A Nonprofit’s Comprehensive Guide to Google Ads

Table of Contents

Should nonprofit organizations use Google Ads? Yes! Google Ads are digital advertisements for businesses and organizations that appear first in Google’s search engine when a user searches for a keyword the business or organization is targeting. The Google for Nonprofit program offers the Google Ad Grant for qualifying nonprofit organizations, allowing them to advertise on the search engine for free! 

In today’s digital age, online advertising plays a crucial role in reaching and engaging with target audiences. With Google Ads being one of the most powerful and widely-used advertising platforms, nonprofits have a unique opportunity to amplify their message and raise awareness for their cause. 

In our comprehensive guide, we will delve into everything you need to know about using Google Ads effectively as a nonprofit. From understanding the basics to implementing advanced strategies, we will equip you with the knowledge and tools to maximize the impact of your campaigns. Let’s dive in and unlock the full potential of Google Ads for your nonprofit organization.

Why Should Nonprofits Use Google Ads?

Marketing is as important for nonprofit organizations as businesses, and that includes digital marketing. At the end of 2022, Google Ad revenue was $59 billion. It’s estimated for every $1 business or organization spends on an ad, they profit $8.

80% of businesses use Google Ads, and there isn’t an excuse for nonprofits to not use them. Why? Because unlike businesses, nonprofit organizations can apply for the Google Ad Grant and, if they qualify, can receive up to $10,000 a month to spend on Google Ads. That’s approximately 60,000 new, targeted visitors to your website every year. 

Here are three main reasons why nonprofits should use Google Ads:

  1. You’ll reach wider audiences. 
  2. Your brand awareness will rise.
  3. You’ll increase donations. 

How Can Nonprofit Organizations Apply for Google Ad Grants?

Google Ad grants are game-changers for nonprofits, but not every organization qualifies. Some of the qualifications include:

  • Being a valid charity and 501 organization.
  • Aligning with Google’s advertising policies.
  • Having a technically compliant website. 

Applying for a Google Ad grant is easy. First, create a Google for Nonprofits account. Second, register with TechSoup. Third, apply for the grant through the Google Ad grant portal. The application process will ask you questions about your organization, mission, and website. And finally, wait. It can take up to six weeks to be approved, so patience is key! 

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Running Successful Google Ads

Whether or not your organization is approved for the grant, nonprofits can still run successful Google Ads. That said, it’s not as easy as setting up your ad campaigns and making them live. There’s a science to successful Google Ads, and Soulheart has the formula!

Follow the Google Grant Guidelines

Got approved for the grant? Awesome! Now make sure you continue to follow their guidelines because if you don’t, you’ll lose the grant. We understand trying to keep up with grant guidelines can be overwhelming, which is why we recommend working with a digital marketing agency like us to keep you compliant. 

Nail Your Ads’ Audience 

Google Ads are considered to be inbound marketing, meaning different ads are advertised to those most likely interested. This is different from outbound marketing which advertises to everyone, regardless of their interest, and hopes to catch some customers (think of flyers you get in the mail). The goal is to make sure your Google Ads are seen by donors most likely to support your cause. Figuring out who those donors are is how you define your audience. 

Keywords, Keywords, Keywords

Your audience and keywords go together like peanut butter and jelly. Not only should you work with SEO experts to find the best keywords for your ads, but you should put yourself in the shoes of your audience and think about what they’d Google to discover your ad. A pregnancy center, for example, would probably have keywords like, “free pregnancy tests” and “free ultrasounds” because that’s what a majority of their audience (low-income and/or not insured pregnant women) would be searching for. 

Perfect Your Ad Copy 

Google Ads for nonprofits look pretty different than ones for businesses. A business’s Google Ad may focus on the cost of their service or product, and their call-to-action (CTA) may either encourage the user to make a purchase or call them. A nonprofit’s Google Ad will typically have more emotional or urgent language and a CTA to donate. 

