprofit organizations looking to take control of their digital marketing and expand their audience effectively. However, getting started and maintaining your account isn’t a simple walk in the park.

Between developing high-performing landing pages and pinpointing the keywords that matter most for your work, there’s a lot of work that goes into effectively managing your account. That’s why we highly recommend that one of your staff members devotes part of their time to managing your campaigns or that you outsource the work to a professional agency.

Ultimately, understanding all the Google Ad Grant rules in addition to best practices is your best bet when it comes to making the most of your account. By spending time reading this guide, you’re off to a fantastic start! If you want to continue your research on Google Ad Grants management and learn how to market your mission effectively, explore these additional resources:

Contact the professionals at Getting Attention to learn more about Google Ad Grants.

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. 

If your nonprofit has a number of supporters who you don’t have email addresses from, consider investing in an email append service. Email appending services use identifying information about your supporters, such as their name and phone number, to find their current email addresses. Using an append is a quick way to fill in missing or incomplete information in your donor database and improve your ability to get in touch with supporters. 

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, outlook.com, 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.

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:

In this guide, we'll cover how to start an effective nonprofit blog.

How to Start An Effective Nonprofit Blog

So, you’ve decided to join the exciting world of nonprofit blogging. Your website’s blog lets you tell your nonprofit’s story in your own words, update audience members about your events and activities, and even engage with a new audience of potential supporters.

But just like any marketing endeavor, you must approach nonprofit blogging strategically. Your posts should be intentional, engaging, and informative. This helps your organization build a professional reputation and ensure your content meets your online engagement goals.

With that in mind, we’ll explore these five steps to starting an effective nonprofit blog:

  1. Set goals for your blog.
  2. Find your storytelling style and voice.
  3. Create a content strategy.
  4. Craft your graphic design strategy.
  5. Promote your blog.

Of course, the very first step of starting a nonprofit blog is ensuring that your CMS supports blogging capabilities. Popular platforms like Drupal and WordPress have built-in blogging features that make it easy to get your new blog up and running. Once you’ve determined a blog is an actual possibility for your organization, you can launch into the following steps.

1. Set goals for your blog.

After deciding to launch a blog for your nonprofit’s website, you might have some lofty ambitions in mind, such as entering the ranks of the best nonprofit blogs and inspiring thousands of new supporters to join your cause. Certainly, it’s good to dream big and aim high.

But when you’re first starting, set specific, achievable goals that you can feasibly reach given your organization’s time and resources. For example, you might identify goals such as:

  • Traffic goals. For instance, you might aim for 700 blog views within your first three months or 1,500 unique visitors in your first year.
  • SEO goals. Create keyword-optimized blog posts to improve organic search-related traffic. Perhaps you’ll aim to have at least three blog posts rank on page one of Google search results for specific keywords.
  • Conversion goals. Adding links to your donation page in blog posts can help boost your online fundraising. Perhaps you want to increase your fundraising revenue resulting from blog posts by 20% within six months.

Your blog can be an effective tool to increase awareness of your mission and encourage more donations and volunteers. By setting specific goals, you can more easily measure progress toward these ambitions.

2. Find your storytelling style and voice.

A blog allows you to be creative and speak directly to your audience. Work on cultivating a unique voice—this is the tone you use to address your audience and the feeling you wish to convey to readers. Having a distinctive, engaging voice can set your blog apart and make your posts more memorable.

As you develop your blog voice, think about your target audience—what tone of voice will they respond to best? For example, younger audiences may prefer a more casual style, while older audiences often appreciate more formal and authoritative writing.

Also, consider your nonprofit’s overall brand—what image or personality are you trying to convey? Would you like to come off as a helpful teacher introducing new concepts to your audience or a friend speaking casually about the activities and programs you have going on?

Here are a few words you might use to define your blog’s tone:

  • Authoritative and reassuring
  • Friendly and casual
  • Playful and upbeat
  • Witty and humorous
  • Emotional and inspiring

For example, according to Kanopi’s guide to healthcare web design, medical-focused websites often take on an authoritative, professional tone to reassure potentially anxious visitors seeking medical help. On the other hand, an organization that seeks to increase voter registrations among young voters might use an upbeat, witty, and playful tone to appeal to young adults.

Create a style guide for your blog that describes your unique tone and storytelling style. Include examples of words and phrases to use and ones to avoid to match the brand personality you’re looking to cultivate.

