This guide covers the basics of corporate sponsorship and sponsorship levels.

Sponsorship Levels – Nonprofit Catalog

Consider the following: you want to host a fundraising event, but you don’t have enough funds to do so. That’s where corporate sponsorships can really help. Partnerships between nonprofits and businesses can help nonprofits increase revenue and get funding for goals and events. Plus, establishing varying sponsorship levels can help you maximize your fundraising.

What are sponsorship levels?

A corporate sponsorship is a type of partnership between a nonprofit and a business, specifically where the nonprofit receives support from the business to continue serving its mission. While this partnership may seem more beneficial for nonprofits, corporations can gain increased name recognition and tax breaks. Furthermore, social responsibility brings businesses positive marketing benefits and improves their reputation among potential customers.

Sponsorship levels are different tiers of corporate sponsorship. These tiers have varying levels of benefits and prices for the corporation.

How to determine sponsorship levels

These are some of the steps to determining your nonprofit's sponsorship levels.

Setting specific sponsorship levels requires a lot of thought and planning to maximize success. Here are some things you should do while determining sponsorship levels:

Set a goal

What do you want to get out of your sponsorship? Are you looking for sponsorship for a specific fundraising event, such as a hybrid auction or a fun run? Perhaps you’re looking for more funds to reach a specific goal or project. Or maybe, you would like sponsorship for your nonprofit as a whole, to help cover the day-to-day costs and administrative expenses.

Depending on what your goal is, you will want to set different sponsorship levels. A partnership for a fundraising event will probably have fewer benefits and cost less than a longer-term partnership.

Identify potential corporate sponsors

Once you decide what your goal is, you might be tempted to go straight to brainstorming what your sponsorship levels will cost and what the benefits will be. However, researching potential corporate sponsors can help you determine those things.

Consider the following when identifying potential corporate sponsors:

  • Relevance. Ask yourself: does your nonprofit’s mission have anything to do with what the corporation is trying to achieve? For example, if you run a soup kitchen that feeds families in need, you may want to consider restaurants as potential sponsors, as they also work in the food industry.
  • Company size. The size of the business often has an impact on the amount of money they can offer for sponsorship. A smaller local company won’t be able to afford the sponsorships a major global company will be able to. If you plan on reaching out to local companies, consider offering some cheaper sponsorship options.
  • Nonprofit interest. If a corporation has shown interest in social responsibility beforehand, it may be easier to secure a sponsorship from them. Take a look at whether they offer matching gifts or volunteer programs—if they do, it’s a sign that they may be interested in working with nonprofits.
  • Event type. If you’re specifically looking to sponsor an event, consider what types of corporations would be interested in that type of event. For example, a local bakery might sponsor a bake sale, and a water bottle company might be interested in sponsoring a fun run.

Doing this research will give you a list of corporations you can directly reach out to. Having a clear idea of the corporations you’re marketing to will help you get a better sense of what benefits to offer. You will also be able to make your sponsorships more targeted and be able to appeal specifically to those corporations.

Offer sponsorship incentives

Although corporate sponsorships are mutually beneficial, you’ll still want to incentivize corporations to sponsor you. That means you must appeal to what corporations want and offer them appropriate benefits. Here are some benefits you can offer:

  • Video promo/ad. If your event is in-person, you can show this ad during a lull in the event. You can also place a video ad on your event website.
  • Logo on print materials and virtual. Having the business’s logo on your website, banners, and tickets will create more positive brand awareness.
  • QR codes/links to their page. Strategically placing QR codes leading to your corporate partner’s website will help drive more traffic to them and may result in increased sales.
  • Acknowledgement. This can be in a press release or a part of a speech in person, where you thank your sponsor and acknowledge that the event would not be possible without them.
  • VIP event/reception. Offer your corporate sponsors an opportunity to connect with some of your major donors at VIP receptions to help your sponsors with their lead generation.

Evaluate the potential benefits you could offer and which of them would appeal most to the corporations you’re planning on reaching out to. Include those in your sponsorship levels, and include more high-value benefits in your more expensive packages.

Choose sponsorship level names and prices

After you’ve given thought to your goal, your potential corporate sponsors, and what incentives you’ll be offering, decide what your sponsorship levels should be called and what they should cost. You can get creative with your level names and even tie them into what your nonprofit does. For example, if you work for a zoo, you could name your sponsorship levels after animals. The top tier could be “Lion,” the bottom tier could be “Meerkat,” and so on.

Your prices should reflect the thought you’ve put into what corporations you’re targeting. If you are planning on mostly selling to small local corporations, your prices should be lower. Bigger companies will have more money, so you can make your levels more expensive. Reflect on your organization and how much you think your cause is worth to corporations—don’t downsell or upsell.

When done correctly, sponsorship levels can help your nonprofit accomplish objectives that you normally wouldn’t have the funds for. Take the time to do the research and brainstorming to increase your chances of a successful sponsorship.

If you’re interested in other forms of corporate giving, take a look at the resources down below.

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog.

Corporate Giving Programs: The Ultimate Fundraising Guide – Interested in corporate giving programs? This guide covers all of the basics.

Corporate Gift Matching Software Can Be A Game Changer For Your CRM – Informing your donors of gift matching opportunities is crucial for fundraising, making gift matching integrations essential for your CRM.

This article will explore the basics of legacy giving for nonprofits.

Legacy Giving – Nonprofit Catalog

Legacy giving is a unique fundraising opportunity that can be ongoing like other development work, such as seeking major gifts or grants, and can also access an untapped source of donations. This type of gift is important to your donors who want to leave a lasting legacy and positive impact on your mission as it allows them to give larger donations at a future date.

Before you plan how to incorporate legacy giving into your fundraising strategy, let’s review the basics:

What is legacy giving?

Legacy giving, or planned giving, is a donation that has been incorporated into the donor’s financial or estate plan, usually to be given after they pass away.

This is typically a large donation that can provide significant funds to a nonprofit and tax benefits to the donor or the donor’s family. Legacy gifts or planned gifts are often unrestricted, although donors can specify particular programs or projects that their gifts will need to go towards.

These are the common types of legacy gifts.

Types of legacy gifts

Legacy gifts are unique in that they’re non-cash. In other words, they’re given out of assets or overall estates rather than day-to-day income. Donors can often give larger planned gifts than they’d be able to purely out of pocket. There are numerous ways to plan a gift to a nonprofit, so there are options to accommodate each situation. Consider these key types of legacy gifts:

Bequests: A legacy gift where the donor includes a nonprofit in their will, leaving a portion of their estate to it.
Retirement plans and life insurance: A legacy gift where the donor leaves their unused retirement assets to a nonprofit or names the nonprofit as the beneficiary of their life insurance policy.
Charitable gift annuities: A legacy gift where the donor gives a large donation in exchange for a fixed income payment.
Retained life estates: A legacy gift where the donor transfers ownership of their property to a nonprofit but retains the right to use it until the set term is up.

Only a donor can decide which type of legacy gift works best for their situation, goals, and plans. Make sure your supporters understand their options so they can choose and customize their gifts accordingly once you start a conversation with them about planned giving.

Legacy giving FAQ

Who is eligible to give a legacy gift?

Anyone is eligible to give a legacy gift, but people who have a will, life insurance policy, property, or other significant assets are more likely to give. Because there are so many types of these gifts, the parameters are wide, but these donors at least have to have something to give. Donors with proven wealth make ideal first prospects, but even lifelong savers who might not otherwise be on your radar as top prospects can make significant legacy contributions if you put in the work of developing your relationships with them and explaining the impact they could have.

To narrow down this donor pool, you might research a prospect’s involvement with your cause, such as past giving or volunteering. You can also survey your supporters to learn more about their interest in legacy gifts and your organization. Some of your supporters might have already included your nonprofit in their will.

What is the most common type of legacy gift?

Bequests are the most popular type of legacy gift. They’re typically easier to arrange than other gifts, since wills are easy to update. Providing easy-to-use estate planning tools to your bequest prospects can help you secure more planned gifts.

