Marketing Your Nonprofit With Google Grants

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Marketing Your Nonprofit With Google Grants

If you run or work for a nonprofit organization you know that nonprofits face unique challenges such as funding, building awareness, and staying competitive in a crowded landscape. The potential solutions to these issues are as varied as the issues themselves. For the sake or brevity, I will focus on one particular solution and the client I recently applied it to: Google for Nonprofits for the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society (EBCS).

Google for Nonprofits is a charitable initiative by Google that offers its AdWords platform, which you typically need to pay for, for free to nonprofits so they can accomplish their missions. With Google for Nonprofits a nonprofit organization can apply for a grant account where they are given up to USD $10,000 each month to use for search ads on Google’s search engine.

Using a grant account from Google for Nonprofits I developed a strategy and campaigns for EBCS that would focus on helping them increase revenue, building awareness, and staying competitive.

1. Increasing Revenue

In the initial meeting the EBCS stated that their primary source of revenue to sustain operations was through the sale of donated bikes and bike racks, bike and bike rack rentals, and bike workshops. With this information in mind I first created a search campaign targeting people looking to dispose of, recycle, or donate used bikes. This purpose of this campaign would be to ensure that the EBCS would have a steady supply of used bikes to sell at their BikeWorks locations. Next, I created a campaign targeted to people looking for what the EBCS offered: used bikes, bike rentals, bike racks, and workshops. The ads for this campaign would support the revenue component for the EBCS ensuring they have the funds to support their nonprofit.

Below are examples of the ads used for these campaigns.

Search ads for ‘bikes for sale’

Search ads for ‘bikes rentals’

2. Building Awareness

The mission of the EBCS is to making cycling in Edmonton safer and more widespread through initiatives such as education and youth programs. For the EBCS to fulfill its mission it requires volunteers and awareness of its programs. To help recruit more volunteers I created a search campaign targeting people in Edmonton looking for volunteer opportunities which had the effect of creating awareness of the EBCS as a place to volunteer as well as taking people directly to the page on the website where they could learn more about volunteering. I also created a campaign targeting people searching for youth programs in Edmonton as a way for them to discover the EBCS ‘The Spoke‘ program which teaches young children the basics of maintaining a bike.

Search ads for ‘volunteer opportunities’

Search ads for youth program ‘The Spoke’

3. Staying Competitive

The EBCS has a name composed of relatively generic keywords such as ‘Edmonton’ and ‘bicycle’. This results in the brand name routinely being targeted by search ads on Google from companies that sell numerous products and services related to bikes. As a nonprofit that gets revenue through the sale of bikes this proves to be a problem as they do not have the marketing budget to fund marketing and advertising campaigns to compete with for-profit organizations. By creating a brand campaign that targets keywords used in their brand name this ensures that ads are shown at the top of the Google search results when people search for their organization, or terms similar to it, making them more competitive against businesses showing ads for these terms.

Branded search ads

Last Points

An AdWords grant account from Google for Nonprofits offers a very generous tool that nonprofits can take advantage of to further their mission. Who wouldn’t want USD $10,000 for free every month?! Another advantage to using digital to further your nonprofit’s mission is that you can collect an almost limitless amount of data to see what is working, what can be improved, and to justify future strategies. This alone makes an AdWords grant account from Google for Nonprofits a priceless part of any nonprofit’s marketing strategy.

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10 Free Things To Do In Edmonton Year Round

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10 Free Things To Do In Edmonton Year Round

As far as big cities go Edmonton isn’t too expensive, but for those keeping a tight eye on their budget, there are plenty of free things to do in Edmonton! From nature, history, and culture, Edmonton offers quite a wide variety of activities to choose from. Listed below are some of the best of the top 10 free things to do in Edmonton year-round.

