Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Google 101

I attended an exciting presentation this morning put on by Google, Friends of CASA, and the NEW Center's npServ program. The lecture focused on the many benefits of various Google applications and services for nonprofit organizations. I'll go into some of the details in a later post, but there were two tools that I wanted to mention right away, just in case anyone reading this might have use of them.

The first is Google Checkout. This is a credit card processing service similar to PayPal. Right now, Google is running a promotion such that 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations pay no transaction fees. That's right. Every cent that someone donates through the nonprofit's website using Google Checkout goes directly to the NP. This deal runs through January 1, 2009. After that, the fees increase to 2% + $.20 per transaction. Unless you plan on doing more than $100,000 per month in donations, this is cheaper than PayPal.

It might even be cheaper than getting a merchant account from a bank, setting up an online card-processing gateway (such as Authorize.net) and hiring a programmer to set up the whole thing on your website. It's certainly a lot easier.

The second tool is Google Adwords.

I'm not going to go into detail here about how the whole thing works -- suffice for now to say that it is the facility which places those "sponsored links" at the top and right side of search results in Google. Again, I'll cover the details in a later post. The cool thing here is that Google has a program called "Google Grants", which offers what is essentially free advertising to 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations.

As I understand, "free" is a price that most nonprofits can handle.

Both of these services have an application process, so you might want to check them out if you think you might be interested.

So, what might your nonprofit be able to do with these services?

Read Part 2 of this story.

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