10 Tips for a Successful Google AdWords Account

Make the Most of Your Google AdWords GrantGuest post by Stephanie Hong

Welcome to part two of our special Google AdWords two-part series written by Stephanie Hong, a nonprofit marketing specialist, where she provide tips & tricks on how to make the most of your Google AdWords Grant dollars.

In case you missed it, part one reviewed How to Take Advantage of Free Advertising Dollars from Google AdWords.

You applied for Google Ad Grants. You signed up for Google AdWords. You started a few campaigns and you’re spending some of your free money. But how can you make the most of your grant dollars? Here are 10 Google AdWords tips to get your account running to its full potential.

1. Bid on your own brand

It may sound silly to spend money on your own nonprofit name, but it’s one of first things you should do when building your AdWords account. Not only does it show brand power by being the top result, it also prevents others from stealing your spotlight.

Make the most of Google AdWords at your nonprofit.

2. Set Maximum Cost Per Click (CPC) at $2

Google Ad Grants has a maximum CPC of $2; make sure to set all your keywords to the maximum bid so your ad has a better chance of showing up.

3. Geo-target to you locations

Many nonprofits are local. Make sure to target the locations that are relevant to your nonprofit. For example, if you have volunteer opportunities in San Francisco, change your location settings to San Francisco. Otherwise, your volunteer ads will show to all of the United States.

Make the most of Google AdWords at your nonprofit.

4. Organize your Ad Groups with tightly themed subjects

Organization is key for an AdWords account. Not only does it help you keep track of the topics you’re targeting, it makes it easier to see what is doing well. Think of it like a brick and mortar store: a campaign would be “Shoes” and the Ad Groups would be “men’s shoes”, “women’s shoes”, “children’s shoes”, etc.

5. Write ad text that is specific to your keywords within your Ad Group

Including keywords in your ad headline will increase your chances of being the top ad. It shows viewers that your brand is relevant to what they are searching for.

Make the most of Google AdWords at your nonprofit.

6. Have a strong call to action

People are inundated with online ads; make yours stands out by having a strong call to action. Your ad copy should tell the user precisely what will occur on the landing page (sign up, donate now, download, etc). A generic message might make the user click, but then leave quickly.

7. Pay attention to Keyword Match Types

When you’re bidding on long keywords, it’s important to make sure you have the right match type. For example, “volunteer with animals” should be set as “phrase match” to ensure you grab the whole keyword term.

Make the most of Google AdWords at your nonprofit.

8. Track conversions

If you have goals, such as a volunteer sign-up, you should set up Conversion Actions within Google AdWords. By placing a conversion pixel on a Thank You or conversion page, you will be able to see how many people converted through AdWords. For example, VolunteerMatch tracks when a nonprofit signs up for a VolunteerMatch.org account. With this information, we know how well AdWords does at driving sign-ups.

9. Use Sitelinks if you have content to share

Sitelink ad extension shows links to specific pages of your website under your ad. This is beneficial for folks who have multiple conversion possibilities. For example, a generic VolunteerMatch ad will drive to the homepage, but through Sitelinks, we are able to add other call to actions such as “Join as a Volunteer”, “Join as a Nonprofit”, or “About VolunteerMatch”.

Make the most of Google AdWords at your nonprofit.

10. Don’t be afraid to test!

In AdWords, you only pay when a person clicks on your ad, so don’t be afraid to make a bunch of ads to test. I suggest starting off with at least 2 ads per Ad Group. Trying different keywords, headlines, or call to actions is a fun way to see how your audience responds to your nonprofit.

I hope these tips are helpful!  AdWords is a fun advertising platform because you can constantly change and play around with your targeting. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see any results; it does take time.


If you are still in the beginning phases of setting up your AdWords account, Google has many great resources to help you. Check out their Guide to AdWords.

How to Take Advantage of Free Advertising Dollars from Google AdWords

Make the Most of Your Google AdWords GrantGuest post by Stephanie Hong

Welcome to our special Google AdWords two-part series written by Stephanie Hong, a nonprofit marketing specialist. She will provide tips & tricks on how to make the most of your Google AdWords Grant dollars.

As someone who leads volunteers, you know how important an online presence and brand awareness is for your organization. But is your small nonprofit taking advantage of all the resources available to you? If you aren’t using Google AdWords, then the answer is “no”.

Why use Google AdWords? Well, first and foremost, because it’s free. Google offers a $10K per month grant to eligible nonprofits. Over 20,000 nonprofits across more than 50 countries are currently taking advantage of this grant.

Let’s step back for a moment and answer the question, “What is Google AdWords?” AdWords is an online advertising solution for paid search. Whenever you search for something on Google, you’ll notice ads on the top and right side panel. Advertisers pay for these ads based on keywords that they bid on. For example, here is a VolunteerMatch ad that shows up when you search for “VolunteerMatch”. Give it a try!

VolunteerMatch AdWords

Being on Google AdWords is extremely beneficial because you get to place your brand front and center to people who are searching for relevant keywords. With the Google AdWords Grant, you can use your grant dollars to recruit more volunteers, grow your donation base, promote upcoming events, share your nonprofit stores, and many other objectives.


Here’s how to qualify for Google Ad Grants per their eligibility rules:

  • Begin by applying to Google for Nonprofits.
  • Hold valid charity status. Please see the Google For Nonprofits site for definitions of charity status in your country.
  • Acknowledge and agree to Google’s required certifications regarding nondiscrimination and donation receipt and use.
  • Have a live website with substantial content.

With the Google AdWords Grant, you can use your grant dollars to recruit more volunteers, grow your donation base, promote upcoming events, share your nonprofit stores, and many other objectives.

Governmental entities and organizations, hospitals and medical groups, schools, childcare centers, academic institutions and universities are not eligible for Google Ad Grants, but philanthropic arms of educational institutions are eligible.

