Why Scottish charities should grab free Google services

By Tracey Bird on 25th Jun 2015

Those nice people from Google came to our Edinburgh office this week to launch Google for Non-profits in Scotland. As a self-confessed Luddite, I went along to hear more about the range of free digital opportunities available to third sector organisations.

I think we all know the importance of having a digital presence, and I wasn’t surprised to hear that 75% of donors use online resources to find information on charities. We all need to invest in digital upskilling (myself included) and harness the technology on offer to make sure our work is efficient, effective and has maximum impact.

Here are ten tips I picked up on improving your website. They might seem obvious, but we can all do with some back to basics reminders every once in a while.

  1. Identify the goal/purpose of your website
  2. Make the content simple and easy to digest
  3. Use a strong and prominent call to action e.g., a ‘Donate now’, or ‘Click to call’ button
  4. Use compelling imagery – make sure it’s clear and relevant
  5. Make the number of clicks it takes to donate as low as possible
  6. Keep your menus short and sweet
  7. Have clear navigation links
  8. Don’t make users pinch and zoom on mobiles and tablets
  9. Make sure your site search is user friendly
  10. Make sure your website works on a mobile or tablet - will test this

Each Google for non-profits tool is free for charities in Scotland, and can help your organisation save time and money.

Google for non-profits adds a new layer of potential for income generation and reaching new audiences

With Google Analytics you can see how people interact with your website, track their experience and target your message more accurately. This will help you measure your effectiveness and your performance.

Google Trends helps you understand what people are searching for, and gain insights on when they search.

Google Apps can help reduce your IT costs and will give you access to email and calendar facilities.

Google Ad Grants provides a monthly grant of $10,000 (approximately £6,500) in free credits for online advertising. With the help of Google’s Planner, you can build a list of keywords that trigger your advert to appear when anyone searches for related content. This lets you create a custom-made marketing strategy to help achieve your mission. If the person doing the search doesn’t click on your ad, then you don’t have to pay.

To access to these tools, your organisation must have charitable status, as well as a functioning website offering useful content.

Our sector is full of examples of great partnership and collaboration. Google for non-profits adds a new layer of potential for income generation and reaching new audiences. If you’d like more information on new ways of working, then contact our Digital Team.

For more on the Google for non-profits launch in Scotland, read the Third Force News report from the event.