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7 min read

How to Connect with Volunteers Through Google Ad Grants

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You’ve completed all the steps to create a successful volunteer program and started recruiting volunteers. However, you’re not connecting with as many volunteers as you’d hoped for. What do you do?

To reach more potential volunteers, you need to maximize the visibility of your program by advertising it strategically. One way you can do this is by using the Google Ad Grant, which gives nonprofit organizations free access to Google search ads.

In this guide, we’ll cover the Google Ad Grant program, tips for using it to connect with volunteers, and examples of nonprofits that have seen success from the program. By the end, you’ll have a greater understanding of how Google Ad Grants can help your nonprofit. Let’s begin!

What is the Google Ad Grant?

As an internet user, you’ve probably made a Google search before. You may have noticed that there were sponsored links at the top of your search engine results page (SERP)—those are Google search ads. Most organizations need to pay to place these sponsored links on SERPs, but the Google Ad Grants program credits nonprofits with $10,000 a month for Google Ads for free.

To gain access to these credits, you’ll need to:

After you’ve been approved for the program, you can use your free credits to create ad campaigns that help your organization gain the visibility you need. And since Google has over 4 billion users globally, the Google Ad Grant is an extremely valuable opportunity for you to promote your volunteer program.

3 Examples of Successful Google Ad Grants Stories

If you’re not convinced about the efficacy of the Google Ad Grant, take a look at these three success stories:

  • GoVolunteer. GoVolunteer was founded as an online platform to connect people and companies to volunteering projects and social initiatives in Germany. Since 2015, it’s connected over 250,000 users to more than 3,500 volunteer opportunities in 250 cities across Germany. The Google Ad Grant increased traffic to GoVolunteer’s website by 30%, resulting in a 15% growth in projects matched with volunteers.
  • re:imagine/ATL. This nonprofit partners with schools and opportunity youth in metro Atlanta to teach young people about producing digital content. They use the Google Ad Grant to advertise their offerings and reach new audiences. For example, a library in Doraville, Georgia discovered the organization’s mobile workshops, and they provided that library with an acting class for their filmmaking club, expanding the horizons of the students and fostering new connections for the nonprofit.
  • Van Gogh Museum. This museum is dedicated to making the life and work of Vincent van Gogh and the art of his time accessible to enrich and inspire as many people as possible. They created location-targeted text ads to raise awareness for the Van Gogh Museum and drive ticket sales. With Google Analytics, they learned that the Google Ad Grant contributes to 15% of total ticket sales and drives 40% of the overall traffic to their website.

Now that you’ve seen for yourself how the Google Ad Grant can help nonprofits, let’s dive into some tips for maximizing your impact with your ads.

3 Tips for Connecting with Volunteers Through Google Ads

1. Choose relevant keywords.

The Google Ad Grants program has many requirements for keywords, which are all intended to help you make the most of the program. After all, choosing the right keywords is crucial to putting your ads in front of the right audience.

According to Getting Attention’s guide to Google Ad Grant keywords, you should aim for quality over quantity when selecting keywords. Be thoughtful as you choose your keywords, and be sure to do the following:

  • Consider your audience. Create volunteer personas that represent your ideal potential volunteers. Step into their shoes for a moment and ask yourself: What type of keywords are they most likely to search? For example, if you’re targeting corporate volunteers, you might choose keywords such as “company team volunteering” or “law firm volunteering.”
  • Use keyword research tools. Tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Moz Keyword Explorer, and Ubersuggest will help you identify keywords that will maximize the outreach of your ad campaign. Use these tools to look at keyword search volume, receive suggestions on what keywords to use, and more.
  • Choose action-oriented keywords. Volunteering is a very hands-on role for many nonprofits, and you want to find volunteers who are interested in that kind of work. That way, there’s a greater chance that they’ll have a positive experience volunteering. To that end, choose action-oriented keywords like “volunteer today” and “help a nonprofit now.”
  • Vary your keywords. While it can be useful to target different variations of a single keyword, it’s just as important to select a variety of keywords. This improves your odds of reaching more individuals who would be interested in volunteering at your nonprofit.
  • Separate keywords into campaigns. Group related keywords into distinct ad campaigns. This will help you write more targeted ad copy and select more relevant landing pages for your ads to lead to.

After you’ve solidified your keyword strategy and monitored your campaign for a bit, be sure to review your strategy. Assess how successful it has been so far, whether you’re seeing the results you desire, and if your target audience has been clicking through your ads. Then, update and refine your strategy so that your keywords always remain relevant.

2. Match landing pages to search intent.

Another strategy for ensuring that your Google Ad Grant strategy leads you to the volunteers your nonprofit needs is matching the landing pages in your ads to a keyword’s search intent. In particular, pay attention to this strategy if your ads have a high clickthrough rate, but visitors don’t engage with your website for long or bounce almost immediately. This indicates that there’s something wrong with your landing pages.

While there are a variety of issues that lead to a high bounce rate, one of the biggest issues is a mismatch between your landing pages and ad keyword search intent. To ensure potential volunteers engage with your featured volunteer landing pages, make sure that the page you link to in your ad makes sense.

For example, let’s say that your ad keyword is “volunteer today in New York.” Based on the keyword, you can tell that the searcher will probably be a potential volunteer based in New York, who’s looking for volunteering opportunities on the same day. Consider the following nonprofit volunteer pages, and ask yourself which one would most match the search intent of the keyword:

  • Volunteer opportunities page
  • Volunteer testimonials page
  • Benefits of volunteering page
  • Volunteer registration page
  • Volunteer impact page
  • Volunteer community page

In this scenario, your volunteer opportunities or volunteer registration pages would make the most sense. That’s because this searcher has demonstrated a vested interest in volunteering already. They aren’t interested in why they should volunteer or why your nonprofit needs volunteers. They’ve already decided that they want to volunteer now—so help them get there as quickly as possible!

You can also improve your landing pages by prioritizing user experience, creating a regularly updated blog, and ensuring that your website is formatted for screens of all sizes, such as desktop and mobile. According to NXUnite, this type of search engine optimization will increase organic traffic to your site and improve engagement, keeping potential volunteers on your key pages for longer periods. And in turn, that will lead to a greater number of volunteer registrations.

3. Implement geotargeting.

Geotargeting occurs when you direct your ad to an audience in a specific location. This strategy is extremely effective for nonprofits, as it gives them access to a specific volunteer pool that’s more likely to come out and support them.

Let’s say your nonprofit is based in Atlanta. You know that downtown, there are the headquarters of multiple big businesses. Through research, you determine that these companies all offer volunteer grants to their employees. That means that these companies will make donations to nonprofits if their employees volunteer with those organizations for a set amount of hours. So, having volunteers from these businesses is extremely valuable.

In this case, you can choose to implement geotargeting for your ads in Atlanta and the surrounding areas. That way, someone who searches “volunteering in Atlanta” will see a search ad for your nonprofit’s volunteer program. If they click on it, then they’ll be led to your volunteer testimonials page, where they can learn all about how volunteering with your organization improves lives. After learning more about your nonprofit, they might be ready to register to become a volunteer themselves.

Now that you know more about how to connect with volunteers through the Google Ad Grant, it’s time to put your ads out there and start recruiting volunteers for your cause. As you level up your recruitment efforts, keep your volunteer retention strategy in mind as well. Remember to show your appreciation for each one of your volunteers. Express how grateful you are for their support, and they’ll be happy to continue helping your organization in the future.

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