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You’re a charity, you’re aware of Google Grants, but how do you make this good pay-per-click opportunity great?

Firstly, let’s have a quick recap on Google grants . . .

Google Grants is the scheme ‘not for profit’ organisations can apply for in order to use Google’s pay-per-click advertising for free, up to $10,000 per month.

The Google Grant is an absolute must if you’re a non profit organisation and you qualify. Although there are some limitations, it does mean that there is $10,000 (£6,330) up for grabs to use on PPC text advertising, this is limited to daily spend of $329 and $2 max CPC (cost-per-click).

So, what should you be doing if you’re a charity?

1.    Don’t limit yourself 

Spending the whole $10,000 budget is actually quite hard when it comes down to it. So don’t be afraid to really be creative with keywords, and if the time comes and you are spending your full budget, there is actually a further AdWords grant for $40,000 a month!

On average most charities only spend about $300 of their budget, leaving all the lovely free (AdWords) grant money to waste! Here are a few pointers for setting up your AdWords account:

  • Don’t limit yourself when setting up your campaign, it is actually very hard to spend the full $10,000 of grant, especially if you are a small charity.
  • Don’t use exact match keywords right away, start with really broad keywords and refine as you go forward with your campaign.
  • Research keywords thoroughly – because there is a $2 max CPC set for Google Grants users, you will need to be creative with your keywords, this mean finding the less expensive phrases that people may be searching for. For example, instead of ‘Donate to Charity’ (which is likely going to be highly competitive and expensive) try ‘which UK charities are best to donate to’.

2.    Be aware of Google’s guidelines for charities

There are some limitations as to what you can and cannot do with your ad text, essentially your ad text needs to directly relate to your charity and cannot advertise any other form of profitable trade.

3.    Thinking time

If you’re new to AdWords, here are a few tips to get you started and get the creative juices flowing:

  • Think about the unique points about your charity
  • Does your charity offer unique services to help people locally e.g. local groups/ clubs?
  • Why should someone donate to your charity instead of another?
  • Make sure your landing pages are highly relevant to your ads
  • Use call to actions, especially charity relevant ones like, ‘help us save lives’ or ‘donate to support our cause’
  • Use clear and concise language

4.     Quality score

Make sure your quality score is tip-top, and that means making your ad copy as impactful and relevant as possible to get ahead of your competitors, who may be paying a whole lot more for their bids.

Bad copy can inflate CPC (cost-per-click) by up to 600%, resulting in prices beyond the $2 limit applied to Google Grant AdWords. By making sure that your ad copy and page content are highly relevant low quality scores can be avoided.

Be creative with your ad copy, make it impactful and meaningful for the consumer, whilst remaining clear and concise (not a tall order at all!). By spending a bit of time on your ad copies, you will find better results and higher CTR (click-though-rate).

5.    Ad extensions

Use all the features available in AdWords to increase click-through-rate, these features are easy to set up and cost nothing extra.  Ad extensions create more reasons to click on ads by showing the user more detailed information about your website or service.

These include:

  • Call out extensions
  • Sitelink extensions
  • Phone number extensions

Find out more about ad extensions on the AdWords help page by Google.

6.    Analyse

Don’t just set your account up and leave it that way, make sure you are checking in and making use of the reporting available in both AdWords and Analytics.

If you really want to see how AdWords is impacting your website, make sure you set up Goals in Analytics and link this to your AdWords account. This is slightly more in depth and you may need professional help for something like this, but it is well worth it if you want to measure conversions on your charity website.

7.    Competitors

Look at what you competitors are doing, there are tools out there which will allow you to track the progress of your competitor’s websites. Here are some clever, and most importantly, free ways to research your competitors.

  • Use tools like: Open Site Explorer just type in your competitors web address and go!
  • Another great tool is Similar Web – again all you need to do is type in the web address of your competitor to gain ranking and traffic information.
  • Did you know you can use a tool like Hootsuite to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing on social? Just create a keyword stream, and set the keyword as your competitor’s name.