If you are a nonprofit and you have a Google Grant, congratulations you are part of a very small group. Of the roughly 1.5 million 501 (C ) (3) organizations out there only about 7,000 or so have one of these grant form Google. That always amazes me, especially considering Nonprofits love free, neverending money….and who could blame them. So What is the Problem with Having a Google Grant?

There are a number of issues with the Google Grant program, and I don’t blame Google for them. What they have done is very generous and should be applauded. Our Friends at Bing/Yahoo have no such program benefitting nonprofits. BUT there a few problems:

1) A vast majority of nonprofits do not have the internal expertise to run an effective Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign.
We see it all the time in our business. A nonprofit gets a $10,000 a month grant to play with Adwords and has no idea how to build and manage the campaign. It is akin to giving a 7 year the keys to a shiny Ferrari and telling him to hit the track……oh and it happens to have a speed limiter on it so he can’t win (don’t worry we will get to that next.) Google doesn’t offer any real Adwords training, so for many nonprofits they simple under utilize the grant or abandon it completely. Either way the results aren’t good. Beyond that, it takes a fair amount of time for a professional to manage a good campaign. So if you are spinning your wheels and not getting results, your efforts are likely better spent doing what you know!

2) There are restrictions on Google Grants that other regular Adwords user don’t have.
The biggest of these is the $1.00 max on any bid (If you don’t know how Adwords works take a moment to look at this.) It really limits what keywords nonprofits can compete for UNLESS you really know what you are doing. A lesser restriction is the types of ads you can create. They must be focused around your organization’s mission. Seems easy enough but it does take a little practice to get it right, until then you will likely get a number of yours ads thrown into the penalty box. If you are a really bad offender in this area you could get your account shut off permanently….but that is unlikely. Time to get past the “Oh I know a guy who has a friend that can do it for free” thing I completely respect a nonprofit that works hard to manage their budget as efficiently as possible; we don’t work with ones that don’t meet certain standards.

Paying for professional management of your Google Grant is a very wise investment if you are an organization with a decent amount of internet presence, and a serviceable website. Why?, may be the next thing racing through your head. So here you go: 1) If Google gives you $10,000 a month of free money to play with a professional is much more likely to actually use that amount. Nonprofessionally managed accounts use about $300-$400 of the monthly grant. For example purposes, let’s say each click to your site (CPC) cost the $1.00 maximum. That is 10,000 people that landed on your site in one month. Most of those are likely first time visitors and ones that have never heard of you. Now they have and some of those will become donors, either way you get what you want out of any marketing campaign: awareness and revenue. If out of those 10,000 visitors a month you generated $5,000 of revenue , your professional management cost $1,500, you netted out at $3,500…..would you take an extra $42,000 a year that you don’t have to manage day in and day out? These numbers are conservative, our experience with our clients has been better.

There are a ton of agencies and PPC professionals out there that can help. Be selective, not quite as many have experience managing Google Grants and those are truly harder to do well. Now is the time, so jump on it!