How Charitable Groups Can Use Pay Per Click for Fundraising

  • by Shala Graham
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Pay-per-click advertising (PPC), those search results you find on Google and Yahoo paid for by advertisers, are an important tool in online marketing for businesses. Among nonprofits, however, they tend to not be very popular. And why would they be: Since charitable groups are usually looking to make money by advertising different products or services, it wouldn't make much sense…or so the thinking goes.

That's true in a lot of cases, but what about times when nonprofits are trying to raise money? Doesn't it make sense that some well-placed ads could bring in traffic over the Internet and boost results?

Here are two situations where charitable groups can use pay-per-click ads for fundraising:

When they are selling exclusive products for fundraising.

Perhaps you have some kind of premium item—like a special candy, DVD, or book—that buyers can't get anywhere else. In those situations, you don't have any direct competition for your product, so it makes sense to draw in fans and enthusiasts through PPC ads and well-written landing pages. In other words, if you have something that you're actually selling as part of your fundraising efforts, then why not take a page from online retailers and do what they would to maximize sales?

When they have a time-sensitive emotional appeal.

Although you could argue that this applies to almost any day of a nonprofit’s operations, what we are talking about specifically are the kinds of tragedies that make front-page headlines. When a major earthquake, flood, or other natural disaster strikes, people are going to go online to find details, and also to see how they can help. Could an efficiently run pay-per-click campaign help you increase those impulse donations? If your group is well-known, and the situation is an important one, then it might be worth a try.

Although PPC ads are usually thought of in a for-profit business context, there are times when nonprofits can put them to use.