3. Create a content strategy.

Your content plan will be the bread and butter of your nonprofit blogging strategy. Having a clear blogging plan ensures that your blog roll will stay updated with new, thoughtful, and well-researched content. This shows supporters that your organization is active and continually working on new and exciting projects, initiatives, and events.

Follow these steps to build your blog’s content strategy:

  • Recruit a blogging team. Who will write the posts? Who will take photos and videos at events? Who will draft the posts and publish them online? Decide whether these tasks will be taken on by one or multiple people. Meet with your blog team regularly to assign responsibilities and ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Define your SEO objectives. Use a tool such as Google Keyword Planner or Moz to identify high-traffic keywords relevant to your nonprofit’s mission. Create clear guidelines for ensuring all posts are SEO optimized, such as using headings to structure posts, including keyword mentions throughout the text, and writing alt text for all images.
  • Create a posting calendar. Create a rough posting calendar that aligns with your blog goals. For instance, to reach your SEO objectives, make sure you’re consistently writing keyword-optimized posts. If you already have certain events on your nonprofit’s calendar, plan to publish wrap-up blog posts the week after the event.
  • Establish a verification process. The facts, statistics, and data in your blog posts should be true and accurate. Including misleading or incorrect information can damage your credibility among supporters. To avoid errors slipping through the cracks, create a process for double-checking facts before pushing your posts live. Make sure at least two people read through your posts before publishing.

Your content strategy doesn’t have to be set in stone—it can be a rough outline that you adjust when necessary. Current events will undoubtedly impact your organization throughout the year, so you can write posts as needed to address recent developments and news stories as they come up. But outlining a plan ahead of time ensures that your blog won’t become stagnant or outdated at any point.

4. Craft your graphic design strategy.

Images can stir emotions, inspire empathy, and ultimately lead to visitors feeling a deeper connection to your cause. Double the Donation’s guide to nonprofit web design says it best: “humans are a visual species, so information that’s conveyed in a visual way is more immediate and visceral.”

Establish your graphic design strategy up front to ensure your blogging team is on the same page when designing graphics and choosing images. Ask yourself the following questions while developing your approach:

  • Will you use infographics? How will you design and format these images?
  • What fonts and brand colors will you use in infographics?
  • Where will you source blog images? Will you use any stock photos or only original photography?
  • What types of images will you use as feature images? For example, do you want all feature images to show people? Do you have any guidelines for choosing stock images for feature photos?

As you build your graphic design strategy, take some time to standardize your blog post layout. Include specific guidelines in your brand style guide for the font styles and sizes, colors, button types, post margins, and other stylistic elements of your blog posts. This ensures consistency, even if multiple team members are uploading posts.

5. Promote your blog.

Once you start creating well-researched, informative blog content, you’ll need a way to drive traffic and increase engagement with your posts. Marketing your blog posts can increase awareness of your blog, boost your website traffic, and introduce more people to your mission.

Promote your blog across platforms such as:

  • Social media. Post links to your new blog posts on any social media sites you use—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Pull out interesting quotes or statistics from the posts to include in your captions.
  • Email. Include recent blog posts in your weekly or monthly email newsletters. You might even create exclusive blog content or sneak peeks just for email subscribers.
  • Paid advertising. Promote blog posts using Google Ads to help capture both paid search engine traffic, supplementing your SEO efforts. Consider applying for the Google Ad Grant program to earn $10,000 per month in Google AdWords funds. This can allow you to pursue a paid advertising campaign without spending more of your marketing budget.

You can grow your blog audience quickly by promoting your content regularly across each of these platforms. The more eyes you can get on your blog posts, the wider your audience of potential new donors, volunteers, and other supporters will be.

Adding a blog to your nonprofit’s website can be a great way to revamp your online presence and grow awareness of your mission. By following these steps, you can ensure that your blog is a valuable, trustworthy resource for learning more about your cause and how to get involved.

Allison Manley is the Director of Marketing & Communications for Kanopi.

Author: Allison Manley, Director of Marketing & Communications for Kanopi 

Allison is a recovering (and award-winning) designer who applies her creative and organizational skills to marketing strategy for Kanopi. Her diverse, multi-disciplinary background — which in addition to design includes glassblowing, publishing, podcasting, and figure skating — contributes to strong relationships to which she offers a broad perspective.

Her job is to tell the story of Kanopi by sharing information, writing, working with staff and partners, and keeping the brand cohesive across all channels. When not keeping the Kanopi brand on point, Allison is working on double jumps on an ice rink, chasing small children, or organizing something somewhere.