Attract donors and recruit volunteers: free advertising for nonprofits

January 25, 2023 | Community Boost Consulting
Attract donors and recruit volunteers with free advertising for nonprofit organizations
from our friends at Community Boost Consulting

The work you do is important and it’s imperative that people know about it. Whether you’re a large nonprofit looking for different ways to amplify your mission or a small team trying to stretch your marketing dollars, it makes sense to first seek out free advertising for nonprofit organizations.
In this article, we’ve rounded up some ways to make the most out of your organization’s resources with these no-cost opportunities.

Advertise your nonprofit on social media

Brand recognition is super important for nonprofits! In a nutshell, branding is the way your organization communicates who you are and what you do. Having a strong brand helps your organization set itself apart from every other nonprofit out there, lends credibility, and builds trust with your audience.

Creating a branded social media page is a free and easy way to build a healthy following, share updates, and engage with your supporters. Make sure you cover your bases and set up accounts on multiple social platforms (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, etc.) to maximize visibility across different demographics.

Google Ad Grants free advertising for nonprofits

We can’t shout out Google Ad Grants enough. Since 2003, qualified nonprofits have received $10,000 in credits each month (or $120,000 each year) to spend on Google Ads. As far as free advertising for nonprofit organizations goes, this program lets you:

  • Target your reach and increase digital visibility.
  • Run multiple campaigns concurrently.
  • Track your nonprofit marketing efforts using complimentary analytics.
  • Drive online traffic to your website for fundraising, recruiting, and more.

The best part is that unlike other grant programs, you’re not competing for limited funds! Any number of nonprofits can participate if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Applying for a Google Ad Grant is easy. Here’s how to do it:

1. Meet the Google Ad Grant eligibility criteria

To be eligible, you must be registered as a nonprofit organization. In the U.S. this means you need to be a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. If you’re outside of the U.S., you’ll need to meet the requirements of your country.

Of course, there are a few exceptions. You don’t qualify for the Google Ad Grant if your organization is one of the following:

  • Hospital or healthcare organization.
  • Government entity or organization.
  • School, academic institution, or university (Google for Education has a separate program for schools.)

2. Register your organization with TechSoup

The second step is to register your organization with TechSoup and get a validation token. Once you have been validated, login to your TechSoup account and claim your validation token. You’ll need this for your Google for Nonprofits account in the next step.

Note: In some cases, it may take up to 30 days to be validated.

3. Enroll in Google for Nonprofits

Once you have your validation token, it’s time to sign up for Google for Nonprofits. Make sure you have your Tax ID Number/EIN and your TechSoup validation token handy.

Google should approve your application within a few days–you’ll receive an email notification when they do.

4. Apply for the Google Ads Grant

Once you’re approved as a Google Nonprofit, it’s time to apply for the Google Ads Grant. After you sign into your Google for Nonprofits, you’ll verify that your website is secure with HTTPS and then complete the Ads Grants eligibility form. This 20-minute assessment is provided by Google to confirm that your organization meets eligibility requirements and to get a better sense of your organization.

After you complete the assessment, go back to Google Ad Grants to check the box indicating that you’ve completed the eligibility form and submit your account for review. Typically, the review process takes three business days.

5. Set up your Google Ads account

Once your activation request has been approved, you can get your first campaign rolling! Remember, creating compelling ads is key for successful advertising. Ad copy can make or break your marketing and optimizing your ads is an iterative process.

Partner with other organizations

Another avenue for free advertising for nonprofit organizations is to partner with another nonprofit or business. People like to see businesses support social causes and the byproduct of a partnership can lead to new customers for the business and also brand awareness and recognition for the nonprofit. There are a ton of different ways to do this:

  • Cause marketing: A business sells a product or service and donates a portion or all the profits to a nonprofit.
  • Pro-bono work: A business provides services at no cost to an organization and in return, the organization includes the business’s name on promotional materials and shouts them out.
  • Employee volunteer program: A business encourages employees to volunteer at a nonprofit; not only does this boost morale but helps to positively shape brand perception.

Whatever your arrangement, the key is to find a business that aligns with your interests, industry, and values.

To take it a step further, consider partnering with an influencer. Influencers come in all shapes and sizes; they can be board members, celebrities, or even politicians. They’re highly regarded figures or subject matter experts who’ve amassed a large following. Having an influencer advocate on behalf of your organization provides a stamp of credibility and allows you to catch on with their audience.

Host events

Hosting events is another approach to build brand awareness by getting your cause in front of a live audience. For free and budget-friendly events, consider hosting virtually. Involve online users and your social media followers. Regular events (classes, webinars, etc.) can help keep your supporters engaged because it gives them something to look forward to. Each event is also an opportunity to showcase something new about your organization.

Key takeaways

Nonprofit missions are too important not to use every tool in the arsenal for attracting attention from supporters. No-cost opportunities like the Google Ad Grant and collaborative strategies like hosting events and partnering with other organizations can give your nonprofit the boost you need to recruit and retain more supporters, which will ultimately help you power your programs and purpose.

Whether you’re trying to attract donors, recruit volunteers, or raise awareness, we’re here to help you leverage free advertising for nonprofit organizations. To learn how to maximize your digital advertising potential, chat with our team today.