How nonprofits are reaching Millennials through Google AdWords

Nonprofit Marketing May 5, 2017 By Kevin Wolfe

Ever noticed those little unobtrusive text ads at the top of results when you google something? These are Google AdWords. As an advertising vehicle for your nonprofit, you probably have never thought using search ads, but you certainly should if you’re trying to reach Millennials, the most passionate generation of fundraisers yet. If you’ve been doing your advertising through conventional channels like print, radio and TV, you’re probably not having much success reaching younger generations. That’s because Millennials aren’t on these channels. They’re on Spotify, YouTube and Reddit. And—numerous times a day—they’re also googling. Josh Weum, AdWords Digital Ambassador at Google explains why AdWords are working so well with Millennials when it comes to causes.

Of course Google AdWords are effective with all generations of supporters, but there are reasons why this form of advertising resonates especially well with Millennials and Gen Z:

  • Google is the go to. More than half of Millennials say they google. And many more probably do. 
  • Googling is hardwired into Millennials muscle memory. Activities you learn to do before the age of about 15 (like tying your shoe and typing on a keyboard) become habitual and part of muscle memory. Millennials actually have the activity of googling wired into their brains. So while older generations who didn’t use computers and the internet before age 15 have to think about the process of googling, it’s second nature to Millennials and Gen Z. These younger generations are more likely to search online because it’s an effortless process and something they’re wired to do. 
  • Targeting gets you in front of Millennials with specific interests. Targeting through Google is so precise today, you can put your ads in front of just female Millennials interested in fitness, or just male Millennials interested in video games. The ROI is excellent when you can put your ad in front of only those most likely to respond.
  • AdWords are meant to be useful and not an annoyance. Google has revolutionized advertising by serving up ads about things people are actually looking for. No annoying click bait, just an ad based on what they’re searching. So when Millennials google a volunteering opportunity in a city where they’ve just moved, an AdWord ad for your organization can show at the top of search results, making it the most convenient cause to engage with.
  • Millennials are specifically searching for your cause. Millennials look for causes rather than organizations. They see nonprofits as the channel to help them do good for the cause. If your organization is the first they see related to a cause they’ve become passionate about, they’ll more likely engage with your organization.
  • Google Ad Grants are available. Google grants 501(c)(3) organizations up to $10,000 a month in Google Ad Grants. It’s free money for a massive amount of advertising to raise awareness, recruit and get donations for your nonprofit. (And if you’re already receiving Google Ad Grants and would like to have them professionally managed for a better click-through rate and more effective spend, please contact us.) We’re a certified Google Partner. 

Reaching Millennials and Gen Z may be a simple matter of changing the channels that you’re using to communicate. While AdWord ads are just one place to connect with Millennial supporters, Google’s Ad Grant program is giving organizations easy access to unprecedented marketing opportunities.