We examine how the Google Ad Grant can help charities expand their marketing strategy on a budget
The Access Group have enabled thousands of not-for-profit organisations run more efficiently and raise more money. Whether you’re attracting supporters or members, fundraising, managing visitors, controlling finances, or dealing with staff, their integrated not-for-profit software makes it easy to do more.
One of the most important aspects of charity operations is getting the word out about the good work that you’re doing.
Whether you are looking to attract new supporters, boost your profile or spread awareness, paid advertising with Google can be a great tool for charities.
The world’s most popular search engine is a great way to get your charity’s message in front of the right audience. Advertising via search engine allows you to bid on key search terms. This means that your ad will only be served to relevant users.
The downside of this kind of advertising is that it may be beyond the budget of some charities – particularly smaller organisations. This type of advertising is commonly known as ‘pay-per-click’ (PPC). And some clicks are more expensive than others. Popular (and potentially lucrative) search terms will command a higher cost-per-click. This means that smaller organisations risk getting squeezed out.
Luckily, Google offers support to charities through its Google Ad Grant programme. Google Ad Grants provide over £7,500 per month of free Google Ads advertising to eligible not-for-profit organisations. Ads will appear on relevant Google search result pages and can boost organisations’ visibility to their key audiences. The program is designed to help people connect with causes to make a greater impact on the world.
Needless to say, £95,000 worth of free advertising can have a big impact on a charity’s online visibility.
Eligible organisations can use this free marketing budget, to raise awareness, donations, event sign-ups and enquiries. Ad Grants push thousands of new website visitors to your website promoting your appeals, campaigns, events and online e-commerce pages.
As with any successful marketing campaign, the quality of the leads is even more important than the quantity.
The key selling point of Google Ads is that the tool allows your organisation to appear on Google, at the exact moment it matters – which is when someone is searching for topics related to your cause.
It’s a great time to reach hidden audiences and educate people on your cause, recruit volunteers and attract donors to support your organisation.
Some methods of marketing offer intangible returns that can be hard to quantify. Not so with Google Ads. The platform’s detailed tools allow users to collect meaningful data to measure return on investment.
Once your ads are live, you can use Google Analytics and conversion tracking to understand how your ads are performing.
The increased web traffic through Google Ads can also give you a great view as to which areas of your site are working well, and which needed expansion.
While there are a number of clear benefits to the Google Ads Grant, it is not always smooth sailing from the outset.
Firstly, the approval process for a Google Ad Grant can be lengthy and laborious, with no guarantee that your organisation will be accepted for the programme. Applications are often refused or can take months to be approved.
If you are approved for a Google Ad Grant, your activities must also follow Google’s ongoing program policies which are extensive. If organisations do not adhere to these policies, they risk their grant being suspended or revoked. Google are always reviewing and changing their rules around the way Ad Grants can be used for charities, which can make it difficult for organisations to stay abreast of the latest guidelines.
There is also a lot of work to be done in terms of keeping on top of account management. This process can be time consuming and difficult. Time must be regularly devoted to maintaining the account, as Google insists organisations login to their account at least once a month or risk losing the grant.
The level of success that charities find with the grant (as with any paid marketing) will be dependent on the level of expertise behind the project. There is a science to crafting the right message, using analytics to measure success, and choosing the right keywords and phrases.
If you do not have these skills within your team then it may be worth consulting a specialist.
The Ad Grants Certified Professionals Community is designed to support organisations by connecting them with qualified professionals who can help them get the most out of their ad grant.
Ad Grants’ unique features require specific expertise to best utilise the grant and succeed online. Often, partnering with an agency professional can extend your organisation’s resources and maximise value.
The Access Group are one of seven companies in the UK certified by Google under the Ad Grants Certified Professionals scheme to support not-for-profit organisations to apply for and run their ad grants, maximising their benefit from the programme.
They currently work with over 100 organisations, with 100% grant application success rate and 100% retention of the grant by meeting the monthly criteria.
For a flat monthly rate, with no set-up costs or hidden fees, Access’s unique Google Ad Grants management service does it all for you, whether your objective is to increase online traffic, recruit more volunteers or attract more donations. Access can liaise directly with the Google Ad Grants team to reactivate lapsed accounts saving you time and hassle.
Once you are set up, The Access Group can also use machine learning and natural language programming, which is proven to be twice as effective as Google’s guidelines for best practise ad grant management.
Find out more about the Access NFP Ad Grants service