While going the nonprofit route for a music ensemble is not the only way to operate, it is certainly the most popular. In a recent survey we conducted at New Music USA, the overwhelming majority of new music ensembles in New York state were either a nonprofit or planned to apply for nonprofit status soon.
The reason many ensembles choose to become nonprofits can be narrowed down to these two main points: nonprofit ensembles are tax exempt and have greater funding opportunities available to them. However, there are additional benefits that few nonprofit music ensembles are taking advantage of, perhaps the most common being Google for Nonprofits.
Most nonprofit ensembles I have talked to have never heard of Google for Nonprofits, and I don’t blame them; Google does not do a great job of promoting the service. However, applying is incredibly easy and the benefits are definitely worth it.
What are the perks of Google for Nonprofits?
Once you are approved for Google for Nonprofits, you have the option of enrolling in the following exclusive products:
- Google Apps for Nonprofits
- Google Ad Grants
- One Today
- Google Earth Pro
- Maps API for Business
- YouTube Nonprofit Program
You can learn more about these services by clicking on the hyperlink for each, but I’m going to dedicate the rest of this article to the three most beneficial services for nonprofit music ensembles: Google Apps for Nonprofits, Google Ad Grants, and the YouTube Nonprofit Program.
Google Apps for Nonprofits
With Google Apps for Nonprofits, Google wants to make life easier for the people running your ensemble. Google allows you to create accounts for your team using whichever email you want (for example, your firstname.lastname@example.org email address). Once your team is setup, you have up to 30 GB of storage each across Gmail and Google Drive, which means you can upload and share tons of documents and media that are accessible to all members of your team at all times.
Google Apps makes collaboration easier, and having all the documents related to your ensemble in one place and connected to your ensemble email address certainly helps make achieving the work-life balance you desperately crave that much easier.
Google Ad Grants
Google Ad Grants is my favorite tool Google makes available to nonprofits. Basically, Google will give you $10,000 in in-kind AdWords advertising each month. Yes, you read that correctly. The only catch is that you must apply for the program (a thankfully easy process), the ads much be mission-based, and the ads can only be used for certain text ads on search with a fixed bid limit.
To be fair, the fixed bid limit is a bit low compared to what your competitors are likely using. This means that in order for your ads to be competitive against other ads competing for the same search terms, the quality of your ads must be high (see the Google AdWords Quality Score video below). But that’s a good thing! Google is forcing you to focus on the quality of your ads, which means that your campaigns will likely be more successful than if quality were low.
AdWords can also be plugged into Google Analytics, so you can track the traffic to your site from the ads you run. You can insert another variable into the equation by setting up conversion tracking, which allows you to find out how many folks who clicked on your ad are doing things like signing up for your newsletter or buying tickets. While you have to initially define the conversions you want to track, tracking them through Google Analytics and AdWords will help you evaluate and respond to the success (or lack thereof ) of your ad campaigns.
Learning how to correctly utilize AdWords to its potential will benefit your ensemble and its marketing campaigns in the long run. And plus, once you are a super AdWords user you are eligible for an additional $30,000 in in-kind advertising per month.
YouTube Nonprofit Program
First off, if your ensemble is not uploading videos to YouTube, it should be. Doing so not only serves as an archiving tool for your ensemble, but it also makes your ensemble more searchable on the web. The videos are also shareable, marketable, and can be used as work samples for organizations accepting online submissions (like New Music USA!).
The YouTube Nonprofit Program essentially adds some additional perks to your YouTube channel. You can live-stream events, add a donate button to your channel, create call-to-action overlays on your videos, and can gain access to produce videos in YouTube’s creator studios in New York and Los Angeles. While you need a few thousand subscribers to be eligible for video production in the creator studios, the other benefits of the YouTube Nonprofit program can help promote your organization and reach a broader audience on YouTube. And once you’re eligible for recording at the creator studios, why wouldn’t you want to make some high-quality videos of your ensemble performing some kick-ass new music?
What are you waiting for?
Google for Nonprofits is an incredible and free tool you should be taking advantage of. Every second you stay here reading this post (which is already too long) is another second you aren’t enrolled in Google for Nonprofits. Sign up now, and begin taking advantage of Google for Nonprofits today!