Google Grants for Non-Profits: Key Learnings from the ReadyTalk Webinar

Last week, Kristie Mun of Google Grants and Brett Meyer of NTEN (the Nonprofit Technology Network) graciously shared insights into what the program is and best practices for how to take advantage of this free adverting program for non-profits.   If you missed the webinar, watch a recording of it here. Be sure to visit the Google Grants website for additional details and program application form.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • If you’re a qualified non-profit– a 501(c)(3) in good standing that is not religiously or politically oriented, has less than 50 percent of its funding from commercial operations, and a few other reasonable restrictions—then you can get up to $10,000 per month in free Google AdWords budget to use to promote your organization.
  • Most non-profits spend only a few hundred dollars a month, as there are perhaps not that many people searching for their particular cause in the area that they serve.  For example, maybe they are a local animal shelter, as opposed to a national cause such as breast cancer awareness.
  • The program normally awards grants quarterly—however, there is such high demand that there is a waiting period of several months as Google catches up.
  • Once you’re in the program, there is no need to re-apply each year.  You just have to actively manage your campaigns.
  • Don’t bid on generic keywords such as “nonprofit” or “donate”—find specific terms that are highly relevant to your organization. Bidding on such broad terms will hurt your campaigns, evidenced by a low Quality Score that you can see at the keyword level.
  • Make sure that you include all common variations of your keywords—for example, non-profit can be “nonprofit” (no space) and “non profit” (with a space).  These are separate keywords, as are singulars and plurals.
  • BlitzLocal is happy to provide pro bono support to qualified non-profits.  We select a few every month to assist with their Google Grants. Contact dennis@blitzlocal.com to apply.
  • This interactive webinar showcased the new ReadyTalk Web Meeting 6 platform—live presentations by multiple presenters, audience polling, chat features, recording & media player functinality—among many other cool features.  Participants received a free 30 day trial of the platform. Contact simone.verhulst@readytalk.com if you missed out.


Next month, stay tuned for our special guests from Facebook as we cover Facebook for Non-Profits– sign up here before it fills up. Registration is free but space is limited.

 

About the author: Dennis Yu is CEO of BlitzLocal, an ad agency specializing in local online marketing and Google Grants management.

Looking for a few ReadyTalk customers…

interested in using our pre-release version of Web Meeting 6 for their larger meetings or events in the next two weeks.

Meetings can be internal or external, but you have to be a ReadyTalk customer. Specifically we are looking for meetings that will have 100-600 participants for slide sharing; and between 100-350 participants in a meeting with application sharing. We'll provide ample monitoring and support during the live test, offer operator-assisted audio and record the event.

Two customers, NTEN and TechSoup (thank you!), held meetings this week with close to 300 participants. Many attendees chatted in about how much they liked the polling feature and how they were able to enter the meeting very quickly using our Flash participant.

If you'd also like to be one of our lucky customers to try out ReadyTalk's new service upgrade before it releases, please let me or your account manager know as quickly as possible.

To learn more about the features coming in Web Meeting 6 please view this recording Getting Started with Web Meeting 6 Preview or visit our Preview page. Not a ReadyTalk customer? You should be – sign up for a free trial.

Using Social Media to Promote Webinars

Effective promotion can make or break your webinar. In a world where webinars are becoming an increasingly popular marketing vehicle, audiences are being bombarded with email invitations. These invites may get caught in spam filters, deleted out of habit or simply lost in the shuffle of an already-overflowing inbox. To drive registrants (and leads), you’ve got to think outside the box.

Social media offers a whole new frontier for webinar promotion. Sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn provide an easy and budget-friendly way to get the word out about your upcoming live event or even your on-demand recording.

If you haven’t already started using social media to market your webinars, here are a few places to begin:

  1. Blog about the topic of your upcoming event and point to the registration page.
  2. Tweet, tweet, and tweet again about your event. Because Twitter posts are fleeting, you need repetition to get the message out.
  3. Post webinar details and a registration link on your organization’s Facebook page.
  4. Create LinkedIn groups that will attract members who are interested in your topic, then promote appropriate webinars to them.
  5. Tap into the social networks of your speakers by asking them to blog, tweet, post, etc. about the event.
  6. Create a Twitter hashtag for your event and include it in email invites, reminders, etc. to engage your audience before, during and after the webinar.
  7. Expand the life span of your content by embedding the conference recording on your blog and on Facebook and promoting it on Twitter.


