Presented on July 24, 2014
Trying to get more out of your nonprofit marketing budget? Nonprofits have an unprecedented opportunity to leverage digital marketing channels to increase online giving, including grant programs offered by Google for Nonprofits.
What are these opportunities, and how can your nonprofit take advantage of them? Marketing Mojo’s Janet Driscoll Miller will give you the lowdown on how Google Grants can help your nonprofit increase online donations throughout the year.
Kari Rippetoe: Good afternoon everyone, welcome and thank you for coming to today’s webinar, Can’t Miss Opportunities with Google for Nonprofits. I’m Kari Rippetoe, Content Marketing Manager, here at Marketing Mojo, and I’ll be serving as your moderator for today’s webinar. Before we get started, I just have a few reminders for you. There will be a Q and A at the end of today’s webinar, so if you have any questions for our presenters, please enter them in the GoToWebinar Questions Box at the right of your screen. Also, as always, we’re recording this webinar and once the full recording is available, you’ll receive a follow up email by Monday at the latest.
Finally, we encourage you to tweet about today’s presentation using the hashtag Mojowebinar. Plus, you can follow us also on Twitter @marketingmojo. And now I’d like to introduce you to today’s presenter. Janet Driscoll-Miller is president and CEO of Marketing Mojo, and she has nearly 20 years of marketing experience, and in addition to her work in digital marketing, Janet has a background in marketing communications. Janet holds a degree in Public Relations and Communications from James Madison University. She’s a frequent speaker at marketing conferences and writes for several blogs and print publications.
Originally founded as Search Mojo in 2005, Marketing Mojo is a full service, data driven digital marketing and demand generation agency helping marketers to achieve their online marketing goals through search marketing, paid media, content marketing, and marketing automation. Marketing Mojo is headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia , and we also have an office in Charleston, South Carolina. We’ve been featured in several marketing publications and blogs, and we also speak at several conferences including SMX, MarketingProfs B2B Forum, DemandCon and PubCon. We work with brands across a variety of industries, including many nonprofits and associations that you can see here. And with that, I’m going to hand it over to you Janet.
Janet Driscroll-Miller: Thanks, Kari. Everyone, thanks for coming today, glad to have you. And to start off with, let’s define what the Google for Nonprofits program is and then we’ll go into a little bit more about qualifications and sort of advanced information that you need to know about the Google for Nonprofits program. So first of all, what is Google for Nonprofits? It is a program for certain 501c3 nonprofits. And when I say certain, we’re going to talk about only certain types of nonprofits that qualify, and 501c3 is a requirement of that particular type of nonprofit you have to be. And you can receive added benefits from Google and its associated products.
And some of those things include YouTube, which we will talk a little bit more, about all of the benefits of each of these, but YouTube, Google apps that you can use for nonprofits, Google Earth Outreach, One Today by Google which is a new thing. We don’t have much information on that yet, and Google AdWords. And Google AdWords really being the piece de resistance of this presentation, so we’ll go through a few of these as well.
YouTube for Nonprofits have changed quite a bit over the past year or so. It used to be there was a bit more offering here, but really what I find to be the greatest benefit for YouTube for Nonprofits are these call to action overlays.
So you see here, I’ve pointed out this one on a Charity Water video on YouTube and you can see there, there is a little overlay and that allow folks who are watching the video to respond to an immediate call to action. So for instance, if you’re Charity Water and you’re showing a particular issue, you could have someone donate now right from the video. You can have them link to a spot on your site. So this is probably one of the better opportunities. You can certainly do this through advertising also with Google, but the reality is these are all now free if you qualify for Google for Nonprofits.
The next one is Google Earth Outreach. Now this one may not apply to every nonprofit. Everyone is eligible for it if they are in the Google for nonprofits program, but it’s really more of organizations that want to geo map their efforts around the world. So you can create a custom map of your project sites in just ten minutes with Google Maps. You can create narrative and Google Earth movies, and attach it to those locations. You can have different information, geospatial data online with their maps engine. You can collect data in the field, that’s kind of cool, with Android devices and open data kit. Again, like for Charity Water, this might apply really well to them, as an example.
