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How a Google Grant Can Boost Digital Fundraising Efforts

Posted by Grant Hensel on Oct 1, 2021 10:21:06 AM

Fundraising online has never been more important than now. In the past few years, countless organizations have shifted their fundraising strategies to better fit digital options, and those who understand the online environment have continued to thrive despite hardships. This also means that there is no better time than the present to increase your online presence, revitalizing your fundraising efforts along the way.

One solution worth considering is the Google Ad Grant, which gives nonprofits like yours up to $10,000 in monthly ad credits that they can use to place ads in Google search results. Think of how you could widen your fundraising strategy with that kind of advertising potential! These ads are targeted to specific searches that will allow you to define your ideal audience and place your cause where they are already looking.

In this brief guide, we’ll walk through a few of the benefits of the Google Ad Grant and what it can do for your nonprofit’s digital fundraising efforts. With the Grant, you can:

Applying for the Google Ad Grant is free and simple, but using it to the fullest can take practice. Now, let’s take a closer look at how the Google Ad Grant can make a world of a difference with the effectiveness of your digital fundraising strategy.

Raise awareness about your cause.

You can’t raise funds from people who have never heard of you, and positive change is always easier with a healthy base of supporters cheering you on. Google Ads give you a way to increase awareness of your nonprofit beyond your neighborhood or city. This reach could help you find new supporters living further away who are just as eager to help you make a difference.

Google Ads appear at the top of relevant search results. Think of this like a megaphone to help broadcast your stories and calls to action further than they could have gone before. With Google Ads, your success is based less on who is around you and more on how cleverly you are able to target your ads to the right audience.

To create successful ads, make sure that you are answering a question or meeting a need. Your Google Ad will show up before other search results, meaning that is your best chance to inspire a visitor to click through to your site before scrolling down. Show them your value and try to respond intuitively to what they are looking for and you will find success.

You also need to learn how to tell your cause’s story. A good story will stay with your readers and build awareness long after they have left your website. Your ad is the hook to intrigue the reader and the story that they discover after clicking on your ad is your chance to follow through.

Attract more visitors to your site.

Your website is the headquarters of your online fundraising strategy. With your Google Ad Grant you will be able to bring more visitors to your site than ever before and, by planning ahead, you can turn those visitors into valuable supporters.

Attracting visitors to your website can depend on a few conditions. Google doesn’t treat every website equally. There are improvements you can make to help the Google Ad Grant and your targeted ads have the best possibility of reaching the audiences you’re seeking.

  • Ensure that your posts and pages have clear titles. Avoid wordy descriptions and overly complex wording. If your posts and pages have direct, easy-to-understand titles, Google will better understand how to sort and display them.
  • Add meta descriptions to your posts and pages. The meta description appears under your result in Google searches, and also helps Google to understand what is on the page. Think of it as a signpost, letting both the search engine and the reader know what they will find if they click on the link. Don’t forget to make sure it’s between 150 and 160 characters!
  • Use clean URLs. When you create a page or post on your website you are also able to define or change what the URL, or web address, should be. Edit your URLs to clearly define in just a few important keywords what content is found on the page.
  • Research your keywords. Sites like Moz can help you see which terms or phrases are being searched for the most, which helps you to decide which words to use in your titles, meta descriptions, and URLs. If you are able to find keywords or phrases that attract a lot of readers and base your content around them, it is far more likely that those readers might find their way to your website.

Each visitor you attract to your website equals a potential donation, subscriber, or volunteer. Although a quick visit to your site does not guarantee that they will show their support, there are some steps you can take to help increase the overall number of visitors who step up and take action.

Lead to targeted conversions.

Conversions are the point of action where a visitor becomes an active participant in your mission. Not all conversions are equally useful to you, however. Take the time to examine what you hope to accomplish and then determine which conversions matter the most to your goals and ambitions.

If you are looking to raise money for your cause, then a visitor choosing to donate would be a valuable conversion. If you are hoping to find volunteers, then a visitor submitting a form with their contact information is more desirable. Other meaningful conversions include encouraging a visitor to sign up for your email newsletter, to sign a petition, or to watch a key video. Identify what conversions you want to see more of and go from there.

Once you know what conversions you want to encourage, determine how to target audiences that are likely to take those actions. For example, if you decide you want to increase online giving, explore your donor records from the past to see who already donates and try to target your ad where more potential donors will find it.

Use your ad to engage with the ideal searcher. You have a few seconds to capture their attention, so your ad needs to answer their questions or meet their needs. If this is your ideal audience, then you have what they are looking for, but it is up to you to convince them.

Once your visitor is on the site, thinking ahead will help ensure that you don’t lose them. Keeping with the donation example, you’ll want to make sure that your donation page and the software that powers it are trustworthy, easy-to-use, and fast. Make sure that your pages load quickly on both mobile and desktop and that the paths to your important calls to action are easy to find and clearly marked. Following these steps ensures that you are more likely to achieve your conversion.

After you’ve been running ad campaigns for a while, you’ll have a better sense of what works and what doesn’t, which can inform how you design future campaigns. However, remember you should always start with your targeted conversion in mind.

Identify which campaigns are effective.

Google Analytics works seamlessly with your Google Ads to track your goal conversions and the performance of your ads. This creates a data library that you can use to experiment with your ad listings and refine your way to success.

You don’t have to get every ad right — you only need to cast a wide enough net. Try different text in your ads or change the way they are targeted. Use a new headline or change something in the meta description and run it side-by-side with the original campaign. So long as they are sufficiently different, you will be able to run these ads simultaneously and use differences in performance to determine what works best.

Creating a masterful Google Ad campaign is part art and part science. You need the creativity to think from your ideal audience’s perspective and brainstorm how to reach them, and the rational approach to steadily improve your listings over time. Even ads that succeed right away still benefit from improvement using the data you collect.

The more campaigns that you run and the longer you run them, the better your data will become. Don’t think of it as posting ads, rather as a way of increasing your sample size. Each ad campaign can attract visitors to your website and empower your digital marketing for years to come.

Your fundraising strategy matters, so don’t settle for less. Google Ads, website improvements, and data are all here to help you succeed. Use every tool available to help your nonprofit thrive.


The world of online fundraising can seem intimidating, but the basics are easy for anyone to master and the benefits are beyond count. Use the Google Ad Grant to your advantage and your nonprofit can have the voice that it deserves.

Topics: Nonprofit, Nonprofit management, Nonprofit marketing, Nonprofit online fundraising, Fundraising Ideas, Fundraising plan, Grants

Grant Hensel

Written by Grant Hensel

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.

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