There’s been a noticeable increase of not-for-profit (NFP) organisations in the online realm of marketing. One of the main reasons that could be contributing to the increase is the helping hand of online platforms available to NFPs at a reasonable cost, or cost-free. Organisations including Google, YouTube, Facebook and ActionSprout are continuing to help change the world by offering their tools to NFP organisations to enhance the reach of their causes and tell their stories. Featured in this blog are some of the great tools that assist NFPs getting online, using marketing and advertising programs and generally making the world a better place.
1. Google Ad Grants
April 1 was the 13th birthday of Google Ad Grants. Google Ad Grants was launched to assist NFPs in their endeavour to advertise online. Google Ad Grants works exactly like Google AdWords displaying the organisation’s message in search, however, Google provides the organisation a generous $10,000 USD in kind Adwords advertising every month. If you think this sounds good, if a NFP organisation meets Google's Grantspro criteria, the organisation can receive up to $40,000 USD in kind Adwords advertising per month.
What are the nitty gritties for signing up a NFP organisation?
Eligible NFPs must:
- Apply to Google for Nonprofits
- Hold valid charity status
- Acknowledge and agree to Google’s required certifications regarding nondiscrimination and donation receipt and use
- Have a live website
Google Nonprofits, unfortunately, don’t include:
- Governmental entities and organisations
- Hospitals and medical groups
- Schools, childcare centres, academic institutions and universities (but philanthropic arms of educational institutions are eligible)
As mentioned above, Google Ad Grants works just like AdWords, so you can benefit using the tool both on a desktop and on mobile. Google also offers AdWords Express for those small tiered organisations that don’t have enough time on their plate to manage AdWords. We recommend not to use AdWords Express and use the standard AdWords tool to effectively reach your goals.
By linking your Google AdWords and Google Analytics accounts, your organisation can track the performance of the advertisements and track conversions can help you fulfil your organisation’s objectives and monitor conversions.
2. Google Apps
Google provide their apps free of charge to NFPs who meet their criteria. They recognise how expensive IT services can be and by allowing NFPs to access to their app suite, they can provide an opportunity for NFPs from a technological standpoint. These apps include free access to Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive with 30GB of storage in the cloud, 24/7 support, and no hardware or updates.
Image Source: Google Australia Blog
Need proof? Google have a range of case studies that explore the opportunities organisations can gain from accessing their apps and collaborating on an online platform. A great case study worth watching is the story of Samasource. Samasource is an inspiring NFP organisation that educates people in poverty in the area of project management and digital work. With these learned skills, those in poverty can better their futures by working in these areas of employment. There are a couple of big-name organisations that are on board with Samasource too – like, Google, WalMart, Getty Images, eBay, Microsoft, and TripAdvisor.
3. YouTube NonProfits
NFPs are jumping on the content market bandwagon – and research reveals that it’s a smart marketing move. It’s essential for NFPs to embrace content marketing in order to make their brand relatable, share a story and engage with their audience. Content Marketing Institute research reveals how content marketing is growing for NFPs. According to their article, NFPs are increasingly experimenting with social platforms and other online content tactics because they proved to be effective mediums of communication.
A great way to get social content out there is video. YouTube acknowledged the potential of video content for NFPs and launched their YouTube NonProfit Program. Recognising the power of video marketing and it’s ability to reach a greater audience, the YouTube NonProfit Program offers a number of cost-free benefits to NFPs such as,
- Free enriched version on YouTube
- The ability to drive viewers to action by placing a call-to-action (CTA) overlay directly on your video, such as Donation cards and Link Anywhere Cards
- A customisable profile for your channel with your organisation’s logo and branding
- The YouTube for Good Outreach Toolkit
- Free technical support
Last week, YouTube also announced free access to YouTube Spaces for NFPs. YouTube spaces are YouTube’s global network of production studios. Google eligible NFPs gain access to these studios to learn new skills through workshops and produce quality content free of charge. At this stage, there are only 8 YouTube Spaces worldwide in the USA, Japan, Brazil, Germany, India, and France, but we’re expecting this to grow.
