Non-Profits and Online Advertising

online ad
IMG: via Shutterstock

Like any business, non-profits have to make money to survive. It’s what they do with that money that determines whether they are for-profit or not. The amount of online resources, shopping, and searching has skyrocketed in the past decade, and so have the ads on many sites.

Businesses like Target, Best Buy, Amazon, and many more don’t just sell products on their websites—they also host ads for other companies, organizations, blogs, and products. By doing so, they have the chance to make a small amount of additional money based on ad clicks.

Non-profits can do the same, though not many do. Some have concerns over whether placing ads on a non-profit would deter from the organization’s purpose or even pull people away from their site to somewhere else. It’s also possible that the ads placed on a non-profit’s website could endorse for a for-profit business that doesn’t uphold the non-profit’s ideals.

Clearly, though, ads do bring in some revenue or companies wouldn’t use them so frequently. When considering whether or not to use ads, it’s essential to carefully review and choose which to include. Some organizations, like NYCHA, have strict regulations on their ads to ensure that they are non-discriminatory and a fair representation of their housing.

Non-profits have a few options when it comes to putting ads on their sites and blogs. They can hire an ad service, which would manage all ads and place them on your site based on your content and keywords. However, they usually claim a significant portion of the revenue gained. Non-profits can also self-manage ads, selling the space based on how many times it gets viewed or clicked. They keep all revenue, but have to put the time and resources into managing the ads system. Lastly, non-profits may choose to advertise for sponsors who support the site and organization. It feels less commercial and may be the safest way for non-profits to go.

Each non-profit is different, though. Some may feel comfortable putting ads up, and some might not. There is a long list of things to consider when deciding whether advertising is the way to go or not, and many non-profits decide the extra revenue just isn’t worth the risk.