For nonprofits and charities across the country, the year end giving season is the most important time of year. Every year, we are approached by our clients to set up Year End Giving Campaigns for their Google Ad Grants accounts. Whether your organization is big or small, it’s important to be prepared for year-end traffic.
Here we share our 8 top tips to make sure your Google Ads are ready for Year End Giving.
1. Make It Special
If it were your birthday every day, it just wouldn’t be as special. Indeed, the same goes for asking for donations. If you’re sending the same ask with the same message and directing potential donors to the same tired landing page, they might be desensitized to your message. In order to, make your ads stand out, switch generic year-round copy for more seasonal phrases and calls-to-action. If you don’t have the time or resources to create a new giving season campaign, try sprucing up your current donation ads by:
- Adding seasonally-relevant ad copy, like a headline to “Donate This Giving Season”
- Updating the landing page with a message about the holidays
2. Learn How To Ask
It’s important to learn how your donors prefer to be asked—the results may surprise you. Try creating A/B tests in the Campaign Drafts and Experiments tool in Google Ads to see what ad copy speaks to your donor audience. You might want to test being explicit in your call-to-action versus more subtle wording like “Support” or “Help” instead of “Donate.” Furthermore, you can see what ad copy works best and use your findings again in the next year end giving campaign.
3. Non-Branded Awareness-Based Traffic
People rarely search for a term like “organizations to donate to” or “year end giving.” More often than not, people make donations while searching for local causes or a cause they’re passionate about. Therefore, awareness-based traffic is crucial for reaching new donors that don’t yet know about your brand.
- Local non-profits: Highlight your locality in the keywords you target and the ad copy you write. Many people prefer to donate to a local organization that benefits their community.
- Cause-based non-profits: Add informational content to your donation page to give the user more context about your cause and help raise awareness and donations at the same time.
This snapshot from the Google Trends tool shows the trends for “organizations to donate to”, “help homeless” and “charity near me” in the US. Cause based keywords generally do far better.
4. ‘Maximize Conversions’ Bid Strategy & Donation Tracking
These two simple changes can make a big difference to your year end giving campaigns. Google Ads caps bids at $2.00 per keyword unless you use an automated bidding strategy. Setting your bid strategy to ‘Maximize Conversions’ allows you to bid more than $2.00 per keyword. This gives your ads a chance to show for keywords that are more competitive and priced higher than $2.00. Above all, Google’s automated bidding algorithm learns to show your ads to the users most likely to donate. Tip: Before you set your bid strategy to Maximize Conversions, make sure you are tracking donations as conversions by either using event tracking on your donation buttons, or destination page tracking on Thank You pages.
5. Donation Landing Pages Really Matter
Landing pages always matter (learn more about them here). For donations, they matter even more. Donations are a big ask, so taking action to increase the chances of someone that clicks through an ad to donate is key. In other words, you need to go the extra mile to sustain their attention and give them a reason to donate, add:
- A clear call-to-action that allows them to donate online in one easy step
- Information or success stories about where or who their donation is going to
- Relevant, eye-catching visuals that add depth to your cause
6. Dynamic Donation Amounts
As part of your landing page revamp for year end giving, consider adding dynamic donation amounts, or a range of suggested monetary amounts that users can choose from. Dynamic donation amounts can increase donations by 20%. Implement these effectively by adding a short description of what each monetary amount can support.
For example, instead of asking a user to “Donate $10 to support rescue dogs,” add specific illustrations to a few different values:
- “Your $10 donation provides food for one week for a rescue dog”
- “Your $30 donation supports one month of veterinary care”
- “Your $50 donation provides one month of food and housing for a rescue dog”
7. Consider Paying For Your Ads
If you’ve never paid for Google Ads before, the year end giving season may be the time to try. Google say it themselves: “To stand out from the crowd, especially during critical times of the year such as year-end giving season, nonprofits can consider investing in a paid Google Ads account to bid on competitive keywords and extend their reach.” Increase your ad spend strategically around Giving Tuesday or the last few days of the year by using broad match modifiers or more narrow match types to ensure high relevance.
8. Cover All Your Bases
It’s important to note that Google Ads should not be your one and only channel for year end giving. Make sure you use social media, YouTube ads, email blasts, or even traditional leafleting to reach your audience. Google Ads is first and foremost based on searches. Therefore, you may miss out on potential donors if your organization and cause is an “unknown unknown” that they have not thought to search for.