What The Most Successful Nonprofits Have in Common

by Gia Chow  |   |  Company Culture  |  1 comments

2 min to read

What’s the key denominator behind successful nonprofits? The answer is simpler than you think. There’s something they all have in common…they’ve all invested in paid ads to some degree.


As a nonprofit, it can be challenging to spread awareness and raise funds when you don’t have the marketing budget in place. Fortunately, in today’s world of nonprofit digital marketing, there’s a plethora of options available that’ll still allow you to reach a large audience even on a shoestring budget.


Utilizing and Maximizing The Google Ad Grant

Since 2003, Google Ad Grants have provided up to $10,000 USD per month to eligible nonprofits to spend on text-based search advertising. It’s free, and successful nonprofits have maximized their ad spending to get the word out about their cause. 


This is an example of the Morris Animal Foundation and St. Jude google ads.

google ads results for nonprofits


Take Zero Breast Cancer for instance. Their Google Ad Grants success story has been nothing short of remarkable. ZBC wanted to grow brand awareness as subject matter experts when it came to breast cancer risk and recurrence reduction. They absolutely blew their goal out of the water and saw a whopping 448% increase in site traffic using Google Ad Grant campaigns.


Invest In Paid Social Ads to Drive Awareness

Whether your budget is small or large, investing in paid social ads pays dividends. In fact, every $0.07 invested on average in paid ads generates $1.00 in revenue. It’s certainly a cost-effective way to boost your marketing and fundraising efforts, especially when you throw remarketed ads in the mix. If you’re not already familiar, remarketed ads help keep your cause top-of-mind. It lets you hyper-target people with ads based on their previous engagements with your website or content online. Sounds like a no-brainer right?


Let’s break down the three most popular social platforms that provide the best ROI for paid ads.


1. Meta Ads

Meta ads are an excellent strategy that successful nonprofits use to amplify their reach. With 2.9 billion monthly active users, Meta is the most used social platform in the world. However, it doesn’t mean you have to try and reach everyone. If you have an understanding of who your target audience is, Meta Ads let you filter based on parameters such as age, interests, location, and more. You can get as granular as you like to get the most bang for your buck. 

feeding america meta ad

But wait, there’s more.


Using Meta’s Custom Audience feature, you can upload lists of contacts captured from newsletter sign-ups, fundraising events, or other marketing campaigns and target ads specifically to them. To take it a step further, you can use Meta’s Lookalike Audience, which leverages the platform’s tracked data points, to find new people with similar traits to your current audience. With lookalike audiences, your ad is delivered to an audience of people who are similar to your existing supporters. These are individuals you may have never reached otherwise. 


Recently, we had the pleasure of working with BRAC USA to increase brand awareness and drive year-end donations with Meta Ads. We’re thrilled to report that they brought in nearly $11K from Meta Ads alone! 


Invest in Paid Ads and see these results!


2. TikTok Advertising

As a relative newcomer to the social platform game, TikTok has exploded in popularity, amassing over 1 billion monthly active users across 154 countries since 2020.


With short-form videos continuing to gain traction, advertising on TikTok is a great way to expand your organization’s organic reach, especially if you’re looking to target a younger user base. Advertisers have the potential to connect with and activate over 885 million supporters around specific causes through TikTok videos. 


3. Youtube for Nonprofits

YouTube has been around since 2005 but it remains one of the world’s most popular platforms, spanning 2.5 billion users worldwide. In fact, the number of users will only continue to grow in 2023 making it a great platform for nonprofit marketing. What sets YouTube apart is the platform’s unique ability to automatically retarget users if they’ve watched 30+ seconds of a video. 

youtube ads for nonprofits

The power of YouTube ads is undeniable with many successful nonprofits attributing their success to engaging with their audiences via YouTube storytelling.


Create More SEO-Friendly Content

Another thing that successful nonprofits do is prioritize SEO as part of their overall marketing strategy. Simply put, search engine optimization, or SEO, is a way to draw traffic to your website organically

advocacy center google ad

When you make your content more SEO friendly, search engine result pages (SERPs) are better able to index and display your site when users search keywords and phrases related to your mission. A higher rank at the top of SERPs equates to more traffic, more conversions, and broader reach.

Be aware that it does take time to notice an improvement in your search engine ranking. However, nonprofits such as George Mark Children’s House and Senior at Home prove that investing in SEO is well worth the ROI.

Gia Chow

One Comment

  1. Naomi Horne, on January 19, 2023 at 11:57 am

    Do you have a sense of what a good ask is for a marketing budget for raising funds? 5% of your annual revenue used to be the golden rule but is that applicable to nonprofits? IOW- How much do you need to invest to be successful? You and I all know that marketing isn’t just about a budget, but how you use it, but it’s hard to ask for a marketing budget because it’s difficult to pick a number that doesn’t make the board feel bad about diverting funds from operations. Is there an industry standard we can use to back up my budget request?


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