ReadyTalk is about to launch some cool new tools that automate social media promotion for webinars. With a few clicks of the mouse, you can post details about a scheduled web conference to Facebook or tweet them to your followers on Twitter. You can also quickly embed the webinar recording on Facebook and promote it on Twitter. Get a sneak peek at these features and lots of other enhancements in Web Meeting 6 Preview.

 

Interested in hearing more on social media promotion plus tips for webinar planning? Join webinar marketing experts Alli Libb of the American Marketing Association, Jessica Walker from Gallup and Paul Barron from Networld Alliance on Tuesday March 23rd at 2:30pm Eastern. Register today for this can’t-miss event!

Now, it’s your turn. Share how you currently market (or want to market) your webinars through social media so we can figure out which social media features to build next …

WordPress for Non-Profits Webinar: Key Learnings

If you missed this ReadyTalk webinar the other day, you can catch a recorded version here.   We had special guest Don Campbell, one of the world's pre-eminent experts on the WordPress platform and President of Expand2Web. In short, if you have no money, no resources, and no technical skills– no problem! You can get an easy to use site for free– just pay a few bucks a month to have it hosted somewhere. Let's go over some of the key takeaways from the webinar, plus answer a few common questions we received:

  • Isn't WordPress just blogging software? While that's what it's most commonly used for, WordPress can be your non-profit community, a video gallery, a shopping cart, a news publication, or anything in-between. There are modules called plug-ins that you can add to your site to perform nearly any function you can think of.  With a community of tens of thousands of developers and millions of sites on WordPress, it's likely you'll find what you need.  There are also thousands of free themes, which are pre-made templates– some you can pay for, too.
  • How is this free? The open source software movement is about software that is designed by a community versus a corporation. This volunteer effort has built Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP, and most of the technology that powers the Internet and the largest sites on the Internet.  While you don't have a support contact, you can ask questions in the forums and get help from thousands of others.  Odds are that you'll not need to do this, since you'll probably be able to get what you want without needing a programmer.
  • Is it safe? Like any software, there are always security concerns.  Our advice is to keep your version up-to-date, so that you have the latest security patches.  Do this and you're unlikely to have any issues.  Your bigger concern will likely be spammers who will leave fake comments on your site– a nuisance, but one you can filter out, just like via your spam guard in your email.
  • But I'm not technical. No worries– if you can use a web-based email tool, you can update your website without a hassle. This software is designed for ordinary people to use.  But if you are a programmer or know one, there certainly are things that you can tweak.
  • What's the catch of free WordPress versus a site that would cost me $100k? That site which costs you $100k probably has time built in for design labor, project management, custom engineering to integrate different databases, and so forth.  Thus, if you don't have a lot of money, hunt for one of thousands of free themes, so that you can either get by with no labor cost or can hire someone for $100 to customize something you already like that is close. A proprietary expensive platform is not "better" or safer– what you're paying for is labor.
  • What's the offer of the free theme I've heard about? BlitzLocal is offering a free WordPress theme designed specifically for non-profits, as a courtesy to attendees of the ReadyTalk Non-Profit Webinar series.  There is no catch.  The theme is free– but you will need to find a hosting company for between $5 and $20 a month.  And if you want customization, you will have to pay someone to do it, whether BlitzLocal, a friend, or a freelancer on a job board.


Stay tuned for the next two webinars in the Non-Profit Series on Google Grants (featuring representatives from Google and NTEN) and then on Facebook (with special guest Jon Fougner of Facebook).

 

For more information on WordPress for your non-profit, please visit wordpress.org or expand2web.com.  If you have questions, feel free to reach out to don@expand2web.com or dennis@blitzlocal.com

About the author: Dennis Yu is CEO of BlitzLocal, an ad agency specializing in local online marketing and Google Grants management.