Ok Google, show me the best ways to market my nonprofit.
If you’re like most nonprofit marketers, you’ve probably searched for more cost-effective ways to get your cause in front of new people. Creating a well-rounded digital marketing strategy is becoming one of the most popular ways for businesses to find new prospects, and your nonprofit can use these same strategies.
An easy first place to start? Google for Nonprofits.
What is Google for Nonprofits?
Google for Nonprofits is a partnership program designed by Google. It provides free tools to nonprofit organizations that allow them to communicate, fundraise, and connect with donors quickly and efficiently.
Is Google for Nonprofits free?
Yes, Google for Nonprofits is free for any qualifying nonprofit organization. Once approved, qualifying nonprofits can gain access to programs such as Google Ad Grants, G-Suite for Nonprofits, YouTube’s nonprofit program, and more.
Nonprofits are notorious for working on a shoe-string budget: Google for Nonprofits provides these organizations a way to use the same tools large enterprise corporations use at no cost to their organization.
Who is eligible for Google for Nonprofits?
Not every nonprofit qualifies for a free Google for Nonprofits account. In order to be approved for an account, you must be a nonprofit charitable organization in good standing and meet the eligibility requirements in your country.
The following organizational types are not eligible for Google for Nonprofits and will not be verified. Before applying, double-check that your organization is not:
A government entity or organization
A hospital or healthcare organization
A school, academic institution, or university
Once you’ve applied to Google for Nonprofits, the process can take anywhere from 2–14 business days. If your application is rejected due to a lack of required information, you are eligible to apply again.
What’s included in Google for Nonprofits?
Google for Nonprofits includes a variety of products designed to help nonprofits communicate, fundraise, network, and advertise with potential donors and volunteers. All of the products included are owned by Google and provide solutions for every major nonprofit need.
G-Suite for Nonprofits
The first product Google for Nonprofits offers to its partners is G-Suite for Nonprofits. This is the go-to communication platform for many businesses, and Google now offers premium package offerings to nonprofits, free of charge.
What’s included in G-Suite for Nonprofits?
Unlimited Gmail accounts that end in @yourdomain.com
Full access to Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more
30GB of space for Drive documents and email hosting, up to 15 accounts
24/7 actual person support via phone, chat, and email
Admin access over all your organization’s accounts
G-Suite for Nonprofits includes all of the major offerings that a paid G-Suite access offers without any of the cost. There are no pay-walls or hoops to jump through: just easy access to one of the most popular communications suites.
Curious if G-Suite for Nonprofits is right for your nonprofit? Gmail is one of the most popular email service providers on the market. Browse real user reviews on our website.
Google Ad Grants
This product is probably the most popular offering with Google for Nonprofit users. Google Ad Grants allow nonprofits to compete for paid search terms without any of the associated cost. The big draw for Google Ad Grants is that partner organizations are given $10,000 a month of in-kind advertising dollars to spend on pay-per-click advertising.
What’s included in Google Ad Grants?
$10,000 per month of in-kind advertising dollars to spend on pay-per-click advertising
PPC ads are text-only and only run on Google.com
Access to the full Google Adwords platform to manage and measure your campaigns
Access to Adwords Express, for those who don’t want to actively manage PPC campaigns
One key update that Google for Nonprofit users should be aware of is that as of January 1, 2018, all Google Ad Grants accounts must maintain a minimum 5% click-through-rate (CTR) in order for their Ads account to remain active.
What are the requirements for Google Ad Grants?
Nonprofits cannot buy branded keywords they don’t own
Keywords must have quality scores of 3 or higher
Campaigns must have at least two ad-groups with a minimum of two ads running in each
Accounts also must have at least two site-link extensions active
Accounts must include geotargeting
Google Ad Grants account users cannot miss that threshold for more than two consecutive months or their account will be suspended. Google will notify any user that is at risk of having their account deactivated and will provide educational materials and tips to get users back on track.
This flowchart from design website Destylio shows the best way to optimize Google Ad Grants for your business. This guide along with others provided by Google can help you avoid falling below the 5% CTR threshold.
YouTube’s nonprofit program
YouTube is the largest video hosting platform in the world with more than 1 billion active users every single month. If your nonprofit is creating videos to talk about your cause, YouTube is where your audience is hanging out. YouTube’s nonprofit program provides special offerings for nonprofit organizations to help solicit donations, reach new audiences, and create better videos.
What’s included in YouTube’s nonprofit program?
The addition of “donation cards” and “link anywhere” cards within your videos
Zero transaction fees on any donations process by YouTube
Channels with 1,000+ subscribers gain access to YouTube Spaces
YouTube also outlines what makes for great social impact on its platform. Videos that are shareable, informative, and evergreen perform well. In addition to offering these tools to nonprofit marketers, YouTube also has plenty of tutorials and style-guides to help you create beautiful video content.
Google donation tools
In addition to Google Ad Grants and YouTube’s nonprofit program, Google also provides additional donation tools for nonprofits to utilize. Google One Today is a popular app designed to inspire your donors, offer donation matches, and more.
What’s included in Google’s One Today app?
No transaction fees — 100% of every donation goes to the nonprofit
Tax-deductible — Your donors get a convenient, year-end tax receipt for all their donations
Discreet — Your donors’ private contact info is not given to nonprofits
Do those perks sound appealing to you? Ready to claim your Google for Nonprofits account? If so, there are a few steps you’ll need to take in order to access all the features we’ve mentioned in this article.
The application process requires a lot of documentation to prove your nonprofit status, as well as validation from TechSoup that you’re a registered charity. You’ll want to work with your entire team to collect the required information.
Before you fill out any paperwork with Google, you’ll want to take the following steps first:
Make sure that your organization is registered as a charity or a 501(c)(3) if you’re located in the U.S.
Double check that your organization is eligible for Google for Nonprofits
Prominently display your mission statement on your website, Google considers this when approving accounts
Ensure you’re applying with your work associated Google account. Changing the email account associated with a Google for Nonprofits account after applying is tough
Once you’ve done all that, you can follow the next steps outlined on the Google for Nonprofits homepage. As we mentioned before it can take up to two weeks for confirmation to come through. Keep an eye on your email in case Google asks for additional information.
No need to Google it
You’ve got all the information you need right here! Your complete guide to Google for Nonprofits. If you’re looking for more information about how to market your nonprofit or up your social media game, check out some of the related articles on the G2 Learning Hub.
Lauren is a Content Marketing Manager at G2. You can find her work featured on CNBC, Yahoo Finance, and on the G2 Learning Hub. In her free time, Lauren enjoys watching true crime shows and spending time in the Chicago karaoke scene. (she/her/hers)