Five steps to plan a successful PPC campaign

A quick guide to planning successful charity PPC campaigns.

Paul Rubens | 4th Dec 19
PPC How to plan a campaign

A Pay per click (PPC) campaign could be hugely beneficial to your charity because it presents a very cost-effective way to drive potential supporters to your website. A good PPC campaign can boost your digital fundraising efforts, increase volunteer registrations, and lead to a greater uptake of your organisation’s services.

About 40% of charities currently use PPC campaigns, according to a Salesforce report. For example, Elder Wisdom Circle, a charity which pairs advice seekers with senior citizens, uses PPC. It now accounts for 65% of advice-seekers who get in touch, 71% of overall website traffic, and 15% of online donations and volunteer registrations.


How does PPC work?

PPC campaigns are usually based on the Google Ads service, and present your digital advertisements in Google search results when someone enters specific keywords. Each time someone clicks on your ad – which leads to a “landing page” on your charity’s website – your charity pays a fee of a few pounds or pence, depending on how much you have “bid” for that keyword.

Getting a successful PPC campaign up and running is quite straightforward if you follow these five steps:


  1. Establish your goal

The key to a successful PPC campaign is knowing exactly what you are trying to achieve. Do you want to raise awareness in your charity’s mission? Are you promoting digital fundraising for a specific project or to increase your repeat donors? Or are you looking to boost your volunteer numbers? Having a clear understanding of your goal will ensure that other parts of the PPC campaign, such as the keywords you bid for and the landing page you choose, work effectively for you.


  1. Choose the right keywords

This is critical to the success of a PPC campaign because it is these that determine who will see your advertisements and potentially click through to visit your website landing page.

The choice is made more difficult by the fact that popular keywords are more expensive than others.

Tip:  There are many online tools such as Google Ads Keyword Planner which can suggest keywords and alternatives to more pricey ones.

Tip: Identify negative keywords which will lead to your ads being shown to people who are unlikely to be interested in your charity. For example, the keyword “house” could be a negative keyword for a housing charity because it could be used by people searching for house music.


  1. Decide on how much to bid for a keyword

Let’s imagine that your goal is to drive donations and that 1% of the people who visit your landing page make a donation to your charity. That means your conversion rate is 1%.

The cost per donation is the cost per click – the maximum amount you have bid for a keyword – divided by your conversion rate. So if you bid £1 for a keyword, and 1% of the people who click on the ad end up making a donation, then it will cost you £100 on average for each donation.

If your average donation is £200 then this makes good financial sense even if some of the donation goes straight to Google, but if your average donation is £10 then you need to bid less for your keywords to reduce your cost per click.

Tip: Aim to reduce your maximum bid to the minimum level where your ads still appear with sufficient frequency

Tip: You can afford to bid more for keywords if you can increase your conversion rate by displaying more enticing but relevant ads or by using a more effective landing page


  1. Get a Google Non-Profit Grant

Google offers charities grants of up to $10,000 (about £7700) per month to spend on keyword clicks. There are some conditions and restrictions, but if your charity qualifies this can be extremely valuable.

Tip: Full information about Google Ad Grants, eligibility, and how to apply for one is available here


  1. Experiment with everything

An important way to ensure that your PPC campaign is as successful as possible is to keep monitoring and testing everything.  That means it’s important to keep trying different keywords, ads, and landing pages to weed out the less effective ones and replace them with better ones.

Tip: Simply changing a few words in an ad or landing page can sometimes make a significant difference to its effectiveness

Tip: Be sure your landing page contains a clear call to action such as “Donate now” or “Volunteer today” to help you meet your goals