Is Your Nonprofit Organization Ready for the Google Grant?
The Google Grants program is a unique opportunity for nonprofit organizations to enter the world of digital advertising without blowing the marketing budget. Any qualifying nonprofit can advertise for free on Google’s platform, but many nonprofits jumping straight in suddenly find themselves in over their heads.
This is basic but it shouldn’t be overlooked. Having all your ducks in a row will not only help you identify whether your organization is eligible but also help you get your Ad Grant faster. Namely, your organization must be a registered nonprofit or charity, which is not a government entity, hospital or school. Check Google’s eligibility criteria for further details. Once you determine you are eligible it’s time to get verified. Do you have a TechSoup account? Great! How about Google For Nonprofits? Even better. The more prepared your nonprofit is for the first steps of the application, the easier and faster it will be. Learn more about getting your nonprofit verified for Google for free with TechSoup (or TechSoup Canada if you are based in Canada).
Being goal oriented will take you leaps and bounds. Think about your nonprofit’s main goals for the year. For example, what three things are very important to you in the coming quarters? What improvements do you want to make upon last year? Do you want to build brand awareness, increase event attendance, or grow your volunteer base? You can use Google Ads to directly address these goals, or complement an existing marketing strategy. Your search engine marketing (SEM) strategy should work closely with your larger goals, but some objectives are better suited to SEM than others. Consider consulting a digital marketing strategist to help determine your online strategy to support your larger goals.
Before applying for the grant, consider who will be taking on the responsibility of managing it. Beyond filling in the application, someone needs to keep on top of any issues that arise once you obtain grantee status. Without a dedicated staff member the account may under spend the grant, be neglected or even become suspended. Google Ads is meant to be user-friendly, but there is a learning curve and keeping an account in good standing can be time consuming. Participants must abide by program policies. Get ready for the Google Grant beforehand by figuring out who at your nonprofit can commit to managing your Google Ads Grant account.
Your nonprofit will need a website and someone with basic web editing skills on staff. While Google Grants is largely plug-and-play , it is still important to have someone who knows how to access and edit your website. For example, charitable identification must be added to your website to qualify for the grant. If your nonprofit doesn’t have staff with that capability, making changes to the website can be tricky. And, once your nonprofit has obtained the grant, being able to create landing pages can seriously improve the results of your campaigns.
One of the final steps is Google Analytics. Firstly, you will need to install a snippet of code on the backend of your website. Secondly, you will need to link Google Analytics and Google Ads. Finally, you need to check conversion tracking is properly configured. Conversion tracking is one of the most important elements used to succeed with Google Ads, but it can be a barrier to entry if you do not have a basic understanding of Google Analytics. To illustrate its importance, Google Ads has an entire bidding system based on Analytics conversion data. Without Analytics, the account won’t run! Luckily, you can learn the basics of Analytics through Google Academy. The data that you collect and analyze in Google Analytics will help you evaluate and adjust your Google Ads strategy as you grow with your Google Grant.