Guide to Using Google For Nonprofits For Your Organization
In the tech era, Google is one of the most powerful companies out there. Offering a wide variety of tools for businesses of any size, Google has several different application options that work for everyone’s needs. For nonprofits, Google has tools for internal administrative duties, staff functions and meetings, presentation tools, and even an ad grant program that we’ll get into more later. Overall, if you haven’t used Google’s tools and programs to their full potential, you might be missing out.
How Most Companies Leverage Google
Google is commonplace for thousands of organizations, businesses, nonprofits, and anything in between.
- Google Docs, Sheets, Drive, etc.
Sharing information becomes easy with Google, giving you the ability to create and share spaces with important information. Google Docs has a feature that allows you to create and label shareable folders with important text documents. You can allow others to view, edit, or add comments to documents, or add and create documents of their own. The same goes for Google Sheets and Google Drive. With Sheets, you can share things like budget information and allow others to edit in real time. With Docs, you can share image files, scans, movie files, and more.
- Google Adwords.
Google Adwords is an advertising system that helps businesses and organizations reach their desired audience through a set of keywords. The purpose of using Adwords is to show up when those keywords are searched through Google, bringing traffic to your website. Using Adwords takes time, but it’s a great way to get your organization’s name out there and on people’s radars.
- Google Analytics, etc.
You can take an in-depth look at how often people are interacting with your website with Google Analytics. This is a great way to tell if your advertising campaigns are working or not. Google Analytics is used as part of an SEO (search engine optimization) strategy, which is used to help websites rank higher when specific keywords are searched.
What is Google for Nonprofits?
Google for nonprofits is a program provided by Google that allows you to receive business-level access to Google Workspace for free. Google Workspace gives you all the Google tools listed above outfitted specifically for use by organizations. You can have meetings with up to 100 participants, 30GB of storage per user, and a professional email address that contains your organization’s name. Usually, this would cost $3 per user per month, so utilizing this is an excellent deal.
Eligibility Requirements For Google For Nonprofits
So how do you know if you’re eligible? Google states that you must be a charitable nonprofit organization in good standing and meet the full eligibility requirements for your country. If your organization is within the United States, your eligibility requirements will look like this:
- You must have 501(c)(3) tax exemption status.
- You cannot be a hospital, healthcare organization, government entity, school, academic institution, or university.
- If you’re a church or related organization, you still need your 501(c)(3) tax exemption status.
- No fiscally sponsored organizations (FSOs).
- You have to be validated by TechSoup first.
Pretty much as long as you have 501(c)(3) tax exemption status you’re good to go, as that’s what most of the requirements tie into. All you have to do is submit a request through Google here with a new or existing Google account.
Offerings From Google For Nonprofits
Google offers not only the tools we mentioned before but many others as well. Everything is synced up together to create Google Workspace (also known as G Suite).
G Suite/ Google Workspace includes:
- Gmail – Google’s email service.
- Google Drive – File sharing and storage.
- Google Docs – Word processing, editing, and document sharing.
- Google Calendar – Shared calendar for scheduling events, holidays, and more.
- Google Hangouts – Text chat, calling, and video meeting app.
- Google Sheets – Spreadsheet creation and sharing.
- Google Slides – Google’s version of Powerpoint. Share and create slideshows and presentations.
- Google Meet – Video calls, meetings, and conferencing.
These are the applications you’d be using the most through Google Workspace. You also get all the security benefits businesses do, giving you peace of mind that your nonprofit will be just as safe as a paying customer would be.
Google Ad Grants
Google offers free advertising for nonprofits as well. Depending on your compliance, you could earn an advertising grant through Google with a $10,000 allowance per month. Both smaller and larger organizations can benefit from using Google’s ad grant program, especially if you want to advertise locally. This essentially becomes free advertising, but to an extent. Google has specific rules you must follow to be in compliance with their ad grant program. You can read more about Google’s ad grants here.
Stipulations on Ad Grants From Google
Google focuses heavily on the quality of ads being produced through its nonprofit ad grant program. This helps organizations create the best ads they can and prevents irrelevant or low-quality advertisements. We’ve created a list of the general ad grant rules below.
- You must have a high-quality website. This is not in reference to aesthetic design choices, but more specifically, user experience. You have to have an in-depth, clear description of what you do as an organization, your mission, activities, events, and anything else related. Your website should be easy to navigate and have clear calls to action. It also has to be a website specifically for your organization and you must own the domain for your website.
- You cannot advertise commercial activity. Anything resembling an ad for something for-profit is not permitted. You can’t create ads to sell things or services unless you’re specific about how the funds are being used for your mission. You also can’t create ads or advertise a website that claims to help or provide a service after a paid consultation or appointment. These rules are specific to prevent scammers who have somehow gotten past the original screening process.
- Ads on your website must be relevant. When you allow advertisements on your website, they have to be relevant to your organization and its mission. Bombarding your website with irrelevant ads takes away from your nonprofit’s goals and values.
- No one-word keywords. There are some exempt words allowed here, but for the most part, you’re not allowed to use single-word keywords. Google’s ad grants policies specifically revolve around a nonprofit’s mission and helping them complete their main goal to help others. People will always try to take advantage of these systems which is why these rules are in place.
Google’s ad grants programs have a lot of different organization-specific rules as well, which you can read more about here. The process sounds intimidating, but the basic gist of it all is to make sure you’re using your ad grants to further your mission as a nonprofit.
Google also provides you with nonprofit tools through YouTube. You can gain access to free lessons on how to create relevant and engaging videos for your channel, helping you gain views and subscribers in the process. The views you get are a great way to get ad money back into your organization. YouTube for nonprofits also gives you fundraising features that allow people to donate directly to you through your content. Overall, content creation can be an important part of your nonprofit’s journey. YouTube videos can become a smart and efficient way to educate people about your organization and connect with your followers meaningfully with less of a barrier.
Depending on what your organization does, you can provide interesting and compelling visualizations through Google Maps and Earth. If you have locations available for resources or events, you can provide a map on your website that shows the specific places you service or are located. You can even show a donor map, showcasing where all of your donations come from.
Final Thoughts on Google For Nonprofits
Google has several powerful tools that should be taken advantage of, all for free through their nonprofit programs. Finding affordable tools and resources can be difficult as a nonprofit so it’s worth trying to find the best free things you can get. Using Google Workspace along with their ad grant program can lead you into further success with your nonprofit and helping the communities that you care about the most.