Nonprofits are unique in that they often mobilize funds and people towards social goods. In order to achieve their goals, nonprofits must utilize various aspects of advocacy in order to reach a wider audience and get them to take action. Advocacy is the process of raising awareness and generating support for an issue related to a nonprofit’s mission. Advocacy often directly involves the work of a nonprofit organization, but can also be adjacent to the mission of the organization. For example, an animal welfare nonprofit’s day-to-day operations may not involve much advocacy. But there may be times when they need to lobby an elected official or raise awareness of something in their community.
Advocacy can take many forms, but it’s efficient for nonprofits to use their existing tools to aid their advocacy efforts. One of the most effective tools for gaining greater awareness for your advocacy efforts is the Google Grant which provides 501(c)(3) nonprofits with $10,000/month of credit to spend on Google Ads in search results. Using the Google Ad Grant is an excellent way for nonprofits to enhance their existing marketing efforts and bolster their advocacy campaigns as well.
As the premier search engine, competing for advertising space on Google can be a costly endeavor. Companies and organizations spend incredible amounts of money competing for paid ads that appear at the top of a google search. For most nonprofits, allocating resources to compete for these ads would be a difficult investment. Thankfully, the Google Grant is a program designed to help nonprofits compete with their paid counterparts.
The Google Ad Grant is a program created by Google and is only available to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. If accepted, these nonprofits are given up to $10,000 that can be used to purchase ad space on Google. Despite various myths about the Google Grant, the program can be utilized by any nonprofit, other than hospitals and schools. Maintaining compliance with the Google Grant rules can be accomplished through diligent management, ensuring that you can keep the Google Grant well into the future. With proper Google Grant management, you can use digital marketing to reach a wider audience than ever before. Nonprofits use the Google Grant to bolster their long-term marketing efforts as well as to advertise short-term events, campaigns, or priorities. This flexibility makes it a great option for any nonprofit as it can help grow your audience generally while boosting your latest advocacy push.
Applying for the Google Grant is a two-step process that will evaluate various parts of your website and digital presence. Part one includes creating a nonprofit google account and beginning the application process. The most important part of this first step is making sure that your website will meet Google’s compliance requirements. Your website must be secure, tidy, and has plenty of promotable content. Maintaining your compliance with the Google Grant requirements is crucial throughout the process, as your grant can be easily suspended if you fail to keep up.
After being approved for part one, Google will grant you access to the Google Ads infrastructure and allow you to begin crafting your ad campaigns. Google has compliance standards here as well. These standards ensure that you’ll actually be using the grant and running ads that are consistent with Google’s requirements. Once these standards are met, you can submit part 2. If everything was done correctly, you’ll be approved for the grant and the ads will begin to run. While acquiring the Google Grant is a difficult task, your duty is now to maintain the grant.
Compliance involves routine management of your Google Ads account and your website. Your website must continue to comply with Google’s standards. In addition, your ads will have to meet Google’s minimum performance standards. This ensures that the grant funds are not spent frivolously and bring value to your organization. Grant management can be a difficult process, leading many organizations to hire a Google Ad Grants Certified Professional agency like Nonprofit Megaphone. However, with enough knowledge and diligence, most organizations can remain compliant.
As mentioned, the Google Grant can be used for all kinds of nonprofit initiatives. Marketing is designed to expand your audience, but nonprofits differ in what they ask of their supporters. Utilizing the Google Grant can be an excellent way to jumpstart your advocacy efforts and direct your audience toward meaningful action. For example, say your nonprofit is conducting an advocacy campaign. In addition to using your existing marketing channels, you can use the Google Grant to drive people to the campaign. By creating a landing page specifically for the advocacy work, you can direct interested parties to your site to learn more information, take action, and bring them into your network. Alternatively, you could use a similar strategy to drive people to an advocacy event. The key to using the Google Grant effectively is having a relevant landing page that directs the reader to a specific action. With good planning and effective Google Grant management, you can reach a whole new audience of dedicated supporters.
Using digital marketing can be a great way to get visitors to your website, but their engagement is wasted if you don’t provide them with a clear next step. A powerful call to action asks the reader to do something more and participate in your advocacy campaign. This call to action should be related to your mission and the campaign and be related to the landing page attached to the Google ad.
The extent to which digital marketing is successful often depends on the quality of the website. High-quality written content increases the potential for using the Google grant successfully and satisfies your reader’s interests. This content keeps visitors engaged and makes for a memorable experience. A good website will add legitimacy to your advocacy campaign, encouraging your supporters to take action.
If your organization is focused on advocacy, chances are good that you and your audience are in tune with changing social and political events. Take advantage of these events by adjusting your advocacy accordingly. With the fast pace of today’s news cycle, it’s never been more important to take advantage of current events. Use the Google Grant to focus on hot keywords and bring new visitors to your website.
Another perk of digital marketing is the data-driven approach. Using the Google Grant gives you access to Google Ads, which easily interfaces with Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. By installing these free tools on your website, you can track all kinds of important information about how users engage with your web content. Most importantly, you can set conversion tracking goals that show whether users are taking action. Use this data to refine your existing advocacy strategies and use proven techniques going forward.
Nonprofit advocacy is a tried and true practice, but utilizing the Google Ad Grant and digital marketing can take your organization to the next level. Not only can it help you reach a wider audience, but the Google Ad Grant can help you better engage with your existing audience as well. Further, digital marketing gives you access to valuable data that can help you improve your advocacy work and help you adapt to changing circumstances.
Whether your primary concern is advocacy, marketing, communications, or development, the Google Grant is a great way to achieve your organization’s goals. Learn more about the Google Ad Grant and what it can do for your nonprofit.
Grant Hensel is the CEO of Nonprofit Megaphone, an agency focused 100% on Google Grant Management for nonprofits. NPM is honored to manage the Google Grant for 370+ leading nonprofits worldwide and to be an inaugural member of the Google Ad Grant Certified Professionals community.