And then online tutorials are there to help you as well. One example of how that’s being used today is here at Global Grover. This is how Sesame Street is using Google Earth to identify where there are different Sesame Street implementations around the globe, and you can watch videos from each area.
Next up is Google Apps. And as we all know, many nonprofits often are strapped for resources and cash. So one thing that’s really great about Google Apps is you get free access to Google Business Apps with greater storage than you would in the free version. So you get gmail, Google Calendar, all of the apps that are in Google Drive like Google docs, Google spreadsheets, etc.
You get 30 gigs of storage and 24/7 support which you also normally do not get if you are not a paying customer. So that’s a great add-on for nonprofits, so you don’t have to spend all of your money buying software. You can use Google Apps as well. And now for the big piece that I want to talk about and that’s the Google AdWords grant. The Google AdWords grant provides $10,000 a month in free Google AdWords advertising credits to Google for Nonprofits recipients. Now that can also be increased at some point to $40,000 a month in the GrantsPro Program, and we’ll talk more about GrantsPro at the end of this presentation.
But first let’s figure out how do we qualify for the Google AdWords Nonprofits. One thing you need to know is there are some limitations to the Google AdWords grant. It’s not just like opening up Google AdWords and starting up an account. It’s not quite that simple. One of the limitations is that you can only advertise in Google search results with the grant. So when you’re putting out ads, you can’t use other areas like Display Network. You can’t use any of Google’s partners for that. You can only have it in the Google search results. And you also have a max cost-per-click of $2.00 per click. That may seem like a lot, but some of the keywords are going to be pretty expensive as we’ll talk about in a few minutes.
So there’s also rules that are obviously associated with the Google AdWords grant. They have some rules that they want you to follow if you’re going to use their brand. You can only link to one main domain. So if you have multiple domains that could be a problem. You may need to create, if you have [inaudible 07:12] as an example, you may want to consolidate them under a domain. You must log in at least once a month to manage the account actively. This is a new requirement of the Google AdWords grant, and so they want to make sure that you’re using it, that you’re actually logging in and using it.
Ads and keywords must be relevant to the nonprofit’s mission. That makes sense. And sales must support the program. So in other words, if you sell products to help support your program, that’s fine, but you can’t sell products where the funds go to some other third party or it’s for profit. So in other words, if you sell tee shirts and all of the proceeds go to your program, that’s perfectly fine. Car, boat and property donations are not allowed, and I know that’s a really popular way for nonprofits to get a car donation that they are able to turn into cash later on through third parties. You’re not allowed to use those property donations in the ads, and you cannot land on the site or a page that has AdSense Ads which is where you serve Google Ads on your site. So you have to make sure that you’re following those rules to keep the Google AdWords grant. So is it really worth it? There’s a lot of rules and [inaudible 08:28] application process which we will talk about in a few minutes. Is it really worth it? Well, we have many clients who are on the Google AdWords grant who have applied for Google for Nonprofits and have been accepted, and in one case, we have one organization that still only has the $10,000 level.
So they’re getting $10,000 a month in free advertising credits from Google. They actually only use right now about half of that. They don’t use the full $10,000, and in many cases, we see, and Google has some statistics on this as well, many nonprofits only use about $300 of the $10,000 they’re granted. So there is a lot of room for improvement in using this money. But in just using the $10,000 a month grant that this particular nonprofit has, in December alone last year, they were able just from the grant ads to receive over $300,000 in donations in one month, and they currently average over $40,000 a month in donations every month just off of that particular investment. And really it’s a very minimal investment in many cases for them, because it’s $10,000 free in ad credits.
Well, I mentioned that the grant doesn’t cover everything. For instance, it only applies to Google search ads. But the other problem is there’s some other pieces that you want to think about when you’re going to use the Google AdWords grant. If you’re currently using Google AdWords, or you have some budget set aside right now for online advertising, if you look at the Google AdWords grant, don’t look at it as, oh yeah, I can just save all of this budget and return it to the organization. That’s great, but I would say if it were me, as a marketer, I would hold back any money you’re maybe currently investing in advertising or in Google AdWords, and I would use it as supplemental money for AdWords.
