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In what year and in what city did the first YMCA open in the United States?

If you had to find the answer to that question, where would you look first? If you’re like most people today, your first move would be to pick up your smartphone and do a Google search. Google is our go-to when we need everything from answers to ingredients for a recipe to business locations to general information. (The answer to the above question, by the way, is 1851 in Boston. Thanks, Google.)  

Remember how we talked in the introduction about meeting your donors where they are? Your donors are on Google. They are there to look up your organization, other organizations, or search ideas related to your mission. When they go on these little quests, you want to be there to meet them.

In Many Ways Your Organization’s Homepage Is Google.com

How your organization appears in search results matters. Not only is search the most used resource when people have moments of need, it’s the resource 87% of people turn to first. If an individual searches for a term related to your organization (for example “cultural activities for kids” or “arts in my city”) and you do not show up high in the results, then you will not even be considered.

People are Googling your organization and things pertaining to your mission, and if you’re not there to respond and direct people to information, someone else will be. We once had a client that was surprised to learn other nonprofits were popping up at the top of the page in Google searches for their organization. If you don’t make an effort to own your search terms, someone else will.  

How Your Nonprofit Can Get Free Search Advertising with Google Grants

One of the best ways to ensure your organization is effectively represented in Google search results is through Google advertising. Here’s a quick primer on how Google ads work and how (if you’re not already) your nonprofit may be able to get free advertising from Google.

Google AdWords

For those who don’t know, Google offers paid advertising called Google AdWords. When you do a Google search, you’ll often see results on the page that look pretty similar to everything else but with a little box next to the URL that says “ad”. This is Google advertising. People pay to have these ads appear for specific search terms, typically related to their organization, product or service.

Google Grants

One of the awesome things Google does is offer free advertising to nonprofits through its Google Ad Grants program. To qualify for the program, nonprofits must apply and meet certain eligibility requirements (such as holding valid charity status and having a live website). Qualifying nonprofits receive $10,000 in free in-kind advertising from Google AdWords every month.

If you are a nonprofit organization that has not yet applied for Google Ad Grants, you should do so immediately. This is a fantastic opportunity not to be missed. Most nonprofits will qualify for this program and the benefits are clear and immediate—helping more people find your nonprofit on the web when they are actively searching for things related to your organization or your mission.

Learn more tactics for taking your online fundraising to the next level—download our resource The Digital Donation Revolution today.