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Digital Marketing For Nonprofits: A Mini Series

Internet Marketing April 27th, 2017



Digital marketing for non profits can be tough. How do you advertise without any money? To raise awareness and lift overall traffic and donations can take a substantial amount of money for any business. However, when a company solely relies on awareness to stay afloat, there’s a lot at stake.

In this 5 part mini series, we’ll go through different tactics that you can use to market your charitable organization without breaking the bank.

Part One: AdWords

Many organizations don’t want to use pay-per-click advertising for the reason that it is… pay-per-click. Paying for each click? No, thank you. But, what a lot of charities aren’t aware of is that Google AdWords offers grants of up to $10,000 USD a month for non profit organizations.

Of course, Google isn’t just throwing money away — nonprofits have to go through an application process. In order to be eligible, nonprofits must hold a valid charity status, acknowledge Google’s certifications for nondiscrimination, and have donation receipts. Nonprofits must also have a live website with a strong amount of content, as you are driving users to your website after an ad is clicked.

Specifically, for Canadian charities and nonprofit organizations, you must also hold an account with Techsoup. Techsoup is a great program that enables charities and nonprofits to have access to a wide range of different technologies and learning resources. Whether you are looking for an AdWords grant or not, this is a resource I strongly encourage using. Techsoup will help validate your AdWords grant account and verify that you have the charitable status that the AdWords grant requires. There is no cost to registering for a Techsoup account, and it will only take up to 48 hours to be verified once all the information is completely filled out.

It’s important to note here that there are certain organizations that are not eligible for AdWords Grants. For example, government organizations, hospitals and medical groups, and schools are not able to receive this grant.

To start the application process through AdWords, proceed to Google’s application page.

Once the application process is complete and you’ve been approved to move forward, there are two types of accounts that you can proceed with:

  1. AdWords Express: If you’ll be managing your AdWords account yourself, I suggest going with an AdWords Express account. This account can be set up in a short amount of time and does a lot of the work for you. You simply have to pick your audience targeting (location), write one ad, and set a daily budget. This account will choose keywords for you and populate the rest of the information. This is a more hands-off account, so if you don’t have a lot of time to manage and optimize, I suggest this type of AdWords account.
  2. AdWords: This type of account has great tools for targeting and includes more features than the express account — however, it does take an ample amount of time to set up and manage. This is the type of account that is better left to an agency to set up and manage, unless you’re well versed in AdWords and have time on a daily basis to go in and make optimizations. With this type of account, you can create different campaigns, ad groups, choose your own keywords, make your own bids on a keyword level, create different ad extensions, and set specific modifiers based on location, time, device, and more. This type of account allows complete granularity, which will help serve your ad to the right people.

There are some limitations with using Google Ad Grants. Some of the terms include:

  • Ads must be entirely text based. No videos or images are allowed with Google Ad Grant accounts
  • Ad grant accounts will have their ads displayed lower on the page. This means that accounts that pay without grants will take the top spots above the fold
  • All campaigns have to be keyword targeted
  • The maximum cost-per-click that you can spend on a single keyword within the auction is $2.00 USD
  • The maximum grant that you can receive on a monthly basis is $10,000 USD

You must also follow a few rules to stay qualified each month for the grant:

  • Link ads to the main domain that was approved during the qualification process
  • Log into the account once a month
  • Make at least one change to the account every 90 days. These changes can include changing bids, ad copy, extensions, and so on. Any change on the account will count towards this rule
  • Ensuring that the ads and keywords match the services and programs that you offer
  • 100% of the proceeds made through AdWords must go to the program you offer
  • Ads cannot link to pages that are resource pages — i.e., majority of the page links to other websites
  • Ads cannot offer any financial products, such as credit cards
  • Ads cannot request donations of property, such as cars. This is important to note as many charities work with the donation company, Donate a Car Canada. This must not be mentioned within the ad copy but is okay to have on the landing page
  • Your landing page cannot display Google AdSense ads or other Google affiliate links

Google Ad Grants are a great offering for any non-profit organization that has a tight budget and is looking to get started with advertising and create brand awareness. We have seen great successes with a number of non-profit organizations spreading their cause with the Google Ad Grant system.

For part two of this mini series, I’ll be discussing social media tactics for nonprofits. Stay tuned!

Post By Tiffany Gilmour (3 Posts)


Tiffany Gilmour is an Account Coordinator with Techwyse. Tiffany graduated from U of T and specializes in measuring and reporting on campaign efforts, as well as supporting client relationships.

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Digital Marketing For Nonprofits: A Mini Series

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