Many people may choose to give via bequest but won’t tell your nonprofit about their gift. This is why a survey can be helpful to identify existing donors or people who might be interested in planned giving.

Why are legacy gifts important to the nonprofit?

Nonprofits benefit from legacy gifts financially. These donations can be considered long-term income for a nonprofit because they promise future funding that can be projected and planned on to support future growth. They can also be invested in some cases to return even more funding.

It’s a gift that will support the nonprofit for years without requiring extra expenses from the nonprofit, making planned giving among the highest-ROI fundraising activities. Rather than hosting a gala, for example, nonprofits might secure legacy gifts by simply making their supporters aware of planned giving as an option and reaching out to prospects to discuss it. It’s a promise of future funding that can come from nearly any supporter at little or no cost to your organization.

How does a legacy gift benefit the donor?

Depending on the type of legacy gift, donors might not feel the financial effects of giving in their lifetime. Because they don’t interrupt daily cash flow, they provide an opportunity to give a large gift to a cause the donor is passionate about. Leaving such a gift can make the donor feel like they’ve left an impactful legacy.

The reduced day-to-day burden is helpful, but there are also financial incentives to legacy giving. Some gift types, like bequests and charitable remainder trusts, offer significant tax benefits for donors and/or their heirs. The donor is given the flexibility to develop a planned gift that best suits their financial situations and desired outcomes.

Legacy giving gives control to the donor in more ways than one. Not only can the donor choose which type of gift they’d prefer to give, but they can also decide what’s done with that gift. For example, in a bequest, the donor might allocate their money to a specific cause or project.

How can nonprofits start promoting legacy gifts?

Even if you have a clear understanding of legacy gifts and the potential impact they would have for your organization, your supporters might not. The best way to promote legacy gifts is to make donors aware of their options.

You might find opportunities to bring up legacy giving in conversations with top prospects, or you might send out communications to your supporter base specifically about these types of gifts. No matter what, make it as easy as possible for your supporters to explore their options and plan their gift. Offer easy to use tools for creating bequests, like Freewill. Over time, you can develop a dedicated planned giving program that sources, cultivates, and stewards new legacy gifts for your nonprofit.

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog.

Nonprofit Marketing – Learn more about the basics of nonprofit marketing and how to structure your marketing strategy.

A Guide to Planned Giving – Take a deeper dive into planned giving and how to get started.

This guide goes over the basics of crowdfunding for nonprofits.

Crowdfunding – Nonprofit Catalog

As a nonprofit, sometimes you need to refresh your campaign strategy to acquire donations from new communities. In that case, crowdfunding is a unique type of fundraising you should try.

What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is a fundraising format in which large amounts of people each donate a small amount of money to fund a project or venture. It typically occurs via the internet, and because of this, it allows companies to reach a wider audience that they normally wouldn’t have connected with. Whether you are a family trying to raise money after a hurricane or a nonprofit trying to reach a goal, crowdfunding can be a nifty way to raise the funds you need.

Crowdfunding FAQs

What types of crowdfunding are there?

There are several main types of crowdfunding:

  • Donation-based. When people donate and receive nothing in return, that is donation-based crowdfunding. This type of crowdfunding campaign is usually successful because individuals connect strongly with your mission or goal and want to support you.
  • Debt-based. People give with the expectation that this money is being borrowed and will be returned at a later date.
  • Reward-based. Commonly found on platforms like Kickstarter, donors of reward-based crowdfunding campaigns expect to receive something in return for their donations. For example, if supporters donate a certain amount, you could send them a mug branded to your nonprofit.
  • Investment-based. Also known as equity-based crowdfunding, this type of campaign allows businesses to sell a part of their business in exchange for funds. People who fund this campaign personally invest, becoming shareholders in the campaign. This type of campaign usually cannot be used by nonprofits because there’s no private ownership allowed.

As a nonprofit interested in crowdfunding, you will probably be creating a donation-based or reward-based campaign. When a nonprofit has a compelling mission and a clear goal, a donation-based campaign can work very well. However, there’s nothing wrong with a reward-based campaign where you give supporters some form of branded merchandise, such as a mug or a t-shirt, in exchange for their support.

What are the benefits of crowdfunding?

This image shows some of the benefits of crowdfunding.

Here are some of the benefits of crowdfunding:

  • Greater outreach. Since crowdfunding campaigns tend to take place on the internet, they allow you to reach a wider audience of supporters than you normally would have.
  • Efficiency. For the duration of your campaign, all donors will be funneled towards your fundraising page. This helps you streamline donations and makes your process more efficient.
  • Access to new ideas and feedback. Often, crowdfunding pages will have sections where supporters can write comments and questions. This will give you access to your supporters’ ideas and immediate feedback, which you can use in the future for more effective fundraising.
  • Supporter-driven marketing. Most crowdfunding platforms make it easy to share pages to social media. When your supporters share your page, they are marketing your campaign for free, since they are taking the initiative to spread the word. When they do this, they are both promoting your campaign and endorsing your organization.
  • Proof of interest. Having a successful campaign means that a large amount of people are supporting you and believe in your cause. You can use this proof to convince corporations to partner with you through matching gift programs or volunteer drives.

Naturally, crowdfunding has its downsides as well. The biggest drawback is that there is no guarantee that people will donate to your campaign, which makes crowdfunding more suitable for nonprofits that already have a large base of supporters. However, by staying organized and marketing your campaign appropriately, you can mitigate a lot of the risk.

What features should you look for in a crowdfunding site?

Picking a suitable crowdfunding site is crucial to the success of your campaign. When choosing a crowdfunding platform, keep the following features in mind:

  • Easy page setup
  • Customization options
  • Online payment processor
  • Social media integration
  • Commonly hosts similar campaigns
  • Platform fee

When it comes to crowdfunding sites, GoFundMe and Kickstarter are the most popular options.. However, just because it’s popular doesn’t mean that it’s the best fit for your nonprofit. Make sure to check out other great crowdfunding alternatives.

Tips for a successful crowdfunding campaign

Here are some things to keep in mind for a successful crowdfunding campaign:

  • Prepare thoroughly for your campaign. Remember that the inherent risk of crowdfunding is that people might not want to donate. Ensure that you do thorough research on your audience to learn how best to conduct your campaign.
  • Clearly communicate your campaign’s purpose and goals. Make sure that donors know what their money is going to be used for. For example, if you are an animal shelter, you could say that you’re raising money to help cover the costs of caring for a recent influx of puppies.
  • Share compelling and relevant marketing materials. Whether it is videos of volunteers or anecdotes from people you’ve previously helped, make sure you show potential donors why your mission is important. Include emotional appeals in your marketing materials, such as an image of a puppy that you’re helping and his/her story.
  • Spread the word through social media. Your crowdfunding campaign should be cross-linked with your website and your other social media platforms for ease of access. You can also post on social media about your campaign every couple of days to maximize exposure.
  • Thank your donors. After a successful crowdfunding campaign, remember to show your gratitude to your donors, such as by sending them a donor thank you letter. Express your genuine appreciation for their help, as without it, your campaign would not have succeeded.

Although the prospect of creating a crowdfunding campaign may seem intimidating, it can be very helpful for generating large amounts of funds for your nonprofit. The key aspects to remember are that you must pick an appropriate crowdfunding site, prepare thoroughly for your campaign, and create compelling content that makes potential donors want to support your cause.

If you’d like to learn more about nonprofit fundraising and marketing, take a look at the resources below!

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog.

Best Fundraising Ideas – If you’re looking for fundraising ideas, this website is a great resource to help you brainstorm.

40+ Marketing Ideas for Nonprofits to Spread Your Mission – Bringing awareness to your mission is crucial for nonprofits, and the best way to do so is through marketing and promotion.

This guide walks through the basics of charitable foundations.

Charitable Foundation – Nonprofit Catalog

Charitable foundations are key entities in the nonprofit world. With various types and classifications determined by the IRS, it’s important to understand the distinctions. For instance, how do private foundations differ from public charities? 

