Saturday, December 20, 2014


James Hopkins, a Church Community Services food pantry client, bags his food items after browsing the CCS food pantry on July 6, 2011. CCS just received a grant to advertise on Google. (Truth Photo By Elizabeth Frantz, File) (AP)

Lourdes Hernandez and her daughters Jackie and Yanely Omana shop for groceries in the Church Community Services pantry in 2011. CCS just received a grant to advertise on Google. (Truth Photo By Delayna Earley, File) (AP)

First-day volunteer Don Cheesman of Elkhart counts the total points represented by the food items of a client at the Church Community Services food pantry on July 6, 2011. CCS just received a grant to advertise on Google. (Truth Photo By Elizabeth Frantz, File) (AP)
Grant funds allow CCS to advertise on Google for a year

Posted on Oct. 1, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on Oct. 1, 2013 at 5:04 p.m.

ELKHART — Most nonprofits don’t have the money to advertise at all, and certainly not on Google.

That’s changed for Church Community Services, a faith-based human services agency in Elkhart. CCS recently received a $120,000 grant from Google Ad Grants to advertise for a year on google.com.

Carol Willis, who handles communication and fundraising for CCS, said Tuesday, Oct. 1, that the exposure the organization will get from the year of Google ads is priceless.

“There is absolutely no way we would be able to purchase this kind of exposure,” Willis said.

She noted that the ads won’t be aimed at people who need CCS services. Instead, the ads will target people looking to donate to, or interested in volunteering at, a local organization.

“Even when people want to shop locally, they research online,” Willis explained. “We want to be present (online) when they are doing that, if people research their donations like they would research a purchase.”

She added, “We want to be easily found by people who are anticipating making a donation to a local organization, participating in a local event or purchasing an item that does some good.”

The ads will be all text and include a link to CCS’ website. Key words like “nonprofit,” “food pantry” or “empowerment program” will be used in the ad so that when a Google user searches for these terms, CCS information will come up.

A team of volunteers including CCS staff, local business people and CCS board members are working on the ads. This will be the organization’s first real foray into online marketing.

“It will be a learning experience — we will see what works and what doesn’t work,” Willis said. “This process is totally new to us.”

She added that the idea to pursue the grant came from Brandon Erlacher, publisher of The Elkhart Truth.

“I’m very thankful for (Erlacher’s) help,” Willis said. “We wouldn’t have applied for this if he didn’t let us know about it.”