And here is why. The Google grant doesn’t cover everything. So because of that, you don’t want to be just limited to what the Google grant can do. Let me go through some of the three areas that are of concern. There are some keywords are going to cost you more than $2.00 a click if you want to compete. So you can’t do that necessarily through the Google AdWords grant. You also cannot do display advertising through Google AdWords grant, and you can’t do retargeting with Display through the Google AdWords grant either. So why is this a problem with the $2.00 per click?
$2.00 per click may seem like a lot of money, but in reality, it’s not when it comes to AdWords. So let’s take the American Heart Association as an example. Their mission is to spread the word about heart disease and help prevent heart disease in this country, so as we take a look at some of the keywords here, as an example, that they may want to use. Things like heart disease prevention, $3.77 a click. They couldn’t put this under the grants program and be competitive, so knowing that supplemental budget which you can actually use. You can actually pay for some ads with the grant money and some ads separately in Google AdWords.
This will allow you, by having that supplemental budget, to compete on some of the words that are really important to your mission, to get the right people in that may not be able to be covered by the grant, because they’re just too expensive per click. Display advertising is another area that the grant, unfortunately, does not cover. So I would use supplemental budget for this. Display Advertising includes ads like this where you see banner ads on other sites. These are not banner ads we created, but just an example of nonprofit banner ads you may see. And so, what we know about banner ads is they can be very effective at generating brand awareness and getting some visibility for your brand.
So knowing that, it really isn’t probably in your best interest to not do any banner advertising at all and only stick to the grants. If you have some supplemental, I would definitely consider this as well. And then finally, retargeting with Display Ads. So display ads are very effective but retargeting with display ads is even more effective. So what is retargeting, and in Google AdWords they call it remarketing, but they’re really the same thing. They show ads to previous site visitors. And what happens is when someone comes to your website or to a landing page, you can set a cookie on that. And the cookie lasts up to 540 days, so well over a year, almost 2 years, a very long time.
That being said, what you can then do is use those people who have been cookied to run ads to them again. Now just how effective is this? Well, we have a client that runs an annual campaign. And every year, they of course, bring people in, people come to the website, they get cookied, we go ahead and retarget those folks for the next year. So what we do is, it’s like recycling a click, or recycling our donors, making sure that they can come back and donate again. So in this case, looking at display ads by themselves like the ones you just saw versus retargeting display ads. This is where we actually target people who have specifically been at the site before.
The click through rate on retargeting was 90 percent better, the conversions were 700 percent better, and the cost per conversion was 66 percent less. So retargeting, I cannot stress enough, is such a valuable, valuable resource especially for nonprofits. But it does mean that you’re going to have to have a supplemental budget to advertise to people through the display network. You want to use retargeting to your advantage. As I mentioned, you can retarget donors in the next donation cycle. You can re-engage your volunteers who volunteered for you before, and you can take advantage of all of the traffic you’re getting from Google grant ads, cooking those people, and then the next time, use your supplemental to hit them with a display ad and retarget them, so a really great way to be pulling people back in who have an interest in your brand and interest in your particular nonprofit.
So now, the big question, how to I qualify for all of this and how can I apply. So first of all in order to qualify for the Google Nonprofits Program, you must be a nonprofit based in the United States, England, or Wales. That does not, however, mean that if you’re in another country, there isn’t a similar program. The only difference is that Google has specific requirements for each country, and if you’re not in one of those three countries that I just mentioned, you will have specific program requirements in your country. So for instance, Canada has almost everything that we talked about, but their requirements and their application process are different.
You must be a 501c3 classification by the IRS, and certain types of organizations even if they are 501c3 are not eligible. Those include government entities and organizations, hospital and healthcare organizations. So if you’re a clinic that doesn’t necessarily qualify you. Schools, child care, academic institutions and universities are not eligible. But if you have a foundation, let’s say, that’s a part of that educational organization, a nonprofit foundation would likely be eligible. So just keep those in mind. If you fall into one of those categories, you likely would not be approved.