Acquiring basic knowledge of how nonprofits interact with charitable foundations will allow you to develop better relationships and improve your grant application processes in the future.

What is a charitable foundation?

A foundation is a fairly loose term in the nonprofit sector that can apply to a range of 501(c)(3) organizations. They primarily focus on supporting charitable activities and programming related to areas like education, health, religion, and culture by issuing grants, or packages of funding designated for specific uses by the nonprofits that receive them.

Contributions to organizations designated by the IRS as 501(c)(3) are usually tax-deductible, since they’re made in support of charitable purposes. Although some foundations may have their own charitable programs and most conduct fundraising activities of their own, most employ their assets by awarding grants.

What are the different types of charitable organizations?

Two key categories of 501(c)(3) charitable organizations are private foundations and public charities

Public charities are exempt from state and federal income taxes as long as they meet the requirements defined in the IRS’s Compliance Guide. However, private foundations may not be tax-exempt nor able to deduct charitable contributions unless their governing instruments contain additional special provisions.

Another difference lies in these foundations’ primary sources of financial support. While private foundations tend to be self-funded by an individual, family, or corporation, public charities often receive financial support from donations and grants.

Primary types of organizations within these two categories of charitable foundations include:

This image lists the types of private foundations and public charities described in the content below.
  • Private Foundations
    • Independent Foundations are usually self-funded by an individual or a group of individuals.
    • Family Foundations are usually funded by a family’s endowment and governed by members of that family.
    • Corporate Foundations, also known as company-sponsored foundations, are created and funded by a corporation. Their grants usually relate to the corporation’s activities. The Google Ad Grants program, for instance, is part of Google’s corporate philanthropy arm.
  • Public Charities
    • Public Foundations make up one of the largest groups of public charities. These foundations are a significant source of grants, primarily allocating their budget towards providing financial support to communities and other organizations.
    • Nonprofits, rather than issue grants, prioritize performing charitable activities to further their social causes. For these organizations, it’s crucial to conduct and share impact measurements to assure donors of the results that their funds help to achieve. This type of public charity can include schools, churches, and nonprofit hospitals.
    • Community Foundations largely focus on providing funds to support charitable projects in a specific community or geographical area. By examining local areas of need, they help finance initiatives such as human services, healthcare, or educational programs.
    • Supporting Organizations, such as the philanthropic branch of a hospital or university, support and associate themselves with another specific organization.

Generally, most foundations that fall within these categories offer grants to other nonprofits. Understanding their individual distinctions will help you navigate your interactions with them and determine the best ways to make a case for support and communicate your impact.

What do charitable foundations do?

Like other nonprofits, foundations have their own missions. Most drive impact by providing financial support to other organizations whose goals align with their own. Nonprofits with powerful impact stories are especially likely to gain support from these grantmakers, along with other potential contributors.

Depending on the type of foundation and its goals, it might also conduct research or educational services. Charitable branches of healthcare institutions and universities can be essential sources of funding for nonprofit organizations.

Additionally, public foundations tend to conduct their own fundraising initiatives and activities. Just like other nonprofits, it’s important for all foundations to remain compliant with the appropriate standards of conduct, though the outlined requirements may differ slightly depending on their classifications.

How do nonprofits interact with charitable foundations?

501(c)(3) charitable nonprofits usually interact with foundations through the grant seeking process. Whether you’re composing an annual appeal to donors or applying for a grant, be sure to emphasize your nonprofit’s story and impact when asking for support.

In order to fulfill their own missions to drive impact, foundations devote much consideration towards responsibly stewarding their assets and allocating them in ways that will result in the most measurable impact. Because of this, the grant seeking process for nonprofits can be competitive and challenging.

To ensure success, prioritize understanding a foundation’s priorities, mission, and guidelines as you attempt to capture their attention with a proposal. Nonprofits with well-aligned missions and proposals tailored to the foundation’s requirements and priorities will have the best shot at getting approved for a grant.

Another significant interaction between nonprofits and charitable organizations lies in the grant management and reporting process. For foundations and donors alike, it’s important to know where their contributions are adding up and what kind of impact they’re having. SureImpact’s guide to nonprofit impact measurement provides concrete steps for sharing impact results and strengthening relationships with financial supporters.

Cultivating trusting relationships with foundations can lead to more successful grant proposals in the future, so take the time to communicate thoughtfully according to the funder’s guidelines!

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog.

Nonprofit Bookkeeping – Nonprofit Catalog – As a 501(c)(3) organization, your nonprofit must abide by some guidelines and regulations set forth by the IRS. Learn more about the essentials in this introduction to bookkeeping.

Corporate Philanthropy – Nonprofit Catalog – In addition to grants, corporations can offer matching donations and in-kind donations. Take a look at the various types of corporate philanthropy and their benefits.

This guide goes into the basics of nonprofit donation requests.

Donation Request – Nonprofit Catalog

Donations are the foundation of the nonprofit industry. Without them, nonprofit organizations wouldn’t be able to reach their goals and create positive social impact. That’s why it’s crucial to have compelling donation requests.

What is a donation request?

A donation request is fairly straightforward—it’s a letter, email, or other type of message asking for a donation. When you receive a call asking you to donate to help fund animal shelters, or when you receive an email detailing how your money would help build houses for families in need, there is a donation request being made of you.

How do you make a donation request?

Making a donation request can be a daunting task. Convincing people to part with their hard-earned money can be challenging. However, doing some research ahead of time to develop a clear outreach plan can greatly improve your chances. One of the first things you should look into is who you can request donations from.

Who to request donations from

Nonprofits can request donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations.

Here are the most common groups that nonprofits request donations from:

  • Individuals. Reaching out to as many interested individuals as possible is important for a successful fundraising campaign. Donations from individuals can vary in size, but you should make sure to show your gratitude regardless.
  • Corporations. Corporate giving and corporate social responsibility are on the rise, so reach out to corporations for donations. Companies can offer workplace giving programs such as matching gifts or volunteer grants to incentivize donations from their employees.
  • Foundations. In 2021, foundations donated a total of $90.88 billion. A critical source of nonprofit funding, foundations often require applications to consider giving to a nonprofit. When you research foundations, look for those whose missions align with yours.

Each of these overarching groups is made of individuals with unique motivations and interests. For example, foundations will tend to give grants to different types of organizations based on their unique charitable mission and goals. Some corporations will be more likely to offer a matching gift program than others. Make sure that your research is robust and you have a sufficient understanding of each prospective donor group.

When to make donation requests

There are no hard and fast rules about when donation requests can be made—in fact, you can ask whenever you want. However, there are certain times during the year when donors are prepared to make larger gifts. Take the opportunity to make your request during these times:

  • Events. Make the most of your fundraising events by including a clear donation request. Ensure that your attendees know how to make a gift to your organization, whether that’s through an online page or a physical collections box.
  • Year end. It’s estimated that 30% of annual giving occurs in December, with 10% occurring in the last three days of the year. If you have a yearly goal, consider reminding donors about it sometime at the end of the year. Or, follow FundraisingIP’s suggestion and host a year-end fundraising event!
  • Giving Tuesday. This annual event is a global day of giving centered around positively transforming communities and the world. This day celebrates generosity and all donations. Take this opportunity to request monetary or in-kind donations, such as asking for supplies for your volunteer program!
  • Cause months. Every month has specific social good causes tied to them. For example, October is famously the breast cancer awareness month. If your cause has a month associated with it, ensure that you promote your nonprofit during that month and request donations.
  • After crises or urgent challenges. For example, if your nonprofit helps find loving homes for shelter animals, you could ask for donations after receiving a surprise influx of 100 new animals. Supporters will be motivated to donate to help mitigate your organization’s most pressing challenges.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to limit your donation requests to just special days like Giving Tuesday or other major event days. You can ask for donations all year round to help fund your nonprofit’s ongoing projects and programs. You know your donors the best, so make sure that you pick times when they are more likely to make gifts.

