This week's growth tip is a little different because in contrast to the past few tips about successful growth, this tip is about times that growth didn't happen. We're going to briefly review 2 occasions where Ad Grants probably won't work.
These aren't hard and fast rules by any means. More like really odd Jeff Foxworthy quotes: "If you're a small, super-local nonprofit, you might not be a good fit for Ad Grants". So take them with a grain of salt.
If you want to know for certain whether your nonprofit would be a good fit for Ad Grants, request a free assessment using the contact form here.
#1 - Local Nonprofits in Rural Areas
Recently we've had assessment calls with a few local groups like VFW Posts, Guardian-ad-Litem organizations, and a kid's STEM program.
Their location relative to a large city has consistently been the biggest factor in determining if Ad Grants would be useful for their organization.
For those in a city, or who have a service area that covers a city, there's usually enough traffic to justify using Ad Grants.
But with nonprofits in the exburbs or rural areas, there simply aren't enough people searching for "VFW Post" or the like to make the numbers work out. And there's often another chapter of their org in the next county, so expanding the geographic limits of the campaign isn't an option.
I typically suggest traditional advertising methods to nonprofits with this dilemma. Things like sponsorships, signs in popular areas, or adverts in relevant publications will get your name out to as many people as possible, whether or not they were searching for you in the first place.
#2 - Straight Donation Campaigns
I often say that Ad Grants is a great tool to collect more donations—and it is! But it's usually a little trickier than just slapping together an ad directed to your donation page.
Again, we have to consider what people are searching, because that's what determines when our ads appear.
As much as we would love people to spontaneously say "I would like to donate to Such-and-Such Organization today!" It just doesn't happen. Even for huge nonprofits, there's only a couple hundred searches like that a month—branded searches are what we call them.
Instead, we need to build our campaigns around what people are already searching for. Then we can step alongside them, give them something, then ask something of them. Here's what I mean:
Let's say you're an environmental nonprofit. We can step alongside people searching for "global warming facts" or "how bad is global warming", and offer them the information they're looking for in the form of a webpage or some downloadable content. Then on the side of the page, or in a follow up email to their download, we can ask "Hey, if you appreciated that, why not support us so we can do the same for someone else?"
In that scenario, we reach far more people & gather far more donations by thinking of what they want, rather than what we want. It only took a few hours to build that webpage or download, but it will bring in traffic and donations for months to come.
I hope these little tips are helpful to you as you strive to improve your nonprofit. Like I said, they're not hard and fast rules, but just things to keep in mind as you evaluate your options.
Best of luck to you, and as always, keep growing.