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.
Learn the basics of cause marketing for businesses.

Cause Marketing FAQ and Examples – Nonprofit Catalog

Now more than ever, people want the businesses they support to be socially responsible. In fact, 86% of consumers believe companies should take a public stance on social issues. 

In response to these expectations, many companies are creating social responsibility programs to publicly give back. These programs can include volunteer grants for employees, matching gift programs, and cause marketing campaigns. 

What is cause marketing?

Cause marketing, also referred to as cause related marketing, is a business practice in which a company publicly allies themselves with a social cause. Companies often choose a cause related to the product or service they sell, and they may partner with a nonprofit organization to promote their mission.

What are the types of cause marketing?

Companies use two main types of cause marketing:

  1. The business partners with a specific nonprofit organization to promote their work. They foster a mutually beneficial relationship in which the company gains the benefits of cause marketing and the nonprofit gets access to a wider audience.
  2. The business promotes a cause or runs a social good campaign independently. In this case, the company works to further a cause relevant to their product or service, without any direct involvement with a specific nonprofit. 

These two variations can both yield positive results. Both types of cause marketing offer benefits for the corporation and any communities affected by the cause.

Cause marketing can involve a partnership with a nonprofit or an independently run campaign.

What are the benefits of cause related marketing?

Just as nonprofits work to create authentic, positive branding, for-profit companies need the public to perceive them well to generate sales. In addition to improving public perception of their brand, cause marketing can improve a company’s relationship with their audience, employee satisfaction, and brand loyalty. 

Cause marketing also benefits nonprofits by giving them access to the company’s audience, leading to an increase in potential donors and funds.

Cause marketing examples

Before you get started with your own campaign, research successful cause related marketing examples to get a clear idea of the ways you can approach your campaign, such as:

  • EyeBuyDirect’s Buy One Give One campaignThis prescription glasses company will donate a pair of glasses to someone in need for every purchase. Promoting accessible vision correctors clearly aligns with EyeBuyDirect’s product and improves their brand in the eyes of customers. 
  • Microsoft’s Nonprofit Ad Grants programIn recent years, Microsoft launched an initiative to give up to $3,000 of free online advertising to eligible nonprofits on a monthly basis. This program helps a wide range of nonprofits further their individual missions, and it showcases Microsoft’s commitment to helping nonprofits enact change.

These are just a few examples to give you an idea of the impact cause marketing can make. Research cause marketing initiatives from businesses in your sector to learn more specific ways that your industry impacts social good.

How to launch a cause marketing campaign

For companies

Feeling inspired? Spend some time brainstorming the types of social causes your company would be interested in marketing, then follow these steps:

  1. Determine a relevant cause to support.
  2. Evaluate your goals, budget, and audience preferences. 
  3. Develop a plan for your involvement, including if you’ll partner with a nonprofit or work independently.
  4. Start promoting your campaign!

Once your campaign begins, make sure to encourage audience participation at every opportunity. Your customers or clients will be the driving force behind your cause marketing campaign, so target their interests and engage with them directly.

For nonprofits

Interested in finding a corporate sponsor to partner with? Research companies with social impact initiatives that align with your mission. Look for opportunities to start a relationship, and remember that both your organization and the business will benefit!

Additional Resources

Nonprofit event planning can give your organization the momentum it needs to run a successful event.

Nonprofit Event Planning — Nonprofit Catalog

Nonprofit events are a valuable way to reach supporters and keep them involved in your organization, but how do you get started? That’s where nonprofit event planning comes in. As CharityBid’s all-in-one guide to nonprofit event planning points out, being organized in your efforts from the beginning sets your event up for success. Nonprofit event planning helps you keep track of your goals and unites your entire team to work towards greater supporter engagement, a high return on investment, and an overall memorable event that will retain supporters in the long run.

What is nonprofit event planning?

Nonprofit event planning is the best way to maximize your event’s success. This process involves laying out clear goals, the specific ways you’ll achieve them, and how you’ll measure progress.

If you rush through event planning, you won’t have a clear roadmap for success and likely won’t receive a return on your investment. A haphazardly-planned event may also leave supporters with a bad impression of your organization, causing you to lose out on key support.

Instead, set yourself up for fundraising success by engaging in nonprofit event planning.

Great nonprofit event planning has several benefits.

A well-planned nonprofit event has multiple benefits.