1. Discover Historic 112th Avenue

Nestled in the historic neighbourhood of Highlands, 112th Avenue is a charming street with antique stores, cafes, and century old architecture that make for great window shopping. The avenue and the surrounding neighbourhood are full of homes and businesses with character that provide a great opportunity to endlessly stroll and enjoy the atmosphere and scenery. The Gibbard Block, which is home to the amazing La Boheme Restaurant, is especially stunning and photogenic.

Free Things To Do In Edmonton 112th Avenue

2. Edmonton Public Schools Archives & Museum

On a leafy, tree-lined street in the heart of downtown lies one of the most historically significant buildings in Edmonton. McKay Avenue School, now the Edmonton Public Schools Archives & Museum, was the third brick school to be built in Edmonton and is now the oldest remaining. It was also the location of the first Legislative Assembly as the Legislature Building was not yet built. As an archive and museum it is now open to the public for free for all to learn the rich history of education in Edmonton. It’s also supposedly haunted!

Free Things To Do In Edmonton Public School Archive and Museum

3. Explore The River Valley

Edmonton lays claim to the largest amount of urban parkland in Canada. The river valley provides a great opportunity for Edmontonians and visitors alike to enjoy themselves without breaking the bank. There are kilometres upon kilometres of connected paved and unpaved trails that can be used for biking, jogging, running, or walking and enjoying the diversity of nature found right in the centre of Edmonton. Twenty-two ravines branch off from the river valley and occasionally a few adventurers can be found panning for gold in the streams that run through them. In the winter hills can be used for sledding and tobogganing and some parts of the river valley have groomed tracks for cross-country skiing. Check out some more of the things you can do in the river valley at Explore Edmonton!

Free Things To Do In Edmonton River Valley

4. Visit The Art Gallery of Alberta

Art lovers rejoice! You can appreciate priceless works of art without paying a cent. On the last Thursday of every month from 6 – 9PM you can get admission to the Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) for free. The AGA also regularly rotates its exhibits so there are always new things to see. To top it all off, the art gallery, with its physics defying curves, is worth seeing itself.

Free Things To Do In Edmonton Art Gallery Of Alberta AGA

5. See What’s On 124St!

Trendy 124st is always bustling with something to do. Depending on the time of year, you can check out things such as the Grand Market or Christmas events like the All is Bright winter festival. Visit the 124st Business Association to see what other events they have planned throughout the year!

6. Go On A Walking Tour Of Downtown

Downtown Edmonton has undergone a staggering amount of change within the past decade with major projects such as the ICE District taking shape as well as the revitalization of neighbourhoods like 104st. What better way then to experience the optimism of Edmonton’s flourishing core then on a walking tour?

Free Things To Do In Edmonton Downtown Walking Tours

7. Take A Tour Of The Legislature Building

Next on our list of free things to do in Edmonton, tours of Alberta’s Legislature building “The Ledge”. Possibly one of Edmonton’s most iconic landmarks, the Beaux Arts styled Legislature sits prominently over the river valley in downtown and is open 362 days a year for guided tours. Among some of the things you’ll see are painting of Alberta’s past Premiers and a fountain built in 1959 to commemorate the visit of Queen Elizabeth the II.

Free Things To Do In Edmonton Alberta Legislature Tours

8. Prince of Wales Armouries Heritage Centre

The Prince of Wales Armouries is a rich remnant of Edmonton’s role in Canada’s storied military history. Used as a training site for the Department of National Defence until 1977, it now contains the Loyal Edmonton Regiment Military Museum, the City of Edmonton archives, and Telephone Historical Centre. A history buffs dream!

Free Things To Do In Edmonton Prince Of Whales Armouries and Heritage Centre

9. Go To A Farmers’ Market

Edmonton is fortuitously located in the heart of a large agricultural region so naturally it has amazing farmers’ markets to wander around and people watch. There’s the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market, which has been operating for over 30 years every Saturday, the City Market Downtown (named the world’s best farmers’ market by National Geographic blogger Andrew Evans), the Grand Market on 124st, the Beverly Towne Farmers’ Market, and the Highlands Farmers’ Market, to name a few.