Ways to make donation requests

There are numerous ways to make donation requests. Here are a few:

  • In person. Making an ask in person is especially effective at fundraising events. Remind attendees that they can make a donation, and guide them through how your donation system works. You may also make in-person donation requests during one-on-one meetings with major donors. Since you’re asking for significant contributions from these individuals, setting up a one-on-one meeting shows that you’ve put time and thought into your request.
  • Email. Email donation requests are very simple to set up, and you can even personalize them to include the recipient’s full name. Include eye-catching graphics and information about tangible goals that the donors’ gifts will go towards.
  • Phone calls. A tried-and-true method for donation requests, phone calls are a great way to contact donors who value human connection. Consider using them to connect with demographics that might not use technological devices often, such as older adults.
  • Social media. Making a donation request through social media can help you reach a wider audience. People from all over the country (or even the globe) can easily access information about your campaign. Make sure to post on popular platforms like Facebook and Instagram, and ensure that your online donation system is easy to use and accessible.
  • Letters. A handwritten letter speaks to the effort a nonprofit is making to connect with its donors. Some donation request letter best practices include having an emotional appeal and incorporating information on how to donate.

Ensure that you are communicating with your donors outside of donor requests. If donors perceive your nonprofit as only reaching out when you want donations, they will feel that your efforts aren’t genuine, and will be less likely to make gifts. Keep your communication with donors thoughtful and focus on strengthening your connections.

Donation request best practices

Now you know the who, when, and how of donation requests. But before you make your request, make sure you keep these best practices in mind:

  • Research your donors. Not all donors are interested in the same thing. Make sure that your donation requests match the donor to increase your chances of getting a gift. Consider creating a donor segmentation cheat sheet to make sure your communications are appropriate for each donor.
  • Be genuine and transparent. Donors want to know that you’re earnest about your cause and they want to make sure that their money is being used for good. In your request, let them know how you plan to use their donations, then follow up later with updates that show you’re using their gifts how you said you would.
  • Accept rejection gracefully. Not everyone has the means or desire to donate to your organization. Make sure to accept rejection politely and thank them for their time.
  • Show your gratitude. When donors do make a gift, show them your appreciation and gratitude. Consider sending a handwritten thank you letter. Make sure that your writing is personable, specific, and grateful.

Make sure that you have robust fundraising software that fulfills your fundraising needs. The right fundraising software will make donation requests a breeze by allowing you to automatically input donors’ names and ask amounts into your requests. Plus, it can even help you attract more donations by offering a user-friendly, mobile-optimized donation process.

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog.

Writing Fundraising Letters – Interested in writing a fundraising letter? Check out Fundraising IP’s templates that you can use for inspiration.

Nonprofit Marketing – Marketing for nonprofits extends beyond simply making donation requests. Learn more from this beginner’s guide to nonprofit marketing.

This guide covers membership benefits for nonprofits.

Membership Benefits – Nonprofit Catalog

Through membership programs, loyal supporters and nonprofits develop a mutually beneficial relationship. Members get perks that regular donors don’t, and nonprofits get a consistent stream of revenue. In this article, we’ll go over what exactly membership benefits are, and how they fit into nonprofit membership programs. Let’s dive in!

What are membership benefits?

In general, membership benefits are perks, services, and access that people receive when they participate in a membership program. You can easily find examples of these benefits when you look at aquarium or zoo memberships, which commonly offer free tickets in exchange for paying a membership fee.

Memberships commonly involve making recurring payments to an organization. If you’re thinking of implementing a membership program, make sure you’re up to date on recurring payment rules.

Membership program FAQs

What is a membership program?

Membership programs can serve many purposes, but above all, they are a way to increase supporter involvement within nonprofits and associations. These organizations offer specific member benefits in exchange for membership fees. Membership programs often have different goals, including:

  • Raising money for an organization.
  • Building a stronger network around a cause.
  • Receiving ideas and feedback from members.

The membership benefits you choose to offer are heavily influenced by your program’s goal. If you wish to give your members a larger voice, you may send them annual polls asking for their ideas for fundraising campaigns and events. Make sure that your members feel heard by implementing these suggestions into your fundraising initiatives.

Why have a membership program?

There are many benefits to having a membership program. Above all, these programs are mutually beneficial relationships—in exchange for a membership fee, members are recognized as dedicated supporters and given perks and special engagement opportunities. This member-organization relationship ensures a sustainable method of revenue generation for the organization and strengthens supporters’ trust and involvement.

If you’re planning on implementing a membership program for your organization, make sure your software for donor management is robust. You’ll want to be able to categorize your donors, ensuring you know who is part of your membership program.

Common membership benefits

This image shows some of the common membership benefits nonprofits offer.

Here are some benefits that are frequently offered in membership programs:

  • Members-only newsletters. Send your members exclusive newsletters with behind-the-scenes information not available to others. You can even give sneak peaks of future events. For instance, a botanical garden could tease images of their evening lights display.
  • Event perks. These perks can be early access to ticket purchases or early event registration. You can also offer event-specific perks, like free raffle tickets or extended bidding time for an auction. Make sure your ticketing and registration system is powerful, organized, and allows you to offer early and regular registration.
  • Community. Aside from offering event perks, you can also host member-exclusive events or meetings. For example, an art museum could host an event showing highly-anticipated artwork that the general public won’t be able to see.
  • Discounts. Organizations like aquariums that require ticket purchases often offer their members free or highly discounted tickets. Your organization could also offer a discount on merchandise, event tickets, or other services.
  • Membership cards. Giving your members a physical or digital membership card can help foster a sense of community and inclusivity. Make sure the graphic on the card is designed well so that members will feel proud displaying it.

Whether you are a cultural organization or a nonprofit, a membership program can be a great way to generate revenue and involvement. Offering participants member benefits makes the relationship mutually beneficial, making it much more likely that people will want to take part in your program. Make sure you have a powerful membership management software to guarantee success!

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog.

Donor Segmentation – Donors interact with your organization in different ways. Learn more about how to appeal to your different donor segments.

Nonprofit Marketing – Looking for other ways to promote your organization? Check out this guide.

This article covers the basics of employee retention in nonprofit organizations.

Employee Retention – Nonprofit Catalog

Maintaining a strong employee base is critical to keeping your business or nonprofit strong. Your business’s hard-working, dedicated employees are your greatest assets, and ideally, you want them to stay with your company for a long time. After all, the hiring and training processes are expensive and time-consuming, so high employee retention is essential.

What is employee retention?

Employee retention is the ability of an organization, such as a business or nonprofit, to keep its employees year after year. Maintaining high levels of employee retention means that your organization is doing an effective job of appealing to employees’ needs and interests.

In order to calculate your employee retention rate, subtract the total number of employees who left your organization from your total number of employees. Then, divide by your total number of employees and multiply by 100.

This equation is for calculating your employee retention rate.

Benefits of a strong employee retention rate

You may be thinking: what’s the point of having a high employee retention rate? After all, you could simply fill those vacant roles again. However, a high employee retention rate has many benefits for your organization, including the following:

  • Reduced costs for your organization. Hiring new employees is expensive, and so is training them. While a new employee is in training, they will take time to become familiar with your systems and procedures, making your organization temporarily less efficient. By retaining your employees, you won’t have to spend as much time and money on the hiring and training process.
  • Stronger employee skillset and greater organizational efficiency. Having been trained in your organization’s systems and after fulfilling their job duties for years, your employees will be more experienced in their roles. They will have spent their time practicing the skills they need to succeed at their job. Retaining these employees will make your organization as a whole more effective and efficient.
  • Greater employee morale. No employees want to work at an organization where their coworkers leave on a regular basis. Knowing that your company has a high employee retention rate will lower your employees’ stress, increase their morale, and reduce instability at your workplace.

Having a strong employee retention rate may even set your organization apart from others. This means that if you do have to hire new employees, more people will be happy to work for you and your applicant pool will be much larger.

