Marketing and advertisement are often the last priority for small and medium nonprofits. After all, resources are scarce and much needed to fund core programs. Yet, most nonprofits have a development or fundraising program in place. Usually, the development officer focuses on already existing donors and funding sources. Once in a while, however, through a special appeal (holidays, anniversary, events) the organization gains a few new donors. Although this is great, it is not nearly enough to significantly increase your donor base and take your nonprofit to the next level. If this sounds like the story of your nonprofit, then you need to read this entry.
There is no a magic formula how nonprofits go from being a small, hardly-known organizations to becoming a major player in their field. But there is one thing that major organizations have in common: they have an effective and aggressive marketing plan. At some point they were able to cross the “invisibility” threshold by adopting a strategic marketing and communications plan.
The question you are probably asking now is, “How can my small nonprofit put in place a marketing and communications plan when it is dealing with a limited budget?” The answer is Google, the world’s most popular search engine.
Google in-kind advertising services for nonprofits gives FREE ADVERTISING up to $10,000 per month to selected nonprofits. Google does this through its advertising program called AdWords. Through this program your organization can take its fundraising goals to the next level. Google gives you the same marketing potential and outreach that major nonprofits and big business with large marketing budgets enjoy.
How does the program work?
When users use Google to do a search, they are presented with a list of text ads related to their search. These ads appears on the right hand side of their screen, and sometimes above the main search results. When users click on one of the ads, they are brought to the website being advertised.
Lets take a look at an example. If we search for “world hunger” on Google, we get the following screenshot:
Text ads related to your search “world hunger” are shown as “sponsored links” on the right side of the screen, and above the main search results. Google AdWords in-kind advertisement provides an opportunity for your nonprofit to boost website traffic, donations and increase brand visibility.
Here are three reasons why your nonprofit should consider applying for a Google grant:
♣ Google is the #1 ad network
♣ It reaches 80% of internet users worldwide
♣ There is no cost to your organization
Requirements for a Google In-kind Grant for Nonprofits
To be considered for a Google grant, your nonprofit should meet the following requirements:
1- Be a U.S. organization that has current 501(c)(3) status
2- Have a functional website
3- Serve communities in art, education, health, science & technology and volunteerism
The application process is rather simple, but requires a basic understanding of Google AdWords program. Don’t panic if you don’t know much. You can go to the Google Grants webpage to learn more about how it works (guidelines, examples, etc) and to fill out an application.
I have gone through the entire application and implementation process successfully and I can tell you that website traffic (visitors) and donations increased by at least 27% within the first 3 months. We also got more people signing for our weekly newsletter, received more volunteer/internship applications and experienced a membership increase on our pages/profiles in social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Change.org).
Even if you do not have an IT person in your organization, you should look into this program. Google Grants for Nonprofits can give you the help you need to take your nonprofit’s fundraising and development goals to the next level.