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.

Causecast and VolunteerMatch Launch Groundbreaking Partnership

VolunteerMatch and Causecast announce groundbreaking partnershipWe’re excited to announce our partnership with Causecast, a giving and volunteering technology solution that helps companies reach the highest levels of employee engagement and social impact.

Check out the press release announcing the partnership below, and check back this week as we explain in more detail how this expands the reach of your nonprofit’s VolunteerMatch.org listings. 

Causecast and VolunteerMatch Launch Groundbreaking Partnership To Make the Most Comprehensive Volunteer Engagement Network Available to Corporate Employees

San Francisco – January 25, 2016 – Causecast, the most innovative platform for irresistible corporate giving and volunteering programs, and VolunteerMatch, the largest online volunteer engagement network, have launched a groundbreaking partnership to integrate VolunteerMatch functionality into the Causecast software — making thousands of locally relevant volunteer opportunities from over 100,000 nonprofits available to employees all over the world. By bringing VolunteerMatch opportunities into Causecast, companies of all sizes can further diversify their existing volunteer programs to feature volunteer opportunities sourced through VolunteerMatch, Causecast for Nonprofits, and company exclusive opportunities.

“We’re proud of this addition, which builds upon our firm belief in the critical role of cross-sector collaboration,” says Ryan Scott, founder and CEO of Causecast. “We are always seeking ways to make it easier for nonprofits to get access to the resources they need — and for companies to provide the full breadth and depth of their support.”

“As a nonprofit, we have a commitment to expand our social impact,” says Greg Baldwin, President, VolunteerMatch. “By opening up our network to great partners such as Causecast, we are making it easier for our 100,000+ nonprofits to find the talented volunteers they need.”

Causecast and VolunteerMatch have executed an agreement that makes the new functionality available to Causecast partners immediately. VolunteerMatch is a premium feature on the Causecast platform, and inclusion is optional and available at a low cost, based on the number of users. For more information or to request a demo, visit www.causecast.com/demo or www.volunteermatch.org.

About Causecast

Causecast is the leading cause engagement company for corporations, providing a one-stop modern employee engagement solution for companies of all sizes. Causecast is a true SaaS model that has revolutionized the way companies manage corporate volunteering, donations, matching, and cause campaigns ranging from disaster relief to competitive crowdfunding. The highly interactive, mobile, and social platform leverages social media and automation for sophisticated story capture and to facilitate a culture of giving back within the workplace.

Learn more about Causecast at www.causecast.com, and follow @Causecast.

About VolunteerMatch

VolunteerMatch believes everyone should have the chance to make a difference. As the Web’s largest volunteer engagement network, serving 100,000 participating nonprofits, 150 network partners and 13 million annual visitors, VolunteerMatch offers unique, award-winning solutions for individuals, nonprofits and companies to make this vision a reality. Since its launch in 1998, VolunteerMatch has helped the social sector attract more than $6.8 billion worth of volunteer services.

Learn more about VolunteerMatch at www.volunteermatch.org, and follow @VolunteerMatch.

Media Contacts:

Audrey Zigmond

Bree von Faith

Want the Ultimate Endorsement of Your Volunteer Program? Find Yourself a Place at the Table

Guest post by Elisa Kosarin, Twenty Hats

This post was originally published on Twenty Hats.

Real top down support starts with the board and the strategic plan – and you have a role to play

A Place at the Table - Twenty HatsA question: when it comes to running your volunteer program, how would it feel if the Board of Directors had your back?

That’s what the volunteer director and her coordinators experience at Northern Virginia Family Service, where volunteer engagement is included in the strategic plan.  This organization sends a great message about volunteers and how they are valued for their capacity-building potential.

This message got me thinking: how many other nonprofits are this enlightened about the power of volunteers to advance a program’s mission?

Certainly I know of organizations that don’t acknowledge volunteers at the highest level. I recall one former workplace of mine that relied heavily on volunteers but chose not to mention volunteering in the strategic plan nor include information about the state of volunteerism in the environmental scan.  As if dollars were the only resource that mattered.

It’s easy to feel unrecognized in a situation like this and see only the barriers to creating a fully integrated volunteer program. But it may work better to treat the omission as a leadership opportunity and ask yourself, “The next time my organization is up to revise its strategic plan, how do I ensure myself a place at the table?”

You don’t need to be in upper management to participate in high-level decision-making. Many strategic planning committees include staff representatives or at the very least seek out staff input at the start of the process.

In the meantime, here are three things you can do to pave the way for volunteer inclusion:

  • Get to know the board. Educate them about the impact that volunteers are already making within your organization. Ask to report out at board meetings and bring successful volunteers along with you to share their stories.
  • Know your numbers. Know the trends when it comes to how many volunteers apply to your program, how many get trained, how many become active, and how long they stay. Board members need this kind of information to understand what it takes to sustain a high-quality volunteer program.
  • Remember your power. As mid-level managers, we may not possess as much authority as we might like, but we still have plenty of power to effect change.  Our volunteer management expertise and ability to forge connections are tremendous assets to our organizations.

Advocating for volunteer involvement is not an “extra credit” activity for volunteer engagement pros — it is one of the competencies considered essential for anyone earning their Certification in Volunteer Administration (CVA). It’s an indicator that you see the big picture and see yourself as a part of it.

As we sit on the cusp of a new year, make it your resolution to claim a larger role for yourself and your volunteers.


Tweet this post! If you agree with my POV, feel free to share this message: Is volunteer engagement a part of your org’s strategic plan? Your place at the table makes it happen, http://twentyhats.com/?p=2134

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.

Volunteer Engagement Food for Thought: Be Strategic

At VolunteerMatch we learn so much from other experts in the fields of volunteer engagement and nonprofit management, and we want to help you stay up to date on the latest news and trends. Here’s some food for thought to launch your New Year. 

Volunteer Engagement RoundupLeading Volunteers: A Model That May Make a Difference
From Tobi Johnson:
Good leadership goes a long way. Step up your game in 2016 by following this proven method for leadership excellence – and understanding how it relates to leading volunteers.

7 Ways to Say No Without Actually Saying It
From Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog:
Does it seem like your coworkers keep putting more and more tasks on your plate – many of them not directly related to your job? Take a lesson from Kivi on how to politely decline those unnecessary time sucks and stay #CALMnotBUSY in 2016.

Want the Ultimate Endorsement of Your Volunteer Program? Find Yourself a Place at the Table
From Twenty Hats:
Does your organization have a strategic planning session coming up? You don’t have to be part of upper management to get your volunteer program the spot it deserves in this process. Here’s how.

The Domino Effect of Setting Goals for Volunteer Involvement
From Susan J. Ellis:
What happens when you don’t have clear strategic goals for your volunteer program? Not asking the right questions could bring your whole program down in a domino effect. But the right questions? Well, that’s your dominoes falling perfectly-timed and gracefully in a work of art.

For more tips from experts, check out the VolunteerMatch book that brings together 35 experts.