  • Gives you a clear roadmap. Effective event planning minimizes stress for everyone. You and your team will operate better if everyone has a solid understanding of the objectives to work towards.
  • Helps your nonprofit’s team be on the same page. Clear communication of expectations and roles will help your team feel confident in how to move forward.
  • Increases productivity. It takes less time to form a plan at the beginning of the process than to confront challenges and confusion in team member responsibilities down the road.
  • Opportunity to assess results. When you have a plan that you’re following and adjusting as needed based on donor engagement and other relevant factors, it’s easier to take stock of what is and isn’t working. If you don’t collect data and analyze your progress, your team may be prone to unnecessarily repeat the same mistakes next time.

While event planning takes time and effort, it will be well-worth it to reach your fundraising and engagement goals.

Nonprofit event planning steps

Since nonprofit event planning is essential to running a successful event, be sure to take ample time to form your plan and discuss it with your team. Let’s explore some steps to help you get started.

1. Determine your event objectives.

A good place to start is deciding what your goals are for the event. These will be tailored to your organization’s mission and current needs. For example, consider the following objectives:

  • Fundraising goal
  • Number of donors in attendance
  • Number of new donors you hope to acquire
  • Average gift size

The more specific your goals are, the better. You’ll also want to provide a timeline for your event and when you hope to reach certain milestones by. Clearly outlining your goals and their priority levels will allow you to shape your event to effectively meet them.

2. Create an event planning committee.

Dividing planning responsibilities among team members with clearly defined roles is key to a successful event. Assemble your event planning committee in advance of your event by reaching out to devoted donors, volunteers, board members, and staff. To ensure that you have the right team, provide an accurate description of the responsibilities and time commitment needed, so that everyone will work productively towards achieving your goals.

3. Decide on your event budget and timeline.

Create a budget based on your event’s goals and purpose. If you’re working with a limited budget, you can look for other funding sources like corporate sponsors, or choose a cost-friendly event idea that allows you to maximize your ROI.

Give yourself substantial time to plan your event because you don’t want to be rushed in the process. Your proposed timeline should be reasonable based on the scale of your event. For instance, if you’re planning an in-person gala for hundreds of supporters, you’ll need several months to book a venue and catering, and to plan other essential details. Planning your nonprofit event well in advance will also allow you time to boost excitement among attendees, and to fundraise before the event itself.

4. Identify your target audience for the event.

Know who you are trying to reach with your nonprofit event. What kinds of events or activities would that audience be interested in? Create an event attendee persona, and keep this person in mind as you plan an event tailored to their needs and interests.

5. Determine how you’ll raise money during your event.

Whether it’s selling tickets before the event or hosting auction activities during the event itself, you’ll need a revenue stream to reach your fundraising goals. Customize your fundraising approach to your target audience to increase the likelihood that they’ll give. For example, if your audience often donates via text-to-give in large numbers, create a text-to-give campaign leading up to your event and on the day-of to boost donations.

6. Make all nonprofit event arrangements.

For an in-person event, book your venue ahead of time, consider your catering options, and settle on entertainment that is within your budget and would appeal to your audience. Planning virtual events will look slightly different and require you to think about other event components. For example, instead of a venue and catering, you’ll need technology solutions that will allow your organization to livestream, offer options for attendees to interact with each other, and allow you to incorporate other immersive elements to keep supporters engaged.

7. Market your nonprofit event.

Start promoting your event well in advance to increase the buzz surrounding it, and to encourage supporters to sign up as soon as possible. To expand your reach, take a multichannel marketing approach with platforms like email, social media, and your nonprofit’s website. In your marketing materials, provide the basic event details, the purpose behind your event, and a registration link to facilitate an easy sign-up process.

8. Recruit volunteers to help run your event.

You’ll need volunteers to lend a hand towards organizing, running, and cleaning up after your event is over. Designate a specific member of your event planning committee to coordinate your volunteer recruitment and onboarding efforts. Be sure volunteer roles are clearly defined so that they know what to expect, then remember to send volunteers a thank you letter afterwards expressing your gratitude!

9. Plan your follow-up activities.

Connect with supporters while your organization is still on their minds. In addition to sending thank you notes to those in attendance, offer ways that supporters can learn more about your mission and stay involved in your nonprofit.

You’ll also want to reflect on your results and whether you hit your fundraising objectives. This will help you understand how you can optimize your events for the future.

By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to planning and hosting a successful nonprofit event!

Additional Resources

In this post, you'll learn the basics of search engine optimization for nonprofits.

Search Engine Optimization for Nonprofits—Nonprofit Catalog

Your nonprofit website is a great asset for marketing your mission. But it won’t do your organization much good unless people can find it! Search engine optimization is an essential tool for driving traffic to your website. It can help you connect with donors, volunteers, and people interested in your cause.