How to strengthen your employee retention rate

Improving your employee retention rate starts with creating a better experience for employees and investing in their long-term growth. Consider using these employee retention strategies at your organization:

1. Invest in employee engagement

To inspire employees to stick around, you need to create a positive work environment. Invest in the right tools to engage your staff members, such as:

  • Appreciation software like a digital greeting card creator
  • Feedback surveys that allow employees to share their thoughts about the company, workflow, or anything else
  • Training programs or coaching courses that help employees grow their professional skills

These tools will make it easier to connect employees with the engagement opportunities that appeal to them. In addition, you can track employee engagement using these software solutions to determine which employees are taking advantage of your engagement opportunities and which opportunities are most popular among your staff. 

2. Help employees set professional goals.

Professional goals for an employee might look like achieving a promotion or advancing their skills. When you help employees set meaningful goals, it gives them something to strive for and look forward to. Make sure that the goals are aligned with your organization’s overarching objectives. Also, schedule follow-up meetings to check progress, offer additional guidance when needed, and let the employee weigh in on the process.

3. Offer ongoing opportunities for training and professional development.

When employees stagnate or don’t feel like they’re growing, they may seek employment elsewhere to help facilitate that growth. According to NXUnite, offering ongoing opportunities for training and professional development helps employees avoid burnout and advance in their career path. These opportunities could be in the form of online training modules, professional coaching, or mentorship.

For example, let’s say you’re looking to offer more professional development opportunities for your nonprofit’s employees. You can consider hosting seminars or a lunch-and-learn program to help employees brush up on their fundraising-related skills.

4. Allow employees to attend relevant conferences.

Conferences can be an excellent opportunity to learn more about industry trends, pick up new skills, and make connections with fellow industry professionals. Relevant nonprofit conferences can be found easily through web searches or on social media platforms like LinkedIn. If you’re worried about travel costs, you can search for virtual or hybrid conferences.

5. Offer workplace giving opportunities.

Corporate social responsibility has become increasingly important, and workplace giving is integral to that. In fact, 71% of surveyed employees say it is imperative or very important to them to work at a place where the culture is supportive of giving and volunteering. That’s why you should have programs in place that allow your employees to give back, such as:

  • Matching gifts: A matching gift program shows employees that you care about the causes they care about. Invest in their philanthropic endeavors by starting a matching gift program in which your company will match employees’ donations at a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio.
  • Volunteer grants: Some employees may donate their time and efforts to a nonprofit, and your company should support that, too! Establish volunteer grants through which your organization donates a set amount to a nonprofit when an employee reaches a certain threshold of hours volunteered.

You can even decide which programs to implement based on your employees’ preferences. If you want to learn more about your employees’ charitable giving habits (or anything else), you can always ask them directly through feedback surveys.

6. Ask for and incorporate employee feedback.

Employees want to feel like their voices are heard and that their opinions matter. Listening to them will help you improve their experience and may give you insight into issues you didn’t realize existed. Send out regular employee surveys and make a plan to incorporate their input.

7. Recognize your employees’ hard work.

Did you know that 80% of employees would work harder if they felt more appreciated? That’s the power of positive workplace morale! By recognizing your employees’ hard work, you indicate that you care about their contributions and are happy that they’re succeeding, which can lead to improved retention and satisfaction rates.

A few ways you can recognize your employees’ hard work include:

  • Personalized thank-you notes
  • Public praise
  • Employee wall of fame
  • Employee appreciation day

Another great strategy is to send your employees a token of your appreciation. This method is so popular that there are companies dedicated to helping your organization send gifts to your staff members. A gift such as a branded mug, flowers, or even an eCard gives your employees a tangible reminder that you see the work that they’re doing. This appreciation will encourage your employees to remain at your organization.

8. Encourage a healthy work/life balance

Work-life balance means that employees can strike a healthy equilibrium between time spent at the office and time spent outside of work activities that bring joy and fulfillment. 

If your organization operates with a hybrid or fully remote model, finding the right work-life balance can be more challenging for employees. Encourage them to step away from their computers and silence their notifications at the end of each workday to provide clear boundaries between work and home life. 

According to Double the Donation’s employee engagement guide, “a culture of work-life balance should be cultivated from the top down.” That means your company’s leaders and managers should emulate good work-life balance habits by avoiding contacting employees outside of their regular working hours, encouraging employees to take paid time off, and taking time off themselves to recharge. 

9. Promote inclusivity in the workplace

An inclusive workplace is one where all employees feel accepted, welcomed, and celebrated for who they are. 

Inclusivity doesn’t just support employee engagement and retention — it can lead to tangible benefits for your organization. Studies have shown that organizations with high levels of diversity financially outperform organizations without high diversity. 

Foster inclusion and diversity by adopting a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policy that includes:

  • A clear declaration of your organization’s DEI commitment 
  • Inclusive hiring guidelines
  • Training resources
  • Mechanisms for addressing policy violations

Share your policy with employees to gather feedback and workshop the document until it fully encapsulates your DEI commitment. 

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog.

The Top 5 Benefits of Workplace Giving for Companies – Learn more about workplace giving and how it can help you retain employees.

Fundraising Professional Development: Top Tips & Resources – Not sure where to start with professional development? Read this article for more advice.

A Spotlight on Top Impact Investors Driving Social Change – Engaged employees are just one part of growing your company’s impact. Learn about impact investing and how the right investor can help mission-driven businesses accomplish more.

This guide covers how nonprofits can use Instagram effectively.

Instagram for Nonprofits – Nonprofit Catalog

Nonprofits may approach marketing differently than for-profit businesses, but it’s just as important. Nonprofits use marketing to find new donors, increase supporter engagement, and promote their cause.

Today, social media is a key tool for nonprofit marketing and allows organizations to easily connect with supporters from all over the world. As more and more nonprofits take advantage of Instagram, let’s take a look at the ways nonprofits can leverage Instagram as an effective marketing channel.

What is Instagram for nonprofits?

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms, especially among younger generations. As one of the top social media platforms in 2022, Instagram is crucial to include in your organization’s social media marketing strategy.

Getting started with the app is simple. Create a business account for your nonprofit, set your goals, and start posting! To incorporate Instagram into your overarching marketing strategy, make connections across all of your communication channels. Promote your new account on your organization’s website or Facebook, for example, and link to other platforms in your Instagram posts.

How to use Instagram for nonprofits

This is a nonprofit professional using Instagram.

The benefit of Instagram or any social media platform is that you can engage with supporters personally and quickly. By responding to comments, posting interactive Stories, and sharing content that your donors create, you can make your supporters feel involved with your organization on a daily basis.

Here are several best practices your nonprofit can follow to ensure that you get the best results:

Strategically create posts and stories

Using a content calendar, plan out a variety of content promoting your nonprofit’s mission and fundraising events to keep supporters engaged. Take advantage of Instagram Story stickers, such as polls, to directly engage with your supporters.

Add a donate button to your nonprofit’s profile

Fundraising through Instagram can be effective for smaller nonprofits who don’t have access to a full suite of fundraising software. Follow Instagram’s guidelines for fundraising and set up your profile to raise money directly from the app. Once you add the donate button to your account, supporters can start giving to your organization directly from your Instagram profile.

Analyze your Instagram metrics

It is important to frequently analyze your nonprofit account’s performance. By looking at your account’s metrics, you’ll be able to determine what kind of content keeps your supporters engaged and make adjustments to your marketing strategy.

If you haven’t created an Instagram account for your nonprofit yet, then now is the time. Promote your cause where your supporters are already spending their time, and you can make a more immediate impact.

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog.

16+ Marketing Ideas for Nonprofits – Explore more ways your organization can use marketing creatively to get supporters’ attention.

The Beginner’s Ultimate Guide to Nonprofit Marketing – Learn the basics of nonprofit marketing.

This article covers how nonprofits use Facebook as a tool.

Facebook for Nonprofits – Nonprofit Catalog

Nonprofits and for-profit businesses alike use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to spread awareness and engage with their consumers or supporters. For nonprofits, social media outreach allows organizations to engage new and existing supporters more easily.

