Remarketing Strategies for Nonprofits

One thing I try to emphasize to nonprofits who are just starting to use Google Grants is that most people who visit your website are visiting it for the first time. These people are coming to your website because they did a search that was relevant to your organization, then clicked on the advertisement to land on your site. They may have never heard of you before and will be coming in with a very different attitude than those who have your website bookmarked and visit it regularly.

However, just because they are visiting your website for the first time through Google Grants doesn’t mean it has to be the last time. I encourage nonprofits to use the following remarketing tactics. I’d like to note that I’m painting with broad strokes in describing these tools, since a step-by-step explanation of implementing these would be very long and take us deep into the weeds.

Email Newsletter

Though many digital marketers consider email marketing its own thing and remarketing to only be advertisements that show on websites and social media based on a person’s web activity, I’m including it here anyway. Getting people to sign up for your newsletter is a great way to continue providing someone who visits your website with more information.

Despite all the digital marketing tools that are always popping up, being able to put information in someone’s inbox is a very efficient way to market. Even though email newsletters only get opened roughly 25% of the time, an email marketing program isn’t very expensive and you don’t have to worry about bidding against other organizations for the ad space.

And getting the name and associated email through a newsletter signup puts you in a position to do more research on the person and create other targeted marketing campaigns. When you remarket with Google or Facebook tracking codes, the person’s identity is hidden out of privacy concerns.

If you want to take things a step further, you can add something call a “lead magnet” in marketing jargon. Essentially, you will reward people for signing up by offering them a discount code, pdf download of valuable information, lottery entry, or any other nice perk you and your team can think of.

Google Display Ads

Google Grants only allows nonprofits to use the in-kind donation for search ads. However, nonprofits are allowed to have a paid AdWords account in addition to their Google Grants account. This gives nonprofits greater flexibility, particularly in their ability to show a rectangular visual advertisement on other websites. This can be done not only by setting demographic information for who you want to target, but also by remarketing to the people who visited your website originally by clicking on a search ad that you showed using your Google Grants account.

This display ad remarketing is most frequently done by placing a cookie on your visitor’s browser. Further, you can use features in Google Analytics to break down the user behavior into different remarketing lists. The most common example of this is remarketing a product to someone who added an item to their online shopping cart but didn’t complete the transaction.

Facebook Advertisements

With the information you have from newsletter signups, you can create a list of Facebook users who you want to remarket to. You can also create lists for Facebook ads by making selections concerning demographic data. For example, you can set your ads to show to people with a certain occupation within a set geographic radius of your organization.

When you set up these Facebook advertisements, I strongly encourage you to also set up Facebook Pixels on your website. Much like Google Analytics, Facebook Pixels tracks the actions that a user takes on your website. This puts you in a good position to remarket to those who came to your website based on the actions they’ve already taken.

Constant Brand Awareness

So you sent a person to your website for free with Google Grants, got her to sign up for your newsletter, sent her a newsletter, tracked her actions with Google Analytics after she clicked on a link in the newsletter, showed her an ad on a different website she was visiting with a Google display ad, showed her an ad on her Facebook feed, tracked her behavior after she clicked the Facebook ad with a Facebook Pixel, and sent her another Facebook ad specifically designed to take into account the action she most recently took on your website. And I haven’t even explored Linkedin, Instagram, or the litany of other social media platforms that give you the tools to make highly-targeted advertisements. Now you know why it seems that the almighty internet magically knows that you’re interested in buying a treadmill.


As you may have gathered by now, the more remarketing you do, the higher your cost. However, I argue that this highly-targeted marketing is a better alternative to other types of advertisements because you are reaching people you know something about and who have already expressed interest in your organization.

At a minimum, I would encourage you to either start or bolster your email marketing efforts. Compared to other remarketing techniques, this one is cheaper and easier to learn. Additionally, it is one that puts you in a position to collect valuable visitor information. Having this information saved will put you in a great position to do more advanced remarketing if you are in the fortunate position to get an increased marketing budget in the future. Put another way, you will be more excited to start Facebook marketing if you have five years worth of visitor emails as you create your first targeted audience than you would be if you’re starting from scratch.

Michael Rasko is a nonprofit marketing consultant who specializes in Google Grants. If you work with or for a nonprofit who is interested in starting or improving a Google Grants account, contact him to learn more about a one-month, no-commitment free trial. Included in the free trial is application assistance for new accounts and re-activation assistance for accounts that have been suspended for policy violations.

You can contact him for this reason or any other reason by filling out the contact form below or calling (503) 558-6500. If you do call and get voicemail, remember to leave a detailed message to differentiate yourself from the many robocalls that publicly listed phone numbers receive.