3 ingredients to online fundraising

3 Ingredients To Online Fundraising And How A Google Ad Grant Can Help

Mckenna Bailey

The three essential ingredients to fundraising at scale (so not major gifts and grants basically) are:

  1. Attention (you have to earn it)
  2. Motivation (you have to increase it)
  3. Friction (you have to reduce it)

And when it comes to online fundraising those ingredients look like this:

  1. Traffic (attention)
  2. Average Gift (motivation)
  3. Conversion (friction)

The post originally appear on re:charity.

Those three variables are what dictates online revenue and what the lovely fundraising nerds at NextAfter have called the Flux Capacitor of Revenue Maximization or FCORM.



Now of those, the ingredients, increasing motivation/average gift is the hardest (in my humble opinion). It’s where knowing who your donors are, what makes them tick, and some donor psychology can help. But it’s pretty messy. Improving conversion is more straightforward (more on that coming up in future weeks) but as Nathan from NextAfter points out, traffic is often the least understood of these metrics which help boost online revenues.

But the beauty of FCORM is that each variable is equally weighted in terms of driving revenue.


So an increase in traffic – especially if it’s quality traffic – is just as valuable as increasing the average gift and/or conversion rate.

Enter the Google Ad Grant.

This is how Jeff Giddens, Vice President of Optimization at NextAfter, puts it:

A Google Ad Grant is one of the easiest ways for nonprofit organizations to start finding new donors and dollars online. Any organization who hasn’t yet applied is literally turning down free marketing dollars.

That’s why, at Shift, we manage Google Ad Grants for clients and encourage almost all nonprofits to apply, use, and maximize those free advertising dollars. And, based on our experience and tremendous results we’ve seen, we decided to create a special ‘company’, called Nonprofit Supply Co., focused solely on helping organizations of all shapes and sizes take advantage of this program to boost their traffic and increase online revenues to benefit their cause.

What Is a Google Ad Grant

Chloe Mark from ArcStone has a great post on the Google Ad Grant here, but for those who aren’t aware of this amazing offer, Google provides eligible nonprofits and charities with $10,000 of in-kind AdWords spend per month. That’s $10,000 of freeadvertising each and every month! If you’re not already taking advantage of this, here are a few reasons why you should.

How A Google Ad Grant Can Help

1. Increased ability to target and reach donors

You can target the ads to reach potential donors in a specific region, locally, nationally or internationally, with certain interests, like water conservation. This is a great way to reach donors that actually care about your cause and are more likely to donate or engage with your organization.

Many donors are searching for terms and content that relates to your cause but because of poor SEO and/or website development, they may not be finding you through organic search. AdWords can help ensure that key terms related to your cause shows up to donors looking for you and your work.

2. Create online exposure for multiple campaigns at the same time

Most nonprofits have a monthly giving plan and seasonal campaigns. With AdWords, you don’t have to choose to advertise one or the other. You can create adgroups for both and the most relevant ad will show up to the user, depending on the keywords they use.

You can focus campaigns on recruiting volunteers, signing up for emails, or giving gifts in kind. And it doesn’t have to be all about fundraising and giving either. If you are a service provider, offer counseling, or have a thrift store, Google Grant AdWords can help you reach people looking for help, support, or clothes.

3.  Easily measure and track goals

With AdWords, you measure your results. Looking to increase traffic to your website? You can determine exactly how many people are coming to your website from the AdWords campaign. Want to know which ads resonate best with your donors? You can find out how much engagement each ad is getting, which gives you an idea of your brand awareness. And finally, you can track email signups or donations coming from a Google AdWord ad – if it’s set up properly of course.

At Shift, we’ve been managing a few grants for clients and have been able to capture numerous donations and emails – which may turn into donations – simply from using and experimenting with the Google Grant and AdWords. Nothing in life is truly free – it does take some time and strategy to manage and make the most of the grant – but being able to clearly see the outcomes from the work and investment is key.

Learn More About The Google Ad Grant


Traffic alone isn’t the answer to all of your online fundraising questions. But it is one (key) piece of the online fundraising puzzle. If you qualify for the Google Grant program, there really is no great reason not to apply. It can help boost your organization’s online traffic, awareness, and donations.

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