The Google in-kind advertising grant provides up to $10,000 per month in ad spend for eligible nonprofits. The average spend is just under $400 per month. With this disparity, there is room for nonprofit organizations to make better use of these in-kind dollars. Most campaigns lack a focus on strategy and understanding how to be effective within the limitations of the grant guidelines.
Instead of focusing directly on fundraising and donors, we took a growth oriented approach to expand visits to the website, promotion of special events, and awareness of volunteer opportunities. Keyphrase expansion including better match modifiers with improved landing pages on the website was used to increase Quality Score. This resulted in more impressions for lower bid phrases than the grant guidelines require. By setting goals for tracking conversions, a better focus of resources was allocated to take note of when complimentary paid campaigns display targeting and social media campaigns would be effective.
Grant utilization of the free in-kind advertising increased from ~$300-500 per month to as high as $9,000 per month in peak activity periods. Event attendance, membership, newsletter sign-ups and even donations have seen a steady increase consistent with the rates of increase in the grant advertising. Brand awareness and sentiment have also improved in the community and now reaching national audiences.