If you fit the criteria, most applications can be reviewed within a few seconds of submission! The process is easy, quick, and seamless. So what are you waiting for? Apply for your Google Grant today and increase traffic to your website! 

Check back in a few weeks for part two of this series, where Stephanie gives you tips for making the most of your Google AdWords grant dollars.

How to Understand Your Volunteers’ Attitudes

Guest post by Haley Myers, Volunteer Program Assessment

Understanding your volunteers' attitudes.Understanding volunteer attitudes and engagement is important for any nonprofit organization. Engaged volunteers are likely to be less stressed and more psychologically healthy. In addition, they feel a sense of commitment to their organization and can foster positive relationships with paid staff, which can have implications for the organization as a whole.

Most importantly, understanding the perspective of the volunteer can provide insight into the larger volunteer program – what components are working well and what may need some attention.

Techniques for Assessing Attitudes & Engagement

The two most popular techniques for assessing attitudes and engagement of volunteers are interviews and surveys. Interviews can provide detailed and nuanced information, but are time consuming; it not only takes time to sit down one-on-one with volunteers, but combing through the resulting data can be messy and tedious. In addition, interviews can be subject to the biases of the interviewer – their interpretations of the information can be influenced by their own pre-conceived ideas of the strengths and weaknesses of the volunteer program.

Surveys represent a much easier mechanism for gathering information on volunteer attitudes and engagement. Surveys are the best way to gather information from a large number of volunteers in a short amount of time. Similarly, interpreting the results is more straight-forward than sifting through the qualitative data from interviews. Once the survey is created, it is easy to replicate on an annual or semi-annual basis, as some organizations may want to track engagement trends over time.

Creating a Volunteer Attitudes & Engagement Survey

Your organization can create your own volunteer attitudes and engagement survey. Some online platforms like Survey Monkey or Zoomerang allow organizations to administer surveys free-of-charge. However, larger nonprofit organizations may face some challenges with these tools because they cap the maximum number of responses for the free versions. In addition, the content of a home-grown attitudes and engagement surveys can lack normative information and support materials. Consulting firms can offer those materials, but will most likely create a financial burden for nonprofit organizations who are already strapped for resources – a simple volunteer engagement survey could run upwards of $10,000.

Another option is to apply for the Volunteer Program Assessment (VPA) at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. VPA is a validated, cutting-edge volunteer attitudes and engagement survey that contains dimensions suggested to be important in the current employee engagement literature. Trained VPA consultants work one-on-one with nonprofit organizational leaders to collect the data using the survey, interpret the results, and develop recommendations to increase organizational effectiveness. Above all, these services are completely free thanks to scholarships funded by grants.

To learn more about VPA, you can visit vpa.uncc.edu or email volprogram@uncc.edu for more information.

Haley Myers is Co-Director of the Volunteer Program Assessment and a member of the Organizational Science Program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

What Does Your First Date with a Volunteer Look Like?

Guest post by Robert Grabel, Training for Good

A client recently shared that they had been trying to connect with a volunteer that had approached them. She had enthusiastically contacted the organization and there was a quick discussion.
How to have a first date with a volunteer to help make sure there's a second.

After that first meeting the dialogue – or should I say “almost dialogue” evolved into a game of cat and mouse. Despite the volunteer director’s phone calls and emails and the prospective volunteer’s few attempted returns (reportedly, a 3/1 ratio), they had to accept that it was not to be. Something was out of sync and and they couldn’t figure out what.

While in romance and perhaps a few other things in life, the chase is as exciting as the catch, not so when it comes to volunteer engagement. Perhaps it’s a stretch, but maybe there are a few parallels here:

  • Both parties come together with lots of expectations
  • Those expectations often aren’t expressed up front (and sometimes not until it’s too late) and;
  • Communication is key!

I’m sure there are other similarities, but I think these are good starters. This got me thinking:

What are the best questions to ask a potential volunteer on an initial meeting?

In other words, what are some things you (as the organization) should ask on that all-important first date to ensure a second? Here are my suggestions:

  1. What got you interested in volunteering with us? Are you looking at similar opportunities with other organizations? (Translation: Are we special? Are you looking for a commitment? Or, are you playing the field and checking out other options?)
  2. Are there special skills you’re looking to utilize with us? (Fairly standard: What do you bring to this relationship? Taking it a step further, are we going to be able to keep you busy doing what you do?)
  3. Are there skills YOU are looking to develop? Are there experiences YOU are looking to have? (These two are my favorites because they say WE CARE ABOUT YOU, not just what you can do for us. Backed up with sincerity, this mindset keeps volunteers engaged and part of your organization)
  4. Would you consider taking on a leadership role if the opportunity was right? (This re-affirms their long-term interest and speaks to the critical question of leadership succession. Committed, active volunteers with a stake in your future are your leaders of tomorrow)
  5. What’s the most effective way to build our relationship? How can we be sure we’re meeting your expectations? And what’s an effective way for us to give you feedback? (This gets to the heart of the communication issue and sets a platform for honesty and continued growth)

At the core, these questions speak to an organization’s mutual interest in the volunteer’s experience, growth and long-term prospects with an organization. While I can’t guarantee every first date approached this way will mean a second, you’ll at least feel confident asking.

I’d love to hear what works for you. Please share your “first date” experiences in the comments below!

Robert Grabel is the President of Training for Good, a consultancy that trains charities to become business development experts consistently generating new leads and developing rewarding relationships. Robert has over 25 years of professional experience split equally between business & finance and the nonprofit sector and has held Senior Leadership roles at the Cabrini Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, Volunteers of America Greater New York, Turnaround for Children, The American Heart Association and Spoons Across America. You can follow Robert on Twitter and on his blog.