Written by: Carl Diesing
Reading Time: 7 minutes

The nonprofit landscape is crowded; there are many worthwhile nonprofits competing for support from donors, volunteers, and advocates. That’s why it’s crucial to stand out from the crowd by continuing to iterate and improve your nonprofit’s outreach strategies.

Regardless of whether you’re planning an outreach campaign for an upcoming fundraiser, advocacy campaign, or simply to raise awareness, there are straightforward strategies that you can implement today to elevate your campaign. From personalizing your messaging to making data-driven marketing decisions, this quick guide will cover the following three strategies:

  1. Personalize your messaging where possible.
  2. Access free advertising spending through the Google Ad Grant program.
  3. Make the most of your marketing data.

DNL OmniMedia’s guide to creating a nonprofit digital strategy discusses several core best practices for successful outreach, including using a multichannel marketing strategy and maintaining cohesive branding across all of your communications. The strategies in this guide are ways to continue improving your efforts with small adjustments. With that in mind, let’s get started!

1. Personalize your messaging where possible.

Each supporter plays a crucial role in helping your organization reach its goals. The last thing you want is for these supporters to think they’re just one among many donors who give to your nonprofit whose contributions aren’t essential compared to all the support your organization receives.

Personalization is one way to show each supporter that they matter and are essential for your organization’s success. It entails adjusting your outreach strategy to reflect past interactions with each individual supporter. Do this using supporter information contained in your donor database, fundraising, and volunteer software.

Consider the following personalization strategies:

  • Segment your audience and share relevant communications. Segmentation is the process of separating your supporters into groups and only sharing communications with segments that will likely be interested in it. For example, try asking your supporters which communication channels they prefer most, whether digital methods like email or physical ones like direct mail. Sort supporters into segments based on how they respond, and use those segments to plan your future outreach efforts.
  • Reflect on past giving history in your communications. Consider including information about a supporter’s most recent engagement with your nonprofit in your next message to them. For a previous donor, you could include a sentence about how their donation of X amount made a difference at your organization. This shows the supporter that you’ve paid attention to and appreciated their past involvement.

With personalized outreach, you show supporters that they’re not just a cog in the machine but valuable contributors to your organization. A well-personalized message could be the defining factor that motivates a supporter to give to your organization over the many other nonprofits vying for their attention.

2. Access free advertising spending through the Google Ad Grant program.

Through the Google Ad Grant program, Google provides $10,000 of grant funding to eligible nonprofits to purchase paid advertisements on the platform’s search engine results pages.

These advertisements are keyword-targeted, so the purchasing nonprofit can choose which search terms their ads will be shown for. The ads show up as the first results on the page, and look similar to organic search listings with the main difference being a small “ad” designator.

To be eligible for a Google Ad Grant, you must:

  • Hold valid 501(c)(3) status. Proving that your organization is legally recognized as a nonprofit is part of the application process.
  • Have a functional website. Google outlines several website quality guidelines that your organization’s site must adhere to.
  • Have an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate for your website. SSL is a security protocol that exists between a web server and a browser and will show up as a “lock” icon in the navigation bar in your web browser.

Further, Google places some limitations on the type of nonprofit organizations that are eligible for the program. Essentially, it excludes government-related organizations, healthcare groups, and educational institutions. 

If your organization meets the eligibility requirements, consider applying to access this free outreach opportunity. Getting Attention’s guide to Google Ad Grants goes into depth about the application process, which involves the following steps:

  1. Register your nonprofit with TechSoup. You’ll visit TechSoup’s online registration page, sign up for an account, and wait for them to verify that your organization is a valid nonprofit. When they do, you’ll receive a TechSoup validation code.
  2. Sign up for Google for Nonprofits. This is Google’s program for nonprofit organizations, which gives them access to Google Workspace for Nonprofits, the YouTube Nonprofit Program, and Google Earth and Maps. To enroll, you’ll need to navigate to the Google for Nonprofits website and fill out an application. This application asks for your tax ID number, TechSoup validation code, and contact information.
  3. Install Google Analytics if you haven’t already. Google Analytics is required by the Google Ad Grants program, as it’s how you’ll track the success of your various ad campaigns. If you haven’t already, install Google Tag Manager on your organization’s website and begin tracking key conversions, such as making an online gift or completing an event registration.
  4. Submit your website and Google for Nonprofits account for review. Once you’re approved for Google for Nonprofits, you can apply for the Ad Grants program. Google will review your account and website, then follow up with any next actions that you will need to take. Once these initial elements are approved, you can build your Google Ads account and submit it for review. Once approved, you’re good-to-go!

While the application process is fairly straightforward, keeping a Google Ad Grant requires ongoing maintenance for your account, ad campaign, and website which can be out of most nonprofits’ capacities. If you’re interested in the program but not sure if you have the resources or knowledge to be successful with it, consider partnering with a nonprofit technology consulting firm that has expertise in the Google Ad Grant program.

3. Make the most of your marketing data.

To conclude, our final tip to elevate your nonprofit’s next outreach campaign is to make the most of the data generated by your marketing efforts.

Every single online and analog outreach effort you make generates data—from how many emails are opened, to the rate of conversion for each ad campaign, to how many views and likes each social media post receives. By collecting and analyzing this nonprofit data, you can discover which outreach channels are working best for your organization and how you can change your strategy to make it more effective.

To do this, you’ll first want to integrate your various marketing tools (think: social networks, website, email automation solution, etc.) with your CRM. These connections allow marketing data to flow seamlessly into your CRM, so you can view marketing data alongside your organization’s other data. If you’re using a robust CRM like those offered by Blackbaud or Salesforce, you should be able to build these integrations.

From there, you’ll want to examine this data for trends. Are specific channels performing better than others? Is certain phrasing or marketing language leading to more conversions over alternatives? Align your inquiry with your nonprofit’s outreach goals and use the information you uncover to continue elevating your strategy going forward. Good luck!

About the Author:

Carl Diesing HeadshotCarl Diesing, Managing Director – Carl co-founded DNL OmniMedia in 2006 and has grown the team to accommodate clients with on-going web development projects. Together DNL OmniMedia has worked with over 100 organizations to assist them with accomplishing their online goals. As Managing Director of DNL OmniMedia, Carl works with nonprofits and their technology to foster fundraising, create awareness, cure disease, and solve social issues. Carl lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife Sarah and their two children Charlie and Evelyn.