Image Source: Tubefilter YouTube Space New York
Facebook have also done an amazing job assisting NFPs by developing Facebook for nonprofits. This website was only launched earlier this year to support NFPs in developing their Facebook content and using their interface, similar to a tutorial page for NFPs. Facebook proves to be a useful platform for NFPs because it’s created a community with similar goals and ambitions. There are millions of Facebook users worldwide who are able to connect with causes and NFP organisations they care about.
Facebook’s also a great advocate in influencing followers and raising awareness. Last year, they added the “donate ” button as a CTA to pages and linked ads (instead of it’s previous embedded donate message). This has proved as a useful tool for NFPs, with the ability to link followers and communities from Facebook straight to payment options. The same year, Facebook developed a fundraiser page (similar to a Facebook event page) in addition to a NFP organisation’s regular profile page to enhance the activity of giving through campaign work.
Image Source: Business Insider Facebook launches Fundraising tool
Facebook also provides their own sponsorship through donation messages in times of crisis. For example, in 2014, there was the “donate now” button on top of our news feed sponsored by Facebook to help in the Ebola crisis.
Image Source: Techcrunch Donate Now Button
Many charities and causes have been successful in using Facebook as a tool to raise awareness. One of the more successful and famous Facebook campaigns would be the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Ice Bucket Challenge. How can we forget the time when our news feeds were full of our friends and family pouring, cold icy water over their heads, then nominating their friends to do the same all in the name of a good cause. This campaign managed to raise over $100 million USD in research for ALS (a neurodegenerative disease causing muscle weakness, paralysis and respiratory failure) more than 2 million videos related to the cause were shared worldwide and many entertaining moments were made online. One of the more memorable moments was when Mark Zuckerberg nominated Bill Gates to participate. Of course, Gates took the challenge to the next level by engineering his own insane bucket pouring machine. Facebook’s media site have more success stories for NFPs such as the well known Movember, a grassroots NFP organisation raising awareness and funds for Men’s health.
One of the leading tools that assist NFPs thrive on Facebook is ActionSprout. ActionSprout is a website with information and processes on how NFPs and causes can better their content to engage fans, create a community and drive donations. ActionSprout doesn’t only offer useful tips and blog posts for NFPs but they also provide packages that can support NFPs with a number of Facebook efforts. ActionSprout offer plans with support at a range of prices that can suit a number of NFPs. They also deem that they have a conversion rate of 5%-20% from people who have engaged with Facebook posts from using their platform.
Image Source: ActionSprout Social Actions
In late 2105 with the support of Facebook, ActionSprout handed out a charitable $2 million worth of ad credits to assist selected NFPs (who applied to their website) to engage with their online fans and communities. However, at this point, NFPs can no longer apply for this grant as their test is over. The goal of this grant was for Facebook and ActionSprout to research on how they can better their processes of supporting NFPs. For more updates on the ad credits research, you can subscribe to ActionSprout’s updates.
6. Google Earth Outreach
One of the most important brand elements of a NFP organisation is transparency. Google provide a great platform for NFPs to illustrate their transparency through Google Earth Outreach. Google Earth Outreach assists NFPs in their visual impact by allowing them to map their story through Google’s mapping technologies and tools. This tool seems to be an under-utilised tool by NFPs that should definitely be considered. An enlightening case study to encourage NFPs to at least think about using this tool is the Jane Goodall Institute story. This story follows the way in which a NFP organisation used Google mapping tools in their pursuit to preserve African great apes and their habitats. Google Earth Outreach also offers grants for enterprise level apps including Google Earth Pro and Google Maps API for Work.
This is just a taste of the online tools assisting NFPs of the world. Online programs and organisations are doing more and more to help out NFPs and cause day in and day out. It is important to remember, though, as great as these tools seem, it’s important to review which tools would best suit your NFP because not all apps will relate to certain organisational objectives or processes.