One of the other things that is really important to note, because many nonprofits have an umbrella parent organization and may be some sub local chapters, only one membership is allowed per organization. But, that being said, branches of a larger nonprofit that share the same employer identification number with the parent organization are eligible. So let me give you an example of what I mean here. I am a Girl Scout leader when I’m here at Marketing Mojo. And in the Girl Scouts, we have Girl Scout National Organization and we have separate councils throughout the country that run into different regions.
Those councils actually operate as a completely separate EIN, or Employee Identification Number, and completely separate nonprofit from the Girl Scouts of the USA, even though they’re technically a part of the Girl Scouts of the USA. And so that being said, those councils individually, because they have a different EIN, would not be eligible to have their own Google grant. It seems a bit backwards to me but that’s how they do it. So the branches, if you do share an EIN with the parent organization, the branches then must indicate that they are applying as a related organization when you do the application process and that may adjust how much money they give you.
It could mean you have to go through additional screening, but you are still eligible as long as you share the EIN. So what is the application process? First and foremost, you must review the eligibility requirements. And you can see the link there. We’ve already reviewed them, so we can check. We’ve done that one, but in order to, if you want to go back and review just what we talked about, you can go to the link that I have here, and you can certainly take a look at all of the requirements. Step two is you have to apply for the program. You go ahead and put in an application. I will tell you that there is information on form. You may need some information from your CEO, etc., to put on there.
Just check the document list of everything you’re going to need and get ready to sit down and fill out the form. Now the application process takes anywhere from three days to, it can be longer. I’ve seen it take longer depending on the backlog. But once you’re approved, you’ll get a notification from Google, and then you can enroll in specific products at that point. So for instance, YouTube for nonprofits, just because you’re in Google for Nonprofits, doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to start seeing overlays in your video. You have to go to YouTube for Nonprofits, and enter your information there, and then they match it up with your Google for Nonprofits information. And that’s it. Three easy steps, right?
But the next step for the Google AdWords grant which is really important is the GrantsPro qualifications. This is where you can get up to $40,000 a month or basically almost up to a half a million dollars if you think about it for your ad credits for Google AdWords. Now in order to qualify for GrantsPro, to get from the $10,000 to the $40,000 level, you have to do the following things. Number one is you have to have conversion tracking active. So you have to be tracking at least one conversion. It can be an email newsletter sign up. That’s perfectly fine. You’ve got to have something in there. You must log in and manage bi-weekly, not just once a month. But you have to be much more active in your management and be showing that in your logs so Google will see how often you log in.
You also, this is a new change that’s a bit challenging, you have to hit $9900.00 of the $10,000 a month spend over a two-month period. They don’t have to be consecutive months, and you have a six-month period to reach that goal. But in two of the months that you’re running the grant, you must hit $9900.00 or more of monthly spend. And we’ll talk in a minute about how that’s really challenging. And you have to have a one percent or higher average click-through rate for six months. That means if you apply today, and you’re accepted today, and you were to start your Google AdWords grant account today, you cannot qualify for GrantsPro for six months.
So I would get started as soon as possible and start trying to meet these qualifications so you can qualify for the $40,000 level as quickly as possible. So why is it so hard to get GrantsPro? The biggest reason I think it’s challenging is because of the cost of keywords and the fact that you can’t always target some of these keywords that will get you the most traffic. So for instance, let’s look at some of the more popular words in nonprofits, donate to charities. Some of these are $12.00 and up, $10.00 and up. You’re not going to be able to put those in your grant, same thing with words like volunteering, another popular term.
All of these are over $2.00 per click. So you’re not going to be able to put these in your grant to qualify you for the $40,000 level towards that $9900.00 spend. So the challenge here is, and I like to tell people what the strategy has to be is you really need to build out a large keyword list, often long tail, very specific terms, and they may not get a lot of searches individually, but as a group, as a whole when you combine them, they will get a lot of searches and spend that money. But it really is challenging and time consuming to do. Is it worth it? Heck yes.
