For those non-profiteers out there looking to harness technology to spread the word about their organization, I would highly recommend playing around with Google AdWords. The Cottonwood Institute has been test driving the program since early January 2006 and I have to say that we have been pleasantly pleased. To check out how it works, go to Google and type in Cottonwood Institute as your keyword search. Our AdWords ad "Teens Change the World" appears on the right column of your browser.
I really like Google AdWords because it is a way for a small, grassroots non-profit like the Cottonwood Institute to compete with larger, more established organizations in our field like Outward Bound and the National Outdoor Leadership School. I also like the program because we get to determine out budget and only pay when a student, parent, or interested donor clicks on our ad. We set the maximum we are willing to pay per month and if we exceed that limit, Google will automatically pull our ad. We get to enter as many keywords as we want that pertain to our organization so the people who click on our ad are highly qualified leads.
Question: If you are currently using Google AdWords to drive traffic to your website, what tips, best practices and advice would you give to someone interested in test driving this marketing tactic?