What is search engine optimization for nonprofits?

Search engine optimization is the process of fine-tuning your nonprofit website to perform better on search engines like Google so that more people will see your website and be able to engage with it.

Search engines like Google use bots to crawl every web page and determine where it will rank on search engine results pages (SERPs) based on a variety of factors. While some factors used to determine rankings are withheld from the public, we do know that quality, keyword usage, page structure, and usefulness to visitors all play a role. Keeping that in mind, it’s worth taking the time to optimize your website in those areas.

Competition with other websites, your location, and technical SEO are a few other elements that can have an impact on a nonprofit website’s SEO. While SERP rankings is a complex topic with numerous variables to consider, just knowing some basic strategies can be a great way to start improving your pages’ rankings.

Why do nonprofits need SEO?

One of the main purposes of SEO is to increase organic traffic. This is the traffic that comes from people who click on your website after putting a search term into a search engine like Google. Organic traffic is different from paid traffic (like Google Ad Grants or other ads) and social traffic, in that your website has to deliver what the user is trying to find.

Additionally, 53% of website traffic is organic traffic, so it’s well worth nonprofits’ time and effort to become SEO savvy. More visibility and brand awareness will lead to more support in a variety of areas. That can mean more volunteers, event attendees, or donations. To support your nonprofit, people need to be able to easily find it.

5 SEO Strategies to Implement On Your Website Today

Don’t let SEO overwhelm you. It’s useful to start with a few SEO strategies, see how well they work out, and then move from there. Here are a few key areas where you can easily implement some easy fixes.

This graphic lists 5 strategies for search engine optimization for nonprofits, all of which are described in the text below.

  1. Improve user experience. A good place to start with user experience is to optimize your website for mobile devices and accessibility. Make sure you’re writing easy-to-read content and breaking up text with images. For example, if you have a blog, it might be worth taking the time to go through your content and update it to make sure the content is easily readable. Streamlining navigation and ensuring that your website loads quickly are also important elements of user experience. If it takes a visitor too long to find important landing pages like your donation page, there’s a good chance they won’t make it to that page.
  2. Create and regularly update a blog. Regularly creating and sharing content shows search engines your website is active and gives you a good chance to provide value to your visitors. They’ll check back often in hopes of new content if you’re consistent about publishing blog posts relevant to your audience’s interests.
  3. Use specific keywords in your content. Choose keywords that you won’t have to struggle to compete for and that are highly relevant to your organization and its cause. Use them naturally throughout your web pages. For example, if a nonprofit wants to optimize for the keyword “animal shelter volunteering” then they could create a page called “Upcoming Animal Shelter Volunteering Opportunities” or publish a blog post about volunteering at animal shelters where they could naturally utilize that phrase. These efforts could help the nonprofit improve its SERP rankings for that keyword.
  4. Use headers correctly. Header hierarchy matters because it helps search engines (and human users) understand the structure of the information on a web page. Headers should be used in sequentially-descending order (H1, H2, H3, and so on) to foster readability. Most website builders provide you the option to classify headers correctly.
  5. Look for natural opportunities to build external and internal links on your website. Linking to internal content on your website can help show Google how everything connects and keep visitors on your pages longer. Linking to external authoritative websites (and securing links from them) can be a great way to boost your website’s authority. Undertaking these efforts in a natural way, such as by hosting guest blogs, will help you become a better search engine citizen.

So, there you have it—search engine optimization for nonprofits. Use this explainer to get started improving your nonprofit website’s search engine performance today!

Additional Resources

A nonprofit strategic plan can rally your nonprofit’s team around its overarching goals.

Nonprofit Strategic Plan – Nonprofit Catalog

A nonprofit strategic plan gives your organization a roadmap for success. By laying out your goals and the steps to achieve them, you’ll be in great shape to advance your mission. Explore the basics of nonprofit strategic planning so your organization can amp up its fundraising strategy, reenergize board members, or meet any other existing needs. 

What is a Nonprofit Strategic Plan?

A nonprofit strategic plan is a bold plan of action that aligns a nonprofit’s goals with its values to provide a dynamic performance map for future endeavors. With this blueprint, your organization will be able to prioritize its most important projects, navigate through any challenges, and keep all of your staff members on the same page. 

Ample planning can set your nonprofit up for success in the long-run, allowing you to more effectively meet your objectives and elevate your community impact. 

