With our national economy still is recovery mode, even non-profits enjoying solid financial grounding need help. And for many organizations, the most advantageous help comes from getting people aware of and invested in their cause.
Fortunately, tech giant Google—which already offers a host of apps for non-profits—has introduced a novel way to do just that. Called Google Grants, the program is an in-kind advertising account for non-profit organizations. Through Google Grants, groups can advertise using Google AdWords for free to do general outreach, fundraising and volunteer recruitment.
The requirements for getting up and running on Google Grants are relatively simple: organizations must have a website and their ad must link to that site; keywords must be relevant to the organization; the website must no have revenue generating ads; and groups are required to manage and maintain the account themselves. Eligibility also requires 501 (c) (3) status, and there are restrictions based on geography, membership-based and religious or political organizations and those that provide goods and services.
If accepted for a Google Grant, the windfall can be impressive; some groups receive up to $10,000 in advertising equivalency (although typically the amount is around $300) and if an organization consistently achieves the $10,000 limit they can actually apply for a higher-level grant that comes with additional services. Additionally, the Google Grant program works on an “in-bound” marketing platform, which works by attracting potential supporters through blogs, search engines and social media sites.
However, there is a downside to the Google Grant program. Certain keywords are in high demand, and as such the company puts some serious restrictions on what can and cannot be used. But that aside, the advantages far outweigh such a downside: non-profits can push short-term events or fundraising goals and get vastly more attention that through traditional advertising avenues, and the program has built-in services that allow organizations to test out which ads are working and which are not. And feedback is fast, efficient and highly detailed, showing click-through rates and conversions with the click of a button and allowing groups to track online donations, newsletter sign-ups and volunteer registrations as well.