Google AdWordsGoogle AnalyticsKeeping up with digital

Seven ways for small charities to get started with digital

It can be hard for charities to get into digital, especially if there aren’t many of you to share the load!

That’s why we’ve come up with a list of seven simple things you can do today to get started.

Make sure your website is good for users

If your website is up and running, take a quick look and make sure you’ve covered all the UX basics!

One of the biggest mistakes organisations make (even the big ones!) is setting up a website and then just leaving it, without checking that their audiences are actually finding it easy and helpful to navigate. Unfortunately, small errors or complexities can make a huge difference to the number of people who visit and take action on your site.

To combat this, make sure you’re checking the basics, such as making sure your content is well-structured and keyword-rich, giving every page a clear Call To Action, using high-quality images and making sure your website is adapted for both mobile and desktop users.

To find out more, check our top ten tips to improve UX.


Set up Google Analytics

This one’s easy! Make sure your website is being tracked correctly and effectively.

First, if you haven’t already, you need to create a Google Analytics account. This just involves going to the Google Analytics site and creating an account. Our advice is to use a generic work email address – if you use your personal work email account, things can get very difficult for your team if you leave!

When setting up the new account you’ll need to enter an Account Name and a Website Name, for these it’s generally ok to just use your charity name. For example we’d complete it like so:

Once you have filled these details in you will be given your Tracking ID snippet. In order to track users on your site you need to add this ID to your site. There are 2 methods depending on whether or not you have Google Tag Manager (GTM)  set up on your site:

  • If you have GTM set up on your site, then it’s very easy to implement the Google Analytics tracking pixel as there’s an in-built Tag for this.
  • If you don’t have GTM set up, then you will need a developer to add the Tracking ID snipper into the head section of every page on your website, directly after the opening <head> tag.

If you’re not sure whether you have GTM or not, you can check by viewing the page source of your site (hit CTRL+U) and searching for “Google Tag Manager”.

Once the code is on your site, you can check that this is working by viewing the Real-Time report in Google Analytics and confirming that traffic is being tracked.

If you’re having any problems with this, then drop us an email.

Set up Google Search Console

Setting up Search Console will enable you to see the queries that users type into Google to visit your website. You’ll be able to see where you’re ranking in Google for relevant queries, how many organic impressions and clicks you’re receiving, and which pages users are visiting most.

To set this up, just visit Google Search Console and log into Google (ideally with the same email address you’re using for Google Analytics).

You then need to click the red ‘Add a property’ button and type in your domain name. Remember to type in the https:// when adding the domain!


After this point, you’ll need to verify your account. If you’ve set up Google Analytics and you’re using the same email to log in, this should be very easy to do – just click ‘Verify using Google Analytics’ and this should work.

Otherwise, take a look at the alternative options available. If you don’t see any other option, it may be easiest to click the ‘HTML Tag’ option and ask your developers to place the provided meta tag into the header of your website. If you’re not sure what this means, they’ll definitely know what to do!

Extra tip: Once this is set up you should connect it to your Google Analytics account, as this will allow you to draw in keyword data from Search Console direct into your Google Analytics reports.  Click on the settings wheel in Search Console and you will see an option for ‘Google Analytics Property’. As long as you have admin access to both Search Console and Google Analytics you will see your Google Analytics account listed here – you just need to click that option and hit save.

If you’re having any problems with this, then drop us an email.

Get started on social

I’m sure you’re ahead of the game on this one, but if you haven’t already now might be a great time to create Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts.

It can be really tempting to dive into all of these platforms at once, but we would advise taking it slowly and making sure you’re comfortable with one social network before starting another. If you’re not sure which one to start with, maybe take a look at your closest competitors and see where they’ve got the most followers! This is also a great way to find new ideas for your own social content.

If you’re already set up on social, have a think about using some of the features offered by these platforms. For instance:

  • Facebook donations
  • Facebook groups and events
  • Paid advertising – on all 3 platforms
  • Twitter Chats. Depending on your area you may find that there are regular twitter chats which bring people together to discuss a specific topic e.g. #EthicalHour is a weekly Twitter chat all about ethical living. This gives you a chance to join relevant conversations and raise awareness.

It can also be helpful to use a management suite such as Hootsuite. This allows you to schedule your posts meaning that you can set up posts in advance which can be a big time saver.

For extra tips and support, you can also take a look at Facebook’s toolkit for nonprofits.

Set up Google AdWords

Advertising on Google is a great way to bring high-quality traffic to your website. And the good news is that Google offers all charities $10,000 every month on paid search advertising!

You can read all about the benefits of Google Grants and just follow our step-by-step guide on how to sign up. Once you have your Google AdWords account set up, you can then read about how to create your first campaign and how to build the perfect AdWords account structure.

We’re not going to lie to you – if you’ve never used Google AdWords before there’s a bit of learning required at this stage. But it’s important that you understand how to bid on keywords and set up adverts effectively in order to create a successful AdWords account.

This knowledge can also be incredibly valuable in other ways. Even if you decide to use an agency to manage your account, it’s important that you understand what they’re doing and why. So read up before you get started!

Extra tip: Make sure that you connect your AdWords account to your Google Analytics account, you can do this in the Admin area of Google Analytics. In the Property list you should see an option for ‘AdWords Linking’. As long as you have admin access to AdWords you should see your account listed here, you simply need to select that and connect it to all the Google Analytics views in which you’d like to see this data.

If you’re having any problems with this, then drop us an email.

Create some easy automated reports

Once you start getting the hang of Google Analytics, it’s a great idea to use Google Data Studio to build automated reporting dashboards.

You can now create as many reports as you want (for free!) and they’re pretty easy to create. This means you can create a different report for each of your channels, or create reports for different teams across the charity – whatever works best for you!

For those of you who are more advanced at analytics and want to dig a bit deeper, we would highly recommend using the Google Sheets Google Analytics Add On. This allows you to create super flexible, detailed and bespoke reporting in Sheets! If you’re interested, you can check out our Google Sheets guide and take a look at some of the templates we’ve created.

Understand your online audiences/persona mapping

It’s important to understand your users – and there are so many ways to find out more information about them. Just looking at the tools above, you can use Google Analytics to find out what website information users are most interested in, Google Search Console can tell you what search queries users type in, and Facebook and Twitter insights will show you which pages your users follow on social channels.

So once you’ve started getting into digital, don’t forget to take a step back and take a look at your audiences. Who are they? Where do they come from? How old are they? What gender are they? What are their hobbies? Where do they work? What information are they looking for? What motivates them to take action? Why are they interested in your content?

And once you’ve answered some of these questions, think about whether these users are your target audience. Is this who your organisation is really aiming to reach? And if not, where are the gaps?

From this it’s usually helpful to build two or three personas, just to make sure you have a full understanding of who you’re speaking to – and who you’re hoping to speak to in the future!


This isn’t an exhaustive list, but hopefully it’s given you some focus on where to get started. Although you might not have the capability to manage all of these now, it’s a good idea to get everything set up and have an idea of where to start when you do have the time.

If you’ve got any questions about any of these tips then please drop us an email.