By Jeff Kline

Blog

My Favorite Things: 13 Google Tools for Nonprofits

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Google apps for nonprofitsGoogle is the world’s most popular, powerful search engine. But it’s important to remember that Google also features many other tools that make it even more valuable - particularly to nonprofits.

Last week, I told you about my 13 favorite internet marketing trends for nonprofits. Since many aspects of internet marketing require knowledge of Google, I thought this would be an appropriate topic for the second week of My Favorite Things.

So, here are a few of my favorite things…about Google.

google for nonprofits1) GOOGLE FOR NONPROFITS

Gain access to free and discounted online tools by joining the Google for Nonprofits program. Benefits include:

2) GOOGLE ANALYTICS

This is the ultimate tool for measuring your nonprofit’s online success. Google Analytics allows you to see how many people are visiting your nonprofit website AND how they arrived at your website.

Understanding your visitors’ behavior helps you determine where to focus your marketing efforts – which, in turn, helps decrease the time and money spent. Use Google Analytics to:

  • Determine your most popular pages
  • Discover search terms (keywords) visitors used to find your site
  • Track the success of your Google AdWords advertising campaigns
  • Set marketing goals and monitor conversions

Click here for an article on how nonprofits can best use Google Analytics.

3) GOOGLE TRENDS

Google Trends allows you to see the popularity a particular search term. When you submit a search term, you will be provided with a chart that shows interest over time and a list that breaks down interest based on geographic region. Google Trends also provides the most popular searches related to your search term.

For example, if you search the term “nonprofit” and narrow it down to the searches in the U.S. and for the last 12 months, this is what you’ll see:

google trends

You can also click each state and narrow it down by city or metro for more specific results.

4) GOOGLE+ LOCAL

97% of consumers search for local businesses online. Will they find you?

Developing a Google+ Local page for your nonprofit will help you get included in local search listings. Your Google+ Local page (formerly called a Google Place page) provides searchers with your nonprofit’s address, a map of your location, a description, photos, a link to your website, hours of operation, contact information and more. Visitors can rate your organization and post reviews, and you can respond!

Online reviews are great for your nonprofit’s SEO and overall online presence, as we discussed in last week’s post.

5) Goo.gl LINK SHORTENER

Because not many people know it exists, Goo.gl is sort of a “top secret” Google tool. It’s easy to use – simply visit Goo.gl and paste any link you would like to shorten. (Shorter links are useful for posting to Twitter, where you are only allowed a limited number of characters.)

Goo.gl also functions as a link tracker, showing you how many times each link is clicked. This will help you decide which links are getting the most traction, and to know what people are the most interested in!

goo.gl url shortener

With Goo.gl, you can see referral information, the geographic location of people who clicked, and which browsers and platforms they used. Below you’ll see one of our posts that had 15 clicks on it. Here is what we found: 

Our audience consisted mainly of Windows users in the US using the Google Chrome browser. But several of our clicks came from other countries, including Canada, Italy and the UK!

goo.gl url shortener data

QR codeWhenever you shorten a link, Goo.gl will also generate a QR code. Use it on your flyers, business cards, billboards to draw offline traffic to your website! Click here to learn how QR codes can help nonprofits drive donations. 

6) GOOGLE VOICE

Google Voice is available to all Gmail users. In my opinion, these are the top two features:

  • Call forwarding – You can set up your Google Number to receive phone calls from several different phone lines, whether it be your cellphone, house phone, or multiple employees’ work lines. When someone calls your Google Number, you can have up to six phones set to ring.
  • Voice transcription - This feature translates your voicemails into a text message that is sent directly to your mobile phone. This is helpful for responding to those messages that just can’t wait – simply forward the message to your assistant to follow up on immediately!

Other Google Voice services include international calling, voicemail, free texting, call history, conference calling, call screening and blocking, and video chat.

7) GOOGLE DRIVE

Drive (formerly Google Docs) is a viable alternative to Microsoft Office – plus, it’s free and allows for collaboration. You can develop documents, spreadsheets, presentations and surveys; access your files anywhere you have Internet access; and share your files with other members of your organization.

Google+ Hangouts8) GOOGLE+ HANGOUTS

What if you could hold a conference call with video chat while sharing a Google Drive document? Now you can with Google+ Hangouts!

Google+ Hangout allows you have a videoconference with up to 10 people, while sharing Google Drive documents. This is a great tool for interviews, office meetings and out-of-town business meetings. And it’s free of charge! 

Public Hangouts are live streaming video conferences that anyone can watch. Create your own live Hangout, or find one to watch!

9) HELLO FAX

HelloFax is an online fax service that allows you to receive, email, sign and send faxes from Google Drive. Since this is a fairly new partnering in the last 6 months, you get 20 free fax pages per month and unlimited signatures, as long as you have a Google account.

10) DOCUSIGN

In 2012, Google Ventures joined forces with DocuSign, a free electronic signature app that allows you sign and send a document right from your cell phone.

docusign

11) GOOGLE SCHEMER

Google Schemer is an app that allows you to find and share things to do. It’s great for anyone who is new to a city, such as a new member of your nonprofit organization. Volunteer-based nonprofits could create a “Scheme” of an upcoming event in order to recruit local volunteers. 

Google Schemer

12) GOOGLE ADSENSE

Make money by allowing engaging, relevant ads to be displayed on your website, mobile site, site search or videos.

I am always reluctant to take any focus off of your website. But, depending on your organization and its partners, members and programs, using Google AdSense to host ads may be beneficial. We’ll let you decide.

13) GOOGLE SITE SEARCH

Google is a powerful search engine, and this helpful tip makes it even more effective.

You can restrict your search to a specific website’s content. In the Google search box, type your search term. Then, type the term "site" followed by a colon. (For example, consulting site:www.accrisoft.com) Test it with your own website and see what the results return!

Google site search 

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WANT TO LEARN MORE?

I hope today’s blog post opened your eyes to the many valuable aspects of Google. If you would like to learn more about how you could utilize some of these tools to enhance your nonprofit’s marketing strategy, send me a quick email. I would love to chat.

Up next: My Favorite Things about Website Development

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