In the previous article we shared two characteristics to evaluate Google Ad Grants for your nonprofit. Today, we’ll look at 5 questions or variables to see if the program will be good for your organization right now.
If you’re busy and just want to get a specific answer as to whether the Google Grant will be good, then take this quiz! Otherwise, read more to learn the factors that determine how effective the program could be for your organization –
5 Questions to Evaluate Google Grants
1. What are your expectations and goals of Google Ads?
This is important, because the results will disappoint you if you start with expectations that are beyond what the Grant can do!
First, to help you set proper expectations, these are some of Google Grant’s limitations:
- limited by how many searches are made for each keyword
- cannot (does not) compete against paying advertisers
- can be difficult to get results for competitive keywords
- will likely not lead to many immediate new donations
- requires a lot of planning and marketing assets on your website to succeed
On the other hand, here are some things Google Grants can do well:
- create the audience you invite for your next fundraiser, leading to new donors over time
- find new volunteers and employees
- bring lots of visitors to your website, content, or events
- grow your email subscribers consistently with low ongoing effort from your team
- create audiences whom you can retarget on other platforms
- reach more people who need your services
2. How big is the region that you can target for your programs or donors?
The larger of an area you can target, the more effective Google Grants is likely to be. This is because the larger the area you can target, the more searches are being made for your keywords. If your target city/region has a small population or you serve a niche market your results will be limited, because that there may not be enough people searching to get a lot of traffic.
Therefore, you need take population size into account, because the larger it is the more Google Grants will help. Similarly, the more general your services are (and the more searches are made), the more the Grant will benefit you.
One way to overcome this limitation is to create content that is relevant for a wider audience, which means the more you can use your expertise to serve a wider audience, the more you can overcome limited search volume. Here are a couple of examples:
- If you are an animal shelter, then you can create content that helps owners of all different kinds of pets. If you create something you have at least a little knowledge or experience with, it will be helpful. For example, even if you focus on taking care of cats and dogs, you can probably help pet owners who have reptiles, birds, or fish.
- If your mission serves people with a rare disease and you just have a small audience, you can still create resources for a wider audience. This could include helping anyone dealing with the medical system, living with chronic illness, advocating for patients, and more.
3. How do you deliver your services or fulfill your mission?
Google Grant ads are inherently digital, so if you primarily fulfill your mission in person you will be limited in what they can do. Similarly, if you run a seasonal event or provide services to areas that don’t have internet access, the Grant may not be effective to expand your mission.
However, if you can deliver some programs virtually or if clients need to contact you to get services, Google Grants can be very useful.
4. How much experience with Google Ads do you have?
Google ads is not an easy platform to learn, so making the most of your Grant takes a lot of work. Therefore, you need to know: do you have someone – an employee, board member, or volunteer – with experience who can help you succeed?
Otherwise, do you have the budget to hire an expert or someone on your team who devote time to learn? It takes few hours to apply, 20+ hours to learn, and 3-4 hours/week to manage (at least at the beginning).
Ultimately, if you have an internal expert, the time to learn how to run a successful Grant campaign, or the money to hire an agency, Google Ad Grants can be a great program for your organization.
5. What is the quality of your website and other digital content?
Similar to question #3 above is this last question: How good is your digital content for building relationships with donors?
New potential donors who are visiting your website need to be engaged and cultivated digitally, which this means that you need to have quality content on your site and ways to follow up in order to turn these visitors into subscribers, volunteers, or donors.
You need to plan the journey your people will take to go from being first-time visitors and strangers of your organization to becoming donors or volunteers. Generally, you need to have a website that:
- is up-to-date and runs fast
- is mobile-friendly (or mobile first)
- has content and pages that are relevant and focused on the topics your visitors are looking for, which should be based on the keywords you want to target
- provides calls to action where visitors can subscribe, donate, or signup for events/opportunities
Essentially, you need to understand the journey that a stranger will take: from a) the terms they search, to b) seeing and clicking on your ad, to d) visiting your website, to e) the next step you want them to take.
General Pros and Cons of Google Ad Grants
While this article shares 5 questions or variables that influence whether Google Ad Grants is a good program for your organization, here is a general list of the pros and cons of the program as a whole:
|Quickly testable and often evergreen||Software complexity|
|Text only ads (no creative, videos, or images needed)||Steep learning curve|
|Robust analytics||Limited by number of searches being made|
|Cost effective||More difficult to target specific audiences|
|Free market research (keyword planner)||No or low ad impressions for competitive keywords|
In conclusion, if you are eligible and the program seems like a good fit, here is a guide on how to apply to Google Ad Grants. For reference, the application process takes 1-2 hours, spaced over the course of about two weeks.
Book a call with us if you’re considering the program and need some expert input!