If there’s a holy grail to making money with a website, this is it. Google has a powerful tool for website owners and publishers called AdSense. It may beat other website fundraising ideas if for no other reason than its simplicity.

In a nutshell…

When you do a search on Google, you’ll notice that, for most searches, a column of ads appear on the right side of your screen. Companies from around the world pay Google to have their information and links there.

The ads are “context sensitive”, which means that if you search for the term “fundraising ideas”, for example, you’ll notice the ads that appear on your search page will be from companies that sell information or products related to fundraising.

The ads that appear on Google are listed there on a keyword bid basis. The higher the bid, the higher on the page the ad will appear. So, popular keywords will cost more than words that aren’t searched for very often.

Every time someone clicks on one of these ads, Google collects the bid amount from the advertiser. These bids range from a minimum of five cents, to several dollars per click.

When ads like this are inserted on a page on someone’s website, as the name implies, Adsense “senses” what the page is about and shows ads that are appropriate to the content of the page it’s on.

What does all that have to do with a fundraising website?

If you have a website, Google – upon approval – will let you put their ads on your site and…

Here’s the best part…

They’ll share the revenue with you. Every time someone clicks on a Google ad on your site, you get a portion of what Google gets. Pretty cool, huh?

Now, you may be thinking, “Hmm. I’ll just create a site and have all my group members click on those ads all day.” Bzzzt. Wrong.

It won’t work. In the interest of fairness to their advertisers, Google monitors suspicious activity like multiple clicks. If they even THINK that you’re cheating, they’ll simply cancel your account without notice and that revenue stream will be gone for good. So it’s not worth it. Play fair and your site will make money.

How do I know which ads will appear on my site?

Google reads the page where you place the AdSense box and displays ads relevant to the content of that page. For example, if your page is about your soccer team and soccer information,

your ads will be related to soccer (soccer equipment, soccer books, soccer videos, soccer camps, etc.).

How much can my fundraising site make?

As part of their AdSense agreement, Google does not permit members to discuss earnings, so the best I can say is…they’re generous. I can say that owners of some sites have mentioned earnings in the thousands of dollars per month.

Typically, the more traffic (visitors) your site has, the more you will make. No surprise there.

What do the ads look like?

You can customize the ads in shape, size and color to fit the look of your site, so you can experiment to determine what works best for you.

Google strictly prohibits “drawing any undue attention to the ads”, so you can’t direct visitors to the ads on your site. This helps prevent overcharging their advertisers.


  • Free money.

Potential pitfalls:

  • You have to determine if sending your visitors away – maybe to a competitor’s site – is worth it. They may not come back.

Next: How and where to start your fundraising website

Or jump to another page in the series:

  1. Wholesale products drop-shipped to your customers.
  2. Fundraising with affiliate programs.
  3. Turbo-charging sales of traditional fundraising products