According to 360MatchPro’s fundraising statistics, 56% of nonprofit donors say Facebook, specifically, has the largest impact for them.

What is Facebook for nonprofits?

Over 2.9 billion people use Facebook worldwide. It’s one of the most active social media platforms that currently exists. Because of this, Facebook can be a powerful tool for nonprofit organizations when it comes to their marketing and fundraising efforts.

The social media platform can be used for posting updates, sharing photos, connecting with supporters, and even raising funds directly. Nonprofits looking to see the most impact, however, should evaluate their organization’s goals and use donor data to target their specific audiences. By tracking engagement metrics on Facebook and other platforms, you’ll be able to better understand what type of content your donors are looking for.

Facebook for nonprofit marketing

Setting up a profile and using Facebook is fairly straightforward. However, there are some best practices you can follow to make sure you get the most out of your online presence:

  • Incorporate Facebook into your social media marketing strategy. Use Facebook in combination with other social media platforms and traditional marketing channels like email. Add links in your Facebook posts that lead users to your other channels, and align all of your content with your organization’s overall marketing goals.
  • Discuss and plan out various posts you can share with your audience. These posts can be in the form of text, images, videos, stories, livestream, and long-form content. Create a content calendar as part of your strategy to ensure your content is balanced and intentional.
  • Start using Facebook ads. You can design your advertisements to be more traditional graphics-based ads, promotional posts, or videos.

Facebook nonprofit fundraising

Facebook helps nonprofits get donations.

Many organizations, especially smaller nonprofits, choose to fundraise directly through social media platforms, such as Facebook or Instagram, instead of using dedicated online fundraising software. That’s because it helps nonprofits reach a broader audience, establish a sense of community, and leverage the platform’s built-in tools for effective fundraising campaigns.

To get started with Facebook fundraising, check your nonprofit’s eligibility. If you meet the requirements, Facebook will verify your account and you can begin collecting donations directly through the platform.

In addition to hosting your own fundraisers, you can encourage supporters to host peer-to-peer campaigns on Facebook. For instance, they might be interested in launching a birthday fundraiser, in which they invite their friends and family to donate to your organization on their behalf.

Here’s how a birthday fundraiser works on Facebook:

  1. The birthday person selects the “Raise Money for a Nonprofit” option and chooses your nonprofit from a list of eligible organizations.
  2. They fill in the fundraiser details, including the fundraising goal, campaign title, and description.
  3. Family and friends see the fundraiser post on their News Feed or profile and can make donations through the touch of a button.

As the campaign progresses, the creator can share updates on the fundraiser’s status, express gratitude to donors, and showcase how the funds will be used by the nonprofit.

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog.

Digital Marketing for Nonprofits | A Comprehensive Guide – Learn how digital marketing can benefit nonprofit organizations.

215+ Fundraising Ideas for Your Organization – Explore hundreds of fundraising ideas for nonprofit organizations.

We'll answer all your Google Ad Grants questions in this guide.

Google Ad Grants: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

If you’ve been in the nonprofit fundraising world a while, you’ve probably heard of Google Ad Grants. For those who are unfamiliar, Google Ad Grants is a program created to help out nonprofits with their marketing and fundraising efforts by increasing their visibility online.

Participating organizations receive $10,000 per month to spend on Google Ads. These funds allow nonprofits of all sizes to grow their online presence and get more conversions.

It’s shocking how many nonprofits don’t already leverage the program. As long as your organization meets Google’s eligibility requirements and follows all rules of the program, you should have no problem getting into the program and staying enrolled.

Whether you’re looking to increase site traffic or connect with new prospects, leveraging Google Ad Grants is an effective way to reach your organization’s goals.

Whether your organization already leverages Google Ad Grants or has never heard of the program, we’re sure you have some questions. To clear up any confusion about the Google Ad Grants program, we’ve grouped the questions you likely have into these categories:

Here at NXUnite, we’re always looking for new fundraising ideas that we can share with nonprofits, and Google Ad Grants is one of the most successful ones we’ve found. We’ve got a lot of questions to cover, so let’s dive right in!

Check out Getting Attention for help with Google Ad Grants.
Learn more about what Google Ad Grants are.

What Are Google Ad Grants?

For those of you who are new to the program, we’ll start with the basics. The Google Ad Grants program gives eligible nonprofits $10,000 per month to spend on Google Ads. These ads typically appear at the top of relevant Google searches, allowing your organization to grab potential donors, subscribers, and volunteers’ attention.

To help you visualize Google Ads in action, we’ll give you an example. Say you’re a huge animal lover looking to make a difference. You might search “animal shelter” or “animal shelter near me.” From there, you’d likely see a Google Ad for a local animal shelter you can volunteer with or donate to in addition to other related resources.

Here's an example of a Google Ad in action.

While for-profit organizations can run Google Ads as well, Google Ads for nonprofits are a little different. To participate in the Google Ad Grants program, organizations must meet the eligibility requirements. Additionally, those who do not qualify for the program have to use traditional Google Ads and pay per click for their ads to run.

With the money granted by Google, nonprofits can bid on specific keywords and promote certain pages of their websites. Organizations choose which pages to promote based on their current goals. For example, if your organization has an upcoming event, you may want to highlight your event registration page.

Now that you have the gist of the program, it’s time to learn about its benefits in greater detail.

Check out the benefits of Google Ad Grants.

What Are the Benefits of Google Ad Grants?

If you’re going to spend time researching and applying for this program, you’ll want to know how it can benefit your organization. Take a look at the benefits Google Ad Grants could have for your nonprofit:

More engagement on your site.

To attract people to your organization, you’ll want to make sure you have the proper content on your website. However, your content could be great, but if potential supporters can’t find it, then it’s not serving its purpose.

The Google Ad Grants program helps to get the right web pages in front of the right people. For example, someone searching “donate to climate change donations” is likely looking for a place to contribute monetarily. As a result, you can use funds from your Google Ad Grant to promote your site’s donation page to this audience.

More conversions.

While you might associate conversions with sales and other related for-profit activities, nonprofits can also track conversions to measure outcomes and reach. Increasing conversions means that more people will be interacting with your site in the way that best suits them. Here are some examples of online conversions your nonprofit might track:

  • Donations
  • Volunteer signups
  • Ticket sales
  • Event registrations
  • Petition signings
  • Email list registrations

To increase site engagement and boost conversions, having the right content is key. If you don’t have the proper pages for meeting your conversion goals, then it will be difficult to increase conversions. However, once you create that content, Google Ad Grants can help you promote it accordingly and get it in front of the right audience.

Improving communication with your supporters.

Even with endless communication tools including email, calls, and social media, it can be difficult to interact with your supporters and share new information with them. Some people might feel overwhelmed with all the communication they receive from an organization. Others might be too busy to give your communication any attention.

Although Google Ad Grants don’t replace traditional communication strategies, they can enhance them. They provide a way for supporters to stay up to date on your content in a way that fits their own schedule and needs.

More information about your supporters’ goals.

Increasing communication effectively means understanding what information supporters need from your site. Using Google Analytics, you can see which pages users visit and what actions users take to learn more about which aspects of your organization are important to your supporters.

Since Google Analytics provides you with useful data about your campaign performance and website interactions, you can use that information to optimize your content and consequently increase engagement.

No competition for funding.

Google Ad Grants are not like traditional grants. While other grant programs have a limited amount of money that they distribute based on organizations’ needs, the Google Ad Grants program gives the same amount to all eligible organizations.

As long as your organization meets the program’s requirements, you will receive $10,000 worth of ad credits per month. This allows your organization to put more energy into using the grant effectively as opposed to stressing about how much funding you will receive.

See what you can accomplish with Google Ad Grants.

What Can You Use Google Ad Grants to Accomplish?

Going into the Google Ad Grants program, it’s important to think about your goals as a participating organization. What pages do you want to promote? What conversions would you like users to make? These are some questions you may want to answer before applying.