Free Things To Do In Edmonton Farmers Markets

10. Join The Edmonton Public Library

Lastly, although definitely not the least, is Edmonton’s public library system. Memberships are free and easy to get giving you endless access to books, movies, music, games, and whatever else lies within each libraries walls. With numerous libraries located across the city you also needn’t go far. With an EPL membership you have an unlimited amount of free entertainment and learning at your disposal!

Free Things To Do In Edmonton EPL

Tyler Majeau is a Digital Marketing Consultant helping businesses and organizations in Edmonton grow and be successful by reaching new customers through digital mediums.

5 Tips To Make A Viral Tweet

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Tyler Majeau Blog Post - Viral Tweet Blog Post Image

5 Tips To Make A Viral Tweet

Up Your Twitter Game!

Making the perfect tweet is a challenge to say the least. Furthermore, its even harder to make a viral tweet. Increase your chances of a viral tweet with the following tips.

Tip 1: Write Compelling Headlines

To make a viral tweet you need it to have a compelling headline. People need a reason to want to share your tweet. Twitter gives you 140 characters to write with. Therefore, it’s best to keep it short and to the point. Most of all, make the headline relevant and attention grabbing! For example, try to be witty, funny, teach, or inspire awe depending on your personal or businesses brand. Also, use Google URL shortener if you include a link. It will make your headline look cleaner.

Tip 2: Use Images And Video

Tweets with images and videos have higher engagement than those without. Images and videos are eye catching and offer more ways to engage with your tweet. As a result, adding images and videos to tweets increases the chances of your tweets going viral. You can’t just include any image or video though. It must have something that makes people want to retweet it. For example, maybe its a hilarious video. Or, maybe it’s a stunning image. Regardless, you need to make sure it is retweet worthy. For example, the tweet below shows a sweeping view of Edmonton’s skyline with the arena under construction in the foreground. This view instills a sense of awe and civic pride.

Tyler Majeau Blog Post - Arena Viral Tweet

Tip 3: Use Hashtags But Don’t Go Overboard

Twitter invented the concept of the hashtag so it’s worth mentioning this feature! Hashtags are one of the ways that people find tweets they are interested in. Do your research into which hashtags are relevant to the people you are trying to reach. For example, in the case of my arena tweet above my target audience was Edmontonians so I used the #YEG hashtag as it is the hashtag for Edmonton. Typically, I would recommend no more than three hashtags per tweet.

Tip 4: Time It Right

Twitter’s news feed is real time so time your tweets right to reach as many people as possible. For example, think about what time of the day your audience is on Twitter and try to post tweets during times they are most active. To further illustrate, if you are using Twitter to market to other businesses, try posting during business hours. If you are trying to reach consumers, try posting during when they would have their lunch break or on weekends. If you don’t have time to post everyday you can use social media scheduling with tools like Hootsuite which post for you.

Tip 5: Tag Influential Accounts

If you have a small Twitter following it can be hard to get traction with your tweets. Luckily, you can tag influential accounts that are relevant. If they like your tweet and retweet it, it will be seen by their followers. For example, in my arena tweet above I tagged Rogers Place, Ice District, Epcor Tower, UrbanYeg, and Explore Edmonton. The photo was taken from the top of the Epcor Tower and the new Rogers Place arena and Ice District where visible in the photo. Because of this, the tweet was immediately relevant to these accounts and their followers. UrbanYeg planned the Instameet where I took the photo so it was relevant to them as well. Explore Edmonton is the tourism Twitter account for Edmonton, so once again the tweet was also relevant. With their retweets my tweet was able to reach beyond my small following and reach a broader audience. Reaching a broader audience meant my tweet had more opportunities to be retweeted. Also, I reached out via direct messages (DM) to my friends and asked them to retweet my tweet once I noticed this tweet was being retweeted which helped amplify the tweets reach.

With these tips and your own creativity you’ll be on your way to reach a bigger audience on Twitter! If you enjoyed this blog post please share!