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You have an essential mission to serve and improve your community — and raising awareness and funds is essential to the success of your organization.

In this guide, we’ll look at how your nonprofit can use paid ads (without stretching your budget) to help more people find and contribute to your cause.

We’ll cover topics like:

Let’s dive in!

What is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising?

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a type of marketing where you pay a fee to have your website listed at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs) for target queries. As the advertiser, you pay each time someone clicks on your ad.

The amount you pay for each click depends on several factors, like how much you bid for the ad space and the size of your budget.

Investing in PPC for nonprofits helps position your organization at the top of the page or search results to increase traffic to your website.

PPC ads can contain text, images, and videos. For example, here’s how PPC ads appear in the Google search results:

google ppc ads for giving tuesday

PPC advertising isn’t only for search engines. You can run PPC for nonprofits on social media platforms, online marketplaces, and individual websites.

Benefits of pay-per-click advertising for nonprofits

A PPC marketing campaign can help you spread awareness for your cause and achieve your goals. The benefits of nonprofit PPC ads include:

  • Getting immediate results: PPC marketing campaigns start driving results immediately after you set them up.
  • Increasing website traffic: Investing in PPC ads boosts your website to the top of the search results, increasing your online exposure and website traffic.
  • Reaching your target audience: You can tailor your PPC campaigns to specific keywords, locations, and demographics to reach users most likely to take action.
  • Reducing marketing costs: PPC is ideal for nonprofits with limited marketing budgets. You set a maximum daily spend and only pay when someone clicks on your ad, so PPC campaigns have a high return on investment.
  • Measuring and tracking your results: Google and other websites record the results of your PPC campaigns so you can quickly analyze their performance and see which strategies are working. You can also run A/B tests to see which version of your ad produces the best results.

8 PPC tips for nonprofits and charities

  1. Find the best ad platform
  2. Identify your goals
  3. Choose the right keywords
  4. Set a budget
  5. Design compelling ads
  6. Update your landing pages
  7. Measure ad performance
  8. Apply for PPC grants

Let’s explore each tip below.

1. Find the best ad type and platform

The various platforms that offer PPC services attract different audiences with unique demographics. Consider these different ad types and platforms:

  • Search ads: Online advertisements that appear for certain queries on Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and other search engines.
  • Display ads: Text-based, image, or video advertisements on networks like Google AdSense and Apple Advertising.
  • Social media ads: Paid marketing campaigns on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each one, depending on your budget and goals.

For example, Google attracts a larger and more diverse audience than Facebook. The majority of Facebook users are between 25 and 34 years old.

Evaluate the average age, gender, and interests of your target audience and choose a platform that specializes in reaching those people.

2. Identify your goals

Before launching your first charity PPC campaign, take some time to determine your goals. What are you trying to achieve? Some common goals for nonprofits include:

  • Getting more volunteers
  • Increasing donations
  • Spreading awareness
  • Promoting a fundraiser or event

Understanding your goals will help determine what kind of PPC advertisements to create.

3. Choose the right keywords

Keywords are an integral part of your PPC campaign. They are the terms and phrases that people must type into the search engine to prompt your advertisement. Choosing the right keywords for your campaigns is essential to attracting qualified leads.

The keywords you use in your ads and bid on for your campaign determine which searches trigger your ad. Consider the goal of your PPC campaign and what your target audience wants to know.

For example, if you’re encouraging people to register for a 5K fundraiser supporting cancer research, you might target some of the following keywords:

  • Cancer run
  • Cancer research 5k
  • Cancer 5k near me
  • Cancer walk near me
  • Charity 5k runs near me

You can brainstorm keyword ideas with your team and confirm their value using online tools, such as:

  • Google’s Keyword Planner
  • SEMrush
  • Spyfu
  • Ahrefs

4. Set a budget

As a nonprofit, you want as much money as possible toward your mission. With PPC advertising, you set your budget at the beginning of the campaign, giving you more control over how you spend your marketing budget.

An easy nonprofit PPC bidding rule is to set your budget with your average donation and donation rate in mind. Ensure that each campaign earns more revenue than the cost of the ad.

5. Design compelling ads

Would you click on a boring ad? Probably not.

To get your target audience to click on your ad, it must be compelling. In the limited space available for a PPC ad, it’s important to directly address your audience and express how you can solve their needs.

For example, No Kid Hungry keeps their ad short and direct, capitalizing “you” to grab attention:

ppc ad for no kid hungry

6. Update your landing pages

When a user clicks on your ad, they open the corresponding landing page. The content of your landing page should match the theme of your ad and include a persuasive value proposition and call to action.

Use relevant keywords and compelling headlines to optimize your landing page for SEO and encourage readers to donate, volunteer, or attend a fundraising event.

Take a look at the landing page for the No Kid Hungry ad campaign from our previous example:

nonprofit ppc landing page

7. Measure ad performance

There’s a learning curve to nonprofit PPC when you’re first getting started. Review the data at every step to improve your strategy as you go. Invest your budget in the most successful ads and adjust campaigns that aren’t working.

Measuring the metrics that affect your bottom line.

Are you interested in custom reporting that is specific to your unique business needs? Powered by MarketingCloudFX, WebFX creates custom reports based on the metrics that matter most to your company.

  • Leads
  • Transactions
  • Calls
  • Revenue
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8. Apply for PPC grants

A common obstacle that nonprofits face running PPC advertisements is financial investment. PPC advertisements can be costly, especially if you’re bidding on competitive keywords.

On the bright side, Google, Facebook, and other platforms offer grant opportunities and discounts for nonprofits to help offset the costs. Research what each platform offers nonprofits and see if your organization meets the eligibility and application requirements.

Does Google provide free ads for nonprofits?

Yes, Google created the Google Ads Program to give free PPC ads to nonprofits. The Google Ad Grants program provides cost-free advertising to support the mission of eligible charities.

To be considered for free Google ads for nonprofits, you must:

When you enroll in Google for Nonprofits, you automatically receive free access to Google’s Nonprofit version of Google Apps. Then, if you receive the grant, you get up to $10,000 per month or $329 per day of free advertising to create text-based PPC ads.

Create custom PPC campaigns for your nonprofit with WebFX

Good agencies have more than 50 testimonials.

Great agencies have more than 100 testimonials.

WebFX has over 1,100+ glowing client testimonials.

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At WebFX, we understand that digital marketing for nonprofits requires unique strategies. You have selfless goals of earning donations, gathering volunteers, and spreading awareness for important causes.

We have an experienced team of marketers who work with nonprofits every day. We’ll create custom PPC campaigns that express your mission and inspire action.

Contact us today to design effective PPC campaigns for your nonprofit!

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  • Renowned for our communication and transparency


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