Building a nonprofit strategic plan will help advance your mission and improve your staff’s productivity. 

According to Aly Sterling Philanthropy, nonprofit strategic planning can benefit your nonprofit and its team in a variety of ways: 

  • Better time management. By clearly outlining the tasks that align with your priorities, you’ll spend more time on high-priority responsibilities and less time on extraneous projects that aren’t directly tied to your goals. As a result, each day’s work will be meaningful and impactful in pushing your organization’s mission forward. 
  • Improved staff and board productivity. A nonprofit strategic plan clearly identifies each member’s responsibilities and projects so everyone has a comprehensive understanding of their roles. Plus, your entire team will know how their efforts contribute to your overarching goals, leading to greater motivation. 
  • Better understanding of your guiding principles. Consider the values and goals that are important to your organization and outline them clearly in your nonprofit strategic plan. By refocusing your operations on these principles, your nonprofit’s team will rally together to work towards your vision for the future. 
  • Ability to assess results. Goals give your nonprofit the opportunity to assess whether you’ve reached your objectives and how you can restructure your strategies to enhance your organization overall. In your nonprofit strategic plan, you’ll need to address how you’ll measure results so you can gather important insights and carry out your initiatives with new awareness and direction. 

Building your nonprofit strategic plan isn’t a one-person job. Rather, you’ll want to collect a variety of perspectives and include your entire team in the process so everyone can work together towards mutual success. Let’s take a look at the specific steps towards developing an effective strategic plan. 

Steps to Create a Nonprofit Strategic Plan

Creating your nonprofit strategic plan takes time, but will give new energy and life to your nonprofit’s staff and overall operations. Use this guide to develop a robust strategic plan that will take your nonprofit to new heights. 

1. Assess

In the assess phase, you’ll reflect on what your organization is doing well and where there is room for improvement. For example, your nonprofit may have difficulty raising enough money to support its programs. The strategic area of focus that you’ll want to narrow in on is fundraising, and you might enhance your approach to fundraising by planning more engaging online campaigns. 

This reflection process requires all hands on deck, so gather several different viewpoints from your nonprofit’s stakeholders. For example, you can survey your:

  • Volunteers and staff
  • Current and past board members 
  • Current major donors
  • Beneficiaries

Remember, unfavorable opinions and critiques should be welcomed, as these will lead to unique ideas towards improvement. A nonprofit consultant can help collect unbiased views from each of your stakeholders so you can better understand different perspectives on your nonprofit’s operations and consolidate these into a plan of action. 

2. Align

In the align phase, engage your leaders and members in a retreat to discuss their thoughts in an action-oriented forum. This phase helps you align your goals and values so you can prioritize the most important projects and tasks. By determining your high-priority action items, your team can effectively push your goals forward and waste less time on low-impact tasks. 

Ensure that your priorities are relevant to your goals. For example, if marketing is an area of improvement for your nonprofit, you might want to prioritize optimizing your nonprofit’s website and social media presence. This ensures that your nonprofit is using its time and resources productively to reach its goals. 

3. Act

The act phase is where your strategic plan becomes a fully formed roadmap for success. Following the SMART model (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely), you’ll need to develop high-level objectives that will allow you to complete your goals. For instance, if your nonprofit wants to enhance its approach to fundraising, you might create an objective to “increase the number of recurring gifts by 20%.” 

To carry out your objectives, you’ll also need to outline initiatives. If you’re aiming to meet the objective for increasing recurring gifts, then sending targeted email appeals could be an important initiative. Creating a donor recognition wall could be another way to encourage donors to give again and again. 

Create accountability by delegating responsibilities to different team members and laying out deadlines. This ensures that everyone understands their unique role in fulfilling your nonprofit’s strategic plan. Consider hosting weekly or monthly check-in’s so team members can discuss their progress and where they need additional support. 

With a robust action plan, your nonprofit will be ready to approach its operations with new clarity and motivation. Work with a consultant to identify areas of improvement and create a tangible plan towards meeting your goals. Each year, take time to reflect on your nonprofit strategic plan and make adjustments as needed to enhance your approach. 

Additional Resources

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

Build Your Fundraising Strategy From the Ground Up: 10 Steps – Fundraising is an essential part of powering your nonprofit’s mission. Learn how to create a winning fundraising strategy guaranteed to drive engagement and revenue. 

Top 20+ Consulting Firms for Nonprofit Organizations – A nonprofit consulting firm can give your organization the support it needs to develop a strong nonprofit strategic plan. Explore this list of the leading firms and the services they can provide you.