Both share one major similarity, however: their ads will present a problem and position themself as the solution. That’s key for writing your Google Ad copy. 

Look at the Ad Campaign Numbers

You’ll never know how well your ad campaigns are doing or if they need improvement if you don’t track and measure your ads. You can use tools like Google Analytics to see how many people who click on your ads make a donation versus how many leave your website quickly. Again, we really recommend working with a digital marketing team whose job is to understand and constantly analyze these numbers. 

Experiment with Your Google Ads

Google Ads are meant to be tweaked over time! Changing your ad campaigns and recording the results of those changes is a time-tested away of seeing if what you’re currently doing is best. Here’s a tip! Don’t change more than one element at a time. If those changes result in a positive or negative impact, you won’t be able to tell what change triggered it. 

What to Do When Your Google Ad Grant isn’t Approved

Didn’t get approved for a Google Ad grant? Your nonprofit can still have high-performing ads. The trick now is to budget for them. When every penny is stretched thin, it’s easy to understand why nonprofit organizations make marketing an afterthought. But remember: organizations will continue to financially struggle when they don’t advertise. Your marketing budget is not only an investment, but part of the solution for those your cause is fighting for. We recommend allocating 5-15% of your budget to marketing, including Google Ads.

Tip: look into why you were rejected from the grant. If you’re able to fix these issues, you can always apply again. Even if you don’t plan to apply again, the reasons for rejection are important for digital marketing in general (like a bad website for example). Digital marketing agencies like Soulheart can help you fix those issues.

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How Nonprofits Can Use AI for Google Ads

Artificial intelligence (AI) shouldn’t scare you! In fact, it should excite you. AI can produce a lot of work in a short period of time, thereby making your digital marketing efforts much more efficient. Regarding Google Ads, nonprofits can leverage AI for the following:

  • Keyword research
  • Copy and copy optimization
  • Dynamic ad campaigns (ads that adapt to users’ attributes)
  • Audience targeting and segmentation
  • Bidding
  • Performance tracking

Work With Soulheart for Your Nonprofit’s Google Ads

With years of experience in the industry, Soulheart understands the unique challenges faced by nonprofits and has a proven track record in delivering impactful results. We help nonprofits unlock the full potential of their brands and maximize their online presence!

From targeted audience segmentation to personalized ad copy generation, Soulheart utilizes cutting-edge technology to drive conversions, increase donor engagement, and amplify the impact of nonprofit organizations. With us as your trusted partner, you can navigate the complex landscape of Google Ads with confidence, knowing your campaigns are in the hands of professionals dedicated to achieving your mission-driven goals.

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Get Started with Our Google Ads for Nonprofits Course

As you reach the end of this comprehensive guide, we hope you now have a solid understanding of how Google Ads can benefit your nonprofit organization. By harnessing the power of this advertising platform, you can effectively promote your cause, engage with your target audience, and drive meaningful results. 

Remember, success in Google Ads requires continuous learning, experimentation, and optimization. Stay updated with the latest trends, keep refining your strategies, and always monitor the performance of your campaigns. One of the best ways to do that is by partnering with Soulheart, a leading digital marketing agency for nonprofit organizations. With our dedication and a data-driven approach to ad optimization, you can make a significant impact and further your mission as a nonprofit organization.

Another great way is by taking our Ads for Nonprofits course! Our Ads for Nonprofits course is a 32+ lesson course made by our ads expert that will help you build professional ad campaigns completely in-house like a pro! Start the course using the button below and use your campaigns to drive a positive change in the world!

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Post by

Claudia Macdonald

Claudia Macdonald

Claudia is a content and project manager at Soulheart. She’s written for and managed content departments of digital marketing and creative agencies, specifically in the nonprofit sector. She loves Jesus, people, and stories.
Claudia Macdonald
Post by

Claudia Macdonald

Claudia is a content and project manager at Soulheart. She’s written for and managed content departments of digital marketing and creative agencies, specifically in the nonprofit sector. She loves Jesus, people, and stories.

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