By Scott T. Rauth
The following are tools from Google to help you build awareness for your organization via your website and ultimately build your capacity by engaging those interested in the work you do for others.
i. Google Adwords – When you search on Google for anything there are two types of results you get back – one is organic – it is on the left. The search results on the right are there because of Adwords that advertisers have paid for. For example when you search for “world poverty” on Google, text ads related to world poverty appear on the right hand side. When you click on one of the ads, you are brought to the website being advertised. Google knows that 60% of users use the organic search and 40% use the sponsored results on the right. To get free Adwords, apply for a Google Grant.
ii. Google Grants – To increase awareness of your organization, get more volunteers and even generate new online donations, you need Internet users that are interested in the services and people you help. They need to easily find you. In this program, Google provides for FREE online advertising by letting you choose key words that will drive visitors to your site. Items to note:
a) There is no reporting
b) There is no set duration or expiration date for these grants
c) There is no need to reapply over time
d) You only have to follow their published guidelines
e) They pay up to $1.00 per Adword
f) The first page gets over 65% of all traffic (1st 10 responses) sometimes the first page can involve an investment of $3-15/Adword
g) They only have one person reviewing these applications and it can take up to 6 months to hear back
h) They want to know how their grants advance your mission
iii. Google Analytics – Have you ever wondered about any of the following?
a) How many people are coming to your site?
b) How long did they stay?
c) Where did they go on your site?
d) Are they doing what you hope they will do? – Signing up for your newsletter, volunteering, contacting you, donating online, etc.
In order to find the answers to these questions and many others Google provides this FREE tool that even allows you to have great visibility to how to improve awareness for your organization.
iv. Google Checkout (for online donations) – Instead of using Paypal or other credit card processors for online donations and event registrations, etc. you should consider this FREE tool from Google. They have the following unmatched advantages:
a) No setup fees
b) No minimums
c) No ongoing fees
d) The only fees you have with them are the actual credit card fees from VISA or American Express, etc.
v. Google Applications – Need reliable e-mail that doesn’t include any spam? Google provides managed e-mail solutions for nearly FREE. Google, in an effort to combat the monopoly Microsoft has built, provides FREE tools for:
a) E-mail (spam protected)
b) Create documents (like Word)
c) Spreadsheets (like Excel)
d) Even sharing calendars (like Exchange)
All of these applications interact with the Microsoft Office options everyone uses now and you can save your documents in a format that non-users can work with easily.
vi. Google Webmaster Tools – These FREE tools help you understand whether the Google search engine likes how your site is constructed and whether it is finding your site on a regular basis. These tools are not “super techie” and indicate clearly what needs to happen to move up in the organic search rankings. The tool answers the following questions and a lot more:
a) Do you have a valid site map?
b) Can Google search your site and index it for their organic search?
c) Do all of your internal and external links all work?
d) What keywords (or Adwords) does Google find on your site content now?
vii. Google Maps & Earth – This very powerful service provides real time imagery of your sites and global reach. It can be used to provide directions to facilities and has incredible satellite digital photos of the entire Earth (for those countries that allow it).
viii. You Tube – Many organizations are very effective at telling their stories and how they positively impact their constituent’s lives. A written testimony on your site is nice. Audio is far better and video is proven to be at least ten times more effective in having visitors take action including contributing online immediately.
Scott T. Rauth is the managing principal of Entire Computer Solutions, an outsourced technology consulting firm focused on non-profit organizations and professional service firms in the greater Kansas City area since 1987. For more helpful tips visit our website at www.ecs-kc.com. He can be contacted at 913-385-7800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.