I think anyone who has the GrantsPro will tell you it’s absolutely worth it. And considering, again, it’s half a million dollars a year in free advertising, you really need to be thinking about how to get to this level. And then you need to monitor and adjust, because you’ve got to keep an eye on that number. The number used to be $9,500.00 for two months over a 12 month period. Now they’ve gotten much more strict, and they’re saying $9,900.00. It is very difficult to hit that spot, so you want to monitor and adjust, and make sure you’re spending up to your limit as much as possible.
And one word of caution here is we normally see that weekends are very, very slow. So what happens is you need that, you only have a hundred dollar window of non-used clicks that you can spare every month out of the $10,000.00, because you have to hit that $9,000.00 threshold. I can tell you with a great level of certainty that weekends are challenging and that we see dips in searches on the weekends for volunteer, activities, and donations, and so the problem with that can be that you need to have a $100.00 threshold as a cushion on the weekends. You need to spend up to your limit every single weekday that you can and every single weekend that you can.
Every day that you can, because there are going to be some days, for instance, July 4th is a holiday, Independence Day. Are people online looking for charities? No. They’re out having barbeques. So the problem becomes that in certain months, it becomes tough. Another tough month is February. It’s only got 28 days. You were actually given a daily budget of, I think it’s $330 a day. So if you don’t spend, you almost can never spend enough in February, because you only have 28 days that they’re counting instead of 30. So there are definitely some challenges which is why I say start now. Apply for that Google Grant Nonprofit Program, get into the ad grant, and get started now building that out.
This is something that we’ve helped a lot of clients with. We’ve helped many clients, many nonprofits go from the $10,000 level to the $40,000 level. But it is something that requires a lot of focus and a lot of effort. Now once you reach the $40,000 level, though, you’re pretty much in, and you don’t have to necessarily apply every year or anything like that, but they do ask you to fill out a survey every year. And as long as you fill out the survey, typically we have seen that no one, knock on wood, has lost their grant at the $40,000 level. So once you’re in, the good news is that you’re in. The hard part is getting in that club of GrantsPro.
But once you get in there, it’s fantastic, but you’ve got to get there. And that’s what we help our clients do is really get to that level and also make the best use of their supplemental that they can through things like retargeting and so forth to help increase those donations and volunteer activities. And with that, there is my contact information. If you have any questions about today, I hope you’ll put them in the box that Kari mentioned at the right hand of the screen. But even if you want to follow up later, we’d love to talk to you about how we can possibly help you and your nonprofit reach that GrantsPro level and get you getting as much benefit from Google for Nonprofits as possible.
Kari Rippetoe: Great. Thank you so much Janet. Lots of really great information there, especially as many of you might be starting up your holiday strategy for the giving season. So as she mentioned if you have any questions, please do put them in the questions box to the right of your screen. We do have a few questions to ask, so the first one is how long does it actually take to get that Google grant?
Janet Discroll-Miller: It depends on what level you’re at. If you’re applying initially for the Google for Nonprofits, it can take a little while. It can take 30 days or more in some cases, depending on their backlog. Now once you’ve achieved the qualifications for Google GrantsPro, you do not have to fill out a separate application. Google will see and recognize in your account that you’ve reached those requirements, and they will automatically up your budget, in your daily budget for you, your daily spend amounts, and you’ll see that happen. But typically, that one, they promise 30 days. Generally we find that they are pretty good about that. But the initially, one could have some backlog. So, again, I would do it as soon as possible just to ensure that you get in, especially with the holiday season coming up.
Kari Rippetoe: So there is not a separate application process for that $40,000 Grants Pro?
Janet Driscroll-Miller: That’s correct. In fact, we think clients are waiting to hear, and Google doesn’t even always notify you which is really interesting, because all of a sudden, you’re account is spending more one day, and you have no idea why. So they are not always great with the communications with Google Grants Program and the Google for Nonprofits Program, and if you have questions, there’s not anyone to answer them, per se. So it can be a little bit frustrating, but as I mentioned, I think it’s completely worth it.
