Tune Up Your Nonprofit’s Google Ads In 7 Easy Steps

Improve your Google Ads account with a quick check-up to maximize conversions during the year-end fundraising season.


Nonprofits in more than 50 countries have access to the Google Ads Grant program, which provides $10,000 of digital ad credits every month. [Learn more about the grant and see if you’re eligible.]

The year-end fundraising period is a great time to give your digital ads a check-up! In a few minutes, you can reduce inefficiencies, maximize conversions, and target your most relevant audiences. These seven tips will help get your ads in tip-top shape for year-end fundraising.

1. Try using modified broad match keywords.

Experiment with moving to this keyword type. Putting a plus (+) in front of each word requires that each of those words has to be included in the search term that your ad is shown against. Moving from broad match keywords to modified broad match keywords alone has increased GlobalGiving’s click-through rate (CTR) by 5% and significantly reduced wasted ad spend.

Example: +charity +Malawi +health

2. Schedule your ads.

You can control when your ads are shown! See what time of days leads to the most conversions. Then, consider turning off your ads during times that don’t lead to clicks or conversions.

Example: Run donation ads in your audience’s time zone from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., and turn off overnight.

3. Target geographic regions.

Google’s requirement that Ad Grant recipients have geographic targeting enabled for all campaigns isn’t just another hoop you have to jump through! It’s a smart strategy. For example, if your nonprofit is based in Canada, you may want to only show your ads to Canadians. Or you could decide to show different ads to people living in Calgary vs. Ontario. You could also restrict your ads to show a certain campaign to everyone except people in Canada.

Example: Target ads with locally relevant language, depending on the location of the audience of each ad.

4. Tighten up the relevance between your keywords and ads.

Try creating ad groups within campaigns around specific groups of words. Use different ad groups for similar words like charity, NGO, nonprofit, etc. Make sure your ad group copy matches the ad copy.

Ad group: Donate
Keywords: +cameroon +donate
Ad headline copy: Donate to provide clean water in Cameroon.

5. Make use of the recently expanded headline and description space.

Google Ads recently added an additional headline and description space for ad copy, so update your ads to take advantage of that extra space! The more space you take up in search results, the more likely people are to click on your ads.

Tip: If you can’t think of anything else to include in the new third headline slot, include your organization’s name or website URL to further reinforce your branding.

6. Start a “brand defense” campaign.

Create a campaign that just has the name of your organization. This is important if other organizations are running ads against your name or if you have a similar name to other organizations. This can help push your ads to the top of search results, and over time help the SEO of your website.

Ad group: GlobalGiving
Keywords: GlobalGiving, +Global +Giving
Ad copy: The world is full of problems. GlobalGiving is full of solutions. Discover vetted, community-led nonprofits to support in 170+ countries.

7. Use the “maximize conversions” bid strategy.

By selecting this strategy, Google will analyze the traffic that leads to most conversions and increase your bids on search terms that are leading to those conversions.

Tip: In order to make use of this bid strategy, you need to make sure you have conversion tracking setup. If you’re not sure what that means, check out Google’s guide to conversion tracking.


Featured Photo: Take Healthcare to 6000 Poor in Bangalore District by Bangalore Baptist Hospital Society
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