Why Every Nonprofit Should Run Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising


Google operates under one simple, three-word rule: "Don’t be evil." You can debate whether or not they truly follow that rule until the whiskey runs out, but there's no denying they spend an awful lot of money and time trying to make the world a better place. One of their most generous programs is known as Google Grants, and if you're in charge of marketing for a non-profit, you need to be taking advantage of this if you aren't already.

A Google Grant is essentially free advertising. If approved, your organization can be granted up to $10,000 per month in free pay-per-click (PPC) advertising on Google Search. This allows you to promote your organization, programs, initiatives and events for free on the most popular search engine in the world. That alone should be enough to convince you this is the right thing for your organization but if its not, read on. You'll be filling out your Google Grants application in no time.

Expand your audience

There are two ways to get traffic to your website from search engines: buy paid ads or get lucky enough to rank on the first page of results for relevant keywords. Anyone who's spent time with SEO knows that it can have an incredible return on investment but it can take months to see any kind of success. And unless you have the time to do it all yourself (not likely), you have to pay someone like me to do it for you. That can cost a lot of money up front for results you may not see for months.

If you get approved for a Google Grant, you can have ads running and traffic to your website in minutes. So make sure your contact form works and your phone lines are open, because you're gonna start hearing from people.

Learn about your audience

PPC is often used as a keyword research tool, and for normal businesses, that means they have to pay for this research because they are responsible for their ad spend. Nonprofits who are approved for a Google Grant don't have to worry about that advertising bill so they are free to experiment a little more. You can test a broad range of keywords and ads to learn which bring the most traffic or which bring the most qualified traffic.

You can then take this information to improve the copy on your website or other marketing materials. By learning the terminology that your audience responds to via PPC, you can then incorporate that terminology into your website, brochures, emails, anything that you use to engage with your audience. It not only positions your brand in a way that your audience is proven to respond well to but it also helps make your brand more consistent. And the best part is, while you're doing all this research and learning about your audience, you're getting visitors to your website, some of whom may have a fat check with your name on it burning a hole in their pocket.

With traditional marketing and advertising (radio, print, tv), you have to be sure that the message you're putting out there is going to work. If it doesn't, you're back to square one with a lot less money in your bank account. This is hard enough for big businesses that have multi-million dollar advertising budgets, much less a small organization trying to survive on a shoestring. With PPC, the risk isn't nearly as steep and the benefits are wide ranging. Give it a shot, and if you get confused, give me a call. I'll be happy to help.


A photo of a meme explaining that google gives free advertising to nonprofits