Kari Rippetoe: And you mentioned at the beginning of the presentation that you have to have keywords that are relevant to your mission. How does Google actually determine what is relevant to your mission?
Janet Driscroll-Miller: So there are a couple of ways that Google does that. First of all, they do this even with any type of organization, they look at ad and keyword relevance to your landing pages. So they look at that. They can use bots to help them with that. But also they have human quality checkers that are looking at ads all of the time. And those folks are just double checking to make sure everything is above board. And so those are two main ways they are probably checking for that. You can probably get away with doing something that I frowned upon at Google for some time until they found it, but then you would risk then losing your grant. And so I would avoid doing anything that would be considered negative to Google and could cause you to lose your grant.
Kari Rippetoe: And this is an interesting question, are credit unions eligible, which are technically nonprofits, aren’t they?
Janet Driscroll-Miller: So credit unions aren’t 501c3 and that’s why they’re not eligible. And again, not very 501c3 is eligible, because there are many educational institutions that might be 501c3. So you have to take a look at that and determine if you’re going to be eligible. And if you’re not sure if you’re going to be eligible, apply anyway, because the worst thing that can happen is they say no, and the best thing that can happen is they say yes. And there have been organizations in the past that we applied for that organization, but we weren’t really sure if they would be accepted based on some of those criteria I gave you, and they were, lo and behold, accepted. So if you’re not really certain and you’re not sure that you fall into a particular category or if you feel you might be sitting on the fence, go ahead and apply as long as you’re a 501c3 and Google will determine if they feel like you’re eligible or not. You have nothing to lose, so I would go ahead and do it.
Kari Rippetoe: Great, and we have one last question. So if I had an agency, and you mentioned that in order to qualify for the GrantsPro, you have to have logged in at least, I think it was twice a week to manage your account, but could my agency log in and manage it for me under the grant, or does it absolutely have to be someone from my organization?
Janet Driscroll-Miller: To be fair, Google has no idea if it’s your agency or it’s your organization. But I’m not going to officially say in case Google is listening today that you should perhaps give your agency an email that maps your organization, but there is no way that Google is going to know who that log in person is. So for instance, one of the things I definitely, I try to encourage people when they are applying for things like the Google for Nonprofits, is do not use a gmail address. And the reason is, unless you’re using it for your organization, you can use gmail. And the reason is that, use your organizational email. For instance, in our case, we use marketingmojo.com.
The reason you want to do that and maybe create like an alias email, for example, is because let’s say someone else owns that gmail, that’s my personal gmail. And I leave the company, I have actually seen this happen. We had a nonprofit a few years back who had the $40,000 level of the grant, but someone who was in the organization, who started it with their gmail account left. We no longer had access to their gmail account, and guess what? Google sent that survey. It didn’t get filled out and overnight they lost that $40,000 and went back to the $10,000 level, which is heartbreaking.
So people come and go in your organization. If you can create an email alias, then you all can share as needed or create additional ones, and that also ensures that maybe three people will get notice of the survey. And everyone can coordinate at that point who’s going to fill it out. But really, Google doesn’t know who is really logging in, but if your main log in for your main account is under your company’s domain, your organization’s domain and you share that as an alias with your other members of your organization, even if that’s an agency, they’re really not going to know that Janet logged in or someone from the organization. It will always look like someone from the organization, whoever the account owner is.
Kari Rippetoe: Excellent. Thanks so much Janet. And as she mentioned, if you are interested in obtaining a Google grant, that’s something that we help many nonprofits do, and we can help them to manage it, so you can certainly give Janet a call. Her contact information is here. You can get in touch with us. Plus, as you leave here today, we do have an Exit survey. If you’re interested in us getting in touch with you or if you’re interesting in trying to obtain a Google grant, please let us know through this survey and also to let us know if today’s webinar was useful for you, we’d love to hear your feedback. Thank you so much to Janet for presenting today and thank you for attending, and we hope to see you again soon.