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Charities have a huge array of marketing tools to help put their great work centre stage, however evidently Google Adwords is often over-looked! To increase donor engagement it is vital that the not for profit sector invest in enhancing their online presence and driving inbound traffic to their website.

The good news is that, as a not for profit organization, you can apply for a grant of $10,000 a month to spend on Google Adwords. This will significantly increase your charities visibility, help you to reach new audiences and put the great work of your charity in the spotlight.

Put simply a Google Adwords campaign (or pay per click marketing) will enable you to come to the top of the page for certain search terms that are relevant to your organisation. (Keyword targeting for search terms such as Mental Health Charity for example). In addition all Google For Non-Profit Members can track online donations, volunteer registrations and newsletter sign ups, so that they are able to see the progress of marketing themselves on the Google search engine.

Essentially this Google AdWords Grant empowers charities to advertise to an audience of thousands without spending a penny! However through a lack of awareness and or resource, sadly, Google grants are reportedly a hugely under utilised charity funding source.

Importantly as well as a subsidised click budget, if you successfully apply for a Google Adwords grant this also give you access to many other Google tools. Members get free access to Gmail, Google Drive (for storing and sharing documents) Google Calendar, YouTube for Non-profits and much more.

However, it is important to highlight that to set up and maximize the results from this Free Google Advertising, you will need to have internal resource to manage your campaigns or hire an agency to do this for you.

So how can you apply for a Google Grant?

To be ellligible for a Google grant you must be an active, registered charity. (Either with HMRC or the Charity Commission)  Importantly the charity must have an active, comprehensive and functioning website that clearly explains the mission and value of the charity.

There are two different grant programmes to choose from. Adwords is ideal if you want full control, to manage the account yourself and create, target and optimize your own campaigns.

Alternatively Adwords Express is a low maintenance option, that will save your charity time by managing the ad campaigns automatically. Basically you can pick the audience you want to target, write a brief introduction about your non-profit organisation, set a daily budget, and Google AdWords Express will take care of the rest. This programme will automatically decide where and when the advert for your non-profit will appear.

One thing to note is that there is a $2 (£1.60) cost per click limit on the keywords you are able to bid on. Another constraint is that Google prohibits advertising any commercial activity, which may include items for purchase or the promotion of a shop.

What makes a successful Ad Campaign?

The key to a Successful Pay Per Click campaign is selecting the best keywords for your charity. A good place to start is by researching the keywords your competitors are regularly bidding on.  Take note of their advert and the call to actions they use. The Google Keyword Planner tool, will also tell you what people are searching for and assess the amount of traffic you might receive on your website if you select that keyword to bid against.

Ensure you craft Google Ad copy that is meaningful and relevant to get a good quality score and help you get ahead of competitors. Be careful not to go overboard with keywords in your ad, which is called keyword stuffing, as it will not have the same impact on your audience. Also if you are promoting a particular campaign or initiative your advert copy must clearly relate to or match the content that is on your landing page. Importantly ensure you choose a high impact message for your headline and make use of the calls to action to get the audience to click.

Be aware that your adverts must not point to pages that send visitors to other websites or that display any ads from Google AdSense or links to other affiliate sites.

Monitor Your Results:

Continually monitor your results and amend your ad campaigns and website content accordingly. Don’t be afraid to test different Ad messaging, observe which one attracts the most clicks and roll this out. Regularly evaluate your Google Adwords performance and fine tune the campaigns. Which keywords attracted the most clicks and what ad copy was good enough to get more traffic to your website.  Use google analytics to understand the behavior of the visitors to your site and evaluate how this changes over time. Investigate how you can improve the quality of traffic and encourage visitors to spend longer on your Charity’s website, make donations etc.

In conclusion, Google Adwords is an incredibly powerful marketing tool and well worth exploring as part of your strategy to improve your online presence.



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