Google for Nonprofits Newsletter - June 2011

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Anna Bishop

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Jun 30, 2011, 4:18:28 PM6/30/11
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Google for Nonprofits Newsletter - June 2011
Your monthly round-up of the latest news and notes from Google for Nonprofits.
June 30, 2011
In this issue
By the way
What's new
Tools in action
Expert corner
Connect

By the way TOP
Greetings from the team at Google for Nonprofits! Change has been in the June air here, with exciting news from the teams behind search, Google+, Apps, and more. Read on for product updates, insights from our AdWords Evangelist, and a YouTube success story. Wishing you a restful and fruitful July.
What's newTOP
Announcing the Google+ project 
Today, the connections between people increasingly happen online. Yet the subtlety and substance of real-world interactions are lost in the rigidness of our online tools. In this basic, human way, online sharing is awkward. Even broken. And we aim to fix it. We’re adding new features to Google to make sharing online more like sharing in real life. Check out the announcement to read more about features including Circles, Sparks, Hangouts, Huddles, and Instant Upload. We’re beginning in Field Trial mode, so if you got an invitation, you may find some rough edges. We hope to have more information specifically for our nonprofit users soon!
Google Sites go mobile
More and more people are accessing the web from their mobile phones - it’s time to optimize your website for mobile if you haven’t already! Google Sites recently made it easy by enabling automatic mobile rendering for your Google Site when viewed from an iOS or Android 2.2+ device. Also, with mobile versions of the site list, sites search, and browse function, you can access and search your own sites on the go. As a nonprofit, you might consider using Google Sites for external webpages, or to organize information for internal staff, boards, and volunteers.
New layout options for Google Custom Search
Helping visitors find what they’re looking for, fast, is crucial to your website’s user experience, particularly for nonprofits whose customers range from donors to clients to partner organizations. Adding a search bar can dramatically improve conversions on your website, and now it’s easier than ever to get started with additional layout formats, quick templates, mobile-ready results, and more from Google Custom Search.
Appointment slots come to Google Calendar
Ever wish you could schedule office hours with your team, or let volunteers and clients self-schedule appointments online? The new appointment slots feature in Google calendar lets you choose availability on your personal or organization calendar and share sign-ups for the open slots with friends, coworkers, clients, or volunteers.
10 Gmail Gadgets to try 
Did you know that you can easily add iGoogle gadgets (or any gadget specified by an .xml file) to the side of your Gmail account? Access your Google calendar, a URL shortener, timezone calculator, to-do list, and more while composing and skimming email. Find these and more gadgets in the Labs tab of your Gmail settings and optimize the one thing nonprofits need most: time.
Tools in actionTOP
Begun in 2005, ONE is a grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease. Recently, ONE used video strategically in a campaign aiming to both tell a story and improve conversion rates for an online petition. A video called Why Bother? posted to the ONE Campaign’s YouTube channel has singlehandedly driven 15k+ views already, and with a 9%+ conversion rate from views to new members, the channel has contributed over 1,500 new ONE members. 

These YouTube campaigns have helped ONE build a loyal and growing list of YouTube channel subscribers. We know that video provides our campaigns with the power of "show me, don't tell me" and keeps our site visitors engaged and taking action. 
- Garth Moore, Deputy Director of U.S. New Media, ONE.org
Expert cornerTOP
This month we caught up with Frederick Vallaeys, Google AdWords Product Evangelist, to hear the latest and greatest in the world of search engine marketing how nonprofits can optimize their online marketing through a few simple tips.
Q: Why is online marketing important for nonprofits?
Online marketing is a perfect way for nonprofits to connect with consumers who are doing research about which charitable causes to support. With Google Grants, many nonprofits can place free ads on Google’s search results pages and find new donors or spread the word about their cause. Because AdWords is a cost-per-click (CPC) advertising system, it removes a lot of the potential budget risks... you only pay when we deliver a click and send someone to your website where you’ll have a chance to convert them into a member or supporter.

Q: What are some new features in Google AdWords that nonprofits should know about?
We’ve introduced several new ad formats in the past year. One of the highest impact (and easiest to set up) is Ad Sitelinks which allow you to show 4 extra links in your ads. A great way to use this is to show users the variety of causes you support and take users directly to the most relevant landing pages where they can learn more.

We also introduced AdWords Campaign Experiments to make testing easier. Now you can test new keywords, ad texts and bids while also running your existing ads at the same time, making it easier to do an apples-to-apples comparison to decide if your change really improved your results.

Finally, I think AdWords automated rules can really help nonprofits. This tool allows you to automate account management task such as updating bids, changing budgets and scheduling new ad texts. When these tasks are automated, nonprofits can spend more time on what they love most, making the world a better place.

Q: Can you share any cool stories of organizations using Google Grants?
Direct Relief International, a disaster response organization, is one great example. With one AdWords campaign, they were able to generate about 9000 donations and nearly $1 million in online contributions, making it one of their most powerful communications tools and most efficient funding channels.

Q: Google AdWords can seem intimidating to get started with. Do you have any tips for newbies?
I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with AdWords before you get started. We’ve written help materials as well as video instructions, webinars, and live seminars so you can learn about AdWords the way you prefer.

When you get started, the biggest thing to keep in mind is that Google wants ads to be useful information and we reward relevant ads with higher positions on the page. Some tips to achieve high relevance include building small ad groups of highly related keywords with ad texts that specifically reference these keywords and writing compelling ads that highlight your nonprofit’s key benefits. So for example, if your organization provides both shelter and food, you should build separate ad groups for each of these.

Q: Where can nonprofits go to find resources and support for Google Grants?
You can apply for the program at www.google.com/nonprofits, and find even more helpful information online at www.google.com/grants. There’s also a Help Center and Forum you can check out.
ConnectTOP
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