To get you thinking, here are some reasons nonprofits use Google Ad Grants:

  • To collect donations from current and potential donors
  • To spread awareness about your organization’s cause
  • To recruit volunteers for upcoming opportunities
  • To share information about upcoming events and sell tickets
  • To add subscribers to your email list
  • To encourage users to take certain actions like engaging with your social media or signing a petition
Here are different ways that you can use Google Ad Grants.

The possibilities are endless with what you can use Google Ad Grants to accomplish as long as you define your goals ahead of time.

Participating in the Google Ad Grants program is free for nonprofits.

Is It Free to Participate in the Google Ad Grants Program?

As long as your organization is eligible for the program, it is free to participate! You must also follow the application process and stay compliant with all requirements once you accepted into the program.

Although the program is free for eligible organizations, determining your eligibility, applying, and preparing your account can be very time-consuming. If you want to participate in the program but don’t have time to figure out the process yourself, consider hiring a Google Grants agency. They will do all the hard work for you so you can focus on your goals as a participating organization.

Managing your Google Ad Grants may require help from an agency.
Any size organization can participate in the Google Ad Grants program.

How Large Does Your Organization Have to Be to Participate?

There’s no organization size minimum or maximum for participating in the Google Ad Grants program. Any nonprofit can benefit from the program and its opportunities to grow its online reach. Even small nonprofits will be able to access the program’s benefits, including increased engagement, more conversions, and greater knowledge about their supporters.

Google Ad Grants are great for smaller nonprofits because they allow opportunities for those organizations to grow as they expand their audience. However, if your organization is brand new, you might have to wait a few months to be eligible for the program. In the meantime, it will be helpful to learn more about the program and prepare your goals for participating in order to make the process run more smoothly once you’re eligible.

Find out if your organization is eligible for Google Ad Grants.

Which Types of Organizations Are Eligible for Google Ad Grants?

Since it’s free to participate in the program for any size organization, Google specifies several requirements that nonprofits must meet to be eligible for the program. The guidelines vary slightly based on your country, so be sure to check the unique requirements for your organization’s location.

The eligibility requirements are as follows in the United States:

  • Register with the IRS as a charitable organization. In order to be a valid charitable organization, you’ll need to have 501(c)(3) status, exempting you from taxes. For verification of your organization, Google also requires you to register your organization with TechSoup.
  • Accept the terms and conditions of the program. There are general Google for Nonprofits terms you’ll have to agree to as well as Google Ad Grant-specific certifications.
  • Own your own domain and feature relevant content. Since you will be using Google Ad Grants to promote pages on your website, Google has some website requirements. These include owning your domain, featuring unique content, and including accurate information about your nonprofit’s purpose.
  • Obtain an SSL certificate. Google wants to make sure your website is secure before they promote it, so they require Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certification. If you have installed it correctly, there should be a lock icon in the navigation bar in Google Chrome, and your URL will include https:// instead of http://.
These are the types of organizations that are eligible for Google Ad Grants.

If your organization follows these requirements, you should be good to participate in the program. However, the following organizations are automatically ineligible for the program:

  • Governmental agencies and organizations
  • Hospitals and healthcare institutions
  • Schools, academic institutions, and universities

Google prohibits these organizations from participating in the program. However, if your organization falls under the last category, you may be able to participate in Google for Education, a similar program specifically for educational institutions.

Here's how to apply for Google Ad Grants.

How Do You Apply for Google Ad Grants?

Applying for Google Ad Grants for nonprofits isn’t complicated, but we’ve broken down the process into steps to simplify it even further. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to apply for Google Ad Grants:

Follow these steps to apply for Google Ad Grants.

1. Check the eligibility requirements.

As we just went over, there are several eligibility requirements for participating in the program. Before you apply, you’ll want to make sure you qualify and take any actions necessary to become eligible. This way, you can make sure the application process goes smoothly and avoid having your application rejected.

2. Sign up for TechSoup.

Once you’ve determined that your organization is eligible for the program, the next step is signing up for TechSoup. TechSoup is an organization that works with Google and other companies to give nonprofits access to helpful resources at discounted rates.

In order to register with TechSoup, follow these three easy steps:

  1. Go to the TechSoup registration page and create an account.
  2. Select your preferred language and the country where your organization is located.
  3. Click ‘New Member,’ select ‘Register,’ and agree to TechSoup’s terms.

After you complete this process, TechSoup will give you a validation token that you’ll need to activate your Google for Nonprofits account.

3. Create a Google for Nonprofits account.

Google Ad Grants is just one of the resources Google provides under the umbrella of Google for Nonprofits. When you create your Google for Nonprofits account, you’ll be able to access:

  • Google Workspace for Nonprofits, which grants your nonprofit access to Google’s suite of apps including Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Calendar, and Meet.
  • YouTube Nonprofit Program, which enhances your YouTube account for the nonprofit space with features like a donate button and video annotations that link to your website.
  • Google Earth and Maps, which allows people to find programs and resources near them.

In order to create an account, make sure you have your tax ID number, contact information, and TechSoup validation token on hand.

4. Set up Google Analytics.

It’s essential for your website to have Google Analytics connected to it before applying for Google Ad Grants. Circle back to the goals you have for participating in the program. This is where you’ll put them to work!

You should install Google Tag Manager and create some conversion tracking goals for your site that align with your goals for participating in the program. For example, you might want people to do one or more of the following:

  • Sign up to be volunteers
  • Register for an event
  • Donate to your nonprofit
  • Sign a petition for your advocacy campaign
  • Spend a certain amount of time on your website

Adding these goals to Google Analytics will allow you to track which pages are most successful in acquiring conversions. It will also allow you to recognize which pages need some work so that you can adjust them accordingly.

5. Complete the Google Ad Grants application.

Now that the preliminary steps are complete, it’s time to actually fill out your Google Ad Grants application. You’ll have to log in to your Google for Nonprofits account to access it.

Part of the application process includes submitting your website for review. The Google Ad Grants team will look over your website and its content to see if your organization is ready for the program.

Another thing to consider about your application is whether you’ll choose to start a “Smart Campaign” or “Classic” account. “Smart Campaign” is a more basic option with automated settings. It requires less management whereas the “Classic” account has more tools and customization options included.

Finally, Google will review your application and respond within three business days. When Google approves your account, you’ll automatically be able to access and start using Google Ads to amplify your organization’s most important web pages.

This is how to best use your Google Ad Grants account.

How Do I Use My Google Ad Grants Account Successfully?

Now that you have your Google Ad Grants account, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the most out of it. The way to do so is to have a well-thought-out plan for how to develop and implement your ad campaigns.

While Google Ad Grants will certainly increase your website’s visibility, it’s the work you put into optimizing your account that will allow you to see the best results. Here are some ways to make sure your account is successful.

Follow these tips to optimize your Google Ad Grants account.

1. Create good content.

It’s easier said than done, but creating good content for your website is an integral part of your success with the Google Ad Grants program. Without good content, it doesn’t matter how much traffic comes to your website because users will be less likely to make conversions once they see your pages.

There are a couple elements your content should have to increase its value, including:

  • Topics with high search volume. Your content could be well written and engaging, but if no one’s searching for it, then it doesn’t matter. Make sure to feature content with popular topics that will help people find your site. For help with figuring out how topics rank, look at Google Trends or Moz to research keywords.
  • Focus. People typically only search for one topic at a time, so you’ll want to design your page to reflect that. Spread your content out so that each page has its own focus.
  • Built-out pages. On the other hand, you want to make sure your content on each page is substantial. This is not only crucial for user experience but also for how Google ranks your page. You’ll also attract more users if your pages actually contain helpful information people are looking for.
  • Calls to action. You’ve created your conversion goals, and now you want to make it clear to users what you want them to do in reference to those goals. For example, if you want people to register for an event, make sure to include a button or a link that will take them to your event registration page.
  • Mobile friendliness. More and more searches these days come from mobile devices. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that your content is mobile friendly so that people can access it in the format you intend for them to. Additionally, mobile friendliness is one of Google’s ranking factors for organic traffic, which you’ll want to keep up in addition to your Google Ads.

The better your content is, the more people will flock to your website. Hopefully, this increased traffic leads to more conversions, which are important to measure and analyze to make continuous progress for your mission.

2. Track your campaign goals.

Data should be the guiding force in making decisions about your Google Ad Grants account, and lucky for you, there are tools at your disposal to help you use data effectively.

To get the most out of your Google Ad campaigns, you’ll have to set up conversion tracking and data analytics. These tools are included within Google Analytics, which you should already have installed. Use Google Analytics to set up goals so that you can track your campaign performance accordingly.

As we’ve gone over before, your goals for participating in the program are what shape how you will use Google Ad Grants to your advantage. You’ll want to track these goals to make sure you’re accomplishing them and adjust your website if you’re not performing as well as you had hoped. Ideas for goals are:

  • Signing up for your email list
  • Making a donation
  • Submitting a volunteer registration form
  • Buying a ticket for an event
  • Signing a petition

For each goal that you have, you’ll want to set up conversion tracking in Google Analytics. That way, you’ll be able to see how well your goals are panning out and make necessary changes.

3. Get to know your audience.

The Google Ad Grant program has ways for you to limit who your ads are shown to. To take advantage of this feature, you’ll want to define your intended audience and keywords for each campaign. That way, you can ensure that each campaign is focused and reaching the people you want it to reach.

To get to know your audience, it’s also helpful to do some keyword research. Once you know exactly what people are searching for that’s related to your page, you’ll have a better idea of what keywords to include in your own content that will help them show up in searches.

If you have an idea of what your audience isn’t searching for or what unrelated audiences are searching for, use negative keywords. Unlike regular keywords, negative keywords are used to prevent your content from showing up in searches that contain certain words.

Once you’ve been using Google Analytics for a while, you can start to look through the search queries of people who visit your site to see which ones don’t result in conversions or aren’t related to your nonprofit. This process will allow you to add more negative keywords to your list and only show up for relevant searches.

4. Use other marketing efforts.

Google Ad Grants are certainly a powerful marketing tool, but don’t forget about what else is out there! Continue your usual marketing activities, whether that’s regularly posting on social media or sending out email newsletters once a week. The data you collect from your Google Ad Grants campaigns will also be useful to consider for these marketing methods as well.

Additionally, your Google for Nonprofits account gives you access to other marketing tools that you can leverage. For example, the YouTube Nonprofit Program makes it easier to fundraise on YouTube by teaching you how to create effective campaign videos and equipping your account with a donate button.

5. Focus on quality.

Although the program gives you $10,000 a month in ad spending, most nonprofits don’t use it all. This may be because some organizations don’t have enough time or resources to manage multiple campaigns. Alternatively, others may not have content geared toward their audience’s needs and therefore aren’t getting good results.

Whatever the issue is, you can still spend only a portion of what Google provides and have a successful Google Ad Grants account. For example, your audience may be specific to a certain area or interest that may allow you to reach it without spending the full amount of money.

In conclusion, remember to focus on the quality of your content and its ability to create conversions as opposed to haphazardly using all the funds Google provides.

Here's how to maintain your Google Ad Grants account.

How Do I Maintain My Google Ad Grants Account?

Maintaining your Google Ad Grants account is an ongoing process. You’ll want to make sure you’re using the funds Google provides effectively and that your campaigns reflect the data you’ve collected. Check out our suggestions for keeping your Google Ad Grants account strong:

  • Run at least 3-5 campaigns. When you start using Google Ads, get a feel for how many campaigns your organization can manage at once. Less than three won’t be enough to show results, but too many campaigns might overwhelm whoever’s managing your account. You’ll want to have multiple campaigns to promote different aspects of your website. For example, one campaign might highlight your donation page while another simply promotes your homepage with background information about your cause.
  • Connect your ad groups to your cause. Like your website’s landing pages, you’ll want to make sure your ad groups are focused on their respective topics as well as your organization’s mission. For example, if you’re an animal shelter looking for volunteers, your Volunteer ad group should include keywords like “volunteer at an animal shelter,” “work with cats and dogs,” and “help animals get adopted.”
  • Use ad extensions to your advantage. Ad extensions invite users to click on your content by providing them with extra information. There are several different kinds of ad extensions. An example is callout extensions, which allow you to add bullet points under your ads to highlight what’s important.

While creating your account was easy, maintaining might be more complicated than you originally anticipated. Not to worry though! This just means you might benefit from the help of a professional agency. Google Grants agencies can save you time and energy by managing your Google Ad Grants for you.

Maintaining your Google Ad Grants can be a hassle, but Getting Attention can help!
These are the Google Ad Grants account rules.

What Are the Google Ad Grants Account Rules?

Just as Google has certain requirements for creating a Google Ad Grants account, they also have rules for keeping your account active. It’s important to follow these rules to not only run your account successfully but to also avoid suspension.

Google lists out the requirements for compliance in its official compliance guide, but we’ve summarized some of the most important ones below:

  • Avoid using single-word keywords unless it is on this list of approved exceptions.
  • Don’t use overly generic keywords.
  • Only use keywords with a quality score higher than 2.
  • Maintain a 5% monthly clickthrough rate (CTR).
  • Set up conversion tracking with Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager.
  • Create at least 2 ads per ad group and at least 2 ad groups per campaign.
  • Include at least 2 sitelink ad extensions.
  • Answer the yearly program survey.
Make sure to follow these requirements to maintain your Google Ad Grants account's compliance.

To stay on top of these rules and any potential changes to them, make sure to regularly check the Google Ad Grants compliance page. You may want to bookmark it or schedule time on your calendar each month to review it. A Google Ad Grants agency could also answer any questions you may have about the program’s compliance requirements.

Find out why your Google Ad Grants account may have been suspended.

Why Was My Google Ad Grants Account Suspended?

As long as your account remains compliant with the program’s requirements, it will renew monthly, requiring no further action. However, not maintaining your account’s compliance could put your account at risk of suspension.

Take a look at some of the most common reasons Google Ad Grants accounts are suspended besides the compliance rules we’ve reviewed:

  • Violating the program’s terms multiple times
  • Not meeting eligibility criteria
  • Losing 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status
  • Abusing the ad network
  • Not reverifying your account when asked to do so
  • Falsifying information about your organization
Here are some reasons why your Google Ad Grants account may be suspended.

If your account does get suspended, don’t panic! A Google Ad Grants agency can help you to figure out the problem and how to solve it to get your account back.

A Google Grants agency can help you manage your account.

Can Someone Help Me Manage My Google Ad Grants Account?

Yes! If you’re at all confused or need help in any step of the Google Ad Grants process, a Google Ad Grants agency is equipped to help you out.

You could turn to a regular nonprofit marketing consultant, but for the expertise you’re looking for, a Google Ad Grants agency would be a better choice. Since they spend all their time working to manage Google Ad Grants, they have the knowledge of and familiarity with the program that you’re looking for.

Google Ad Grants agencies will manage the entire grant management process, including:

  • Determining your Google Ad Grants eligibility
  • Applying for the program
  • Researching keywords
  • Managing your campaigns
  • Maintaining your account’s compliance
  • Optimizing your pages
  • Reactivating your account if it is suspended
Here's how Google Ad Grants agencies can help your nonprofit.

Whatever you’re having trouble with, Google Ad Grants agencies are the best source of help for your questions about the program.

Here are more resources to help you with Google Ad Grants.

What Else Do I Need to Know About Google Ad Grants?

By now, we hope you feel like an expert on Google Ad Grants! Now that you know all about what they are, how you can use them, and how you can manage your account, you have all the tools you need to be a successful participant in the Google Ad Grants program.

However, we know you might have even more questions that we weren’t able to cover. In case that’s the case, here are some resources that can help:

Check out our recommended agency, Getting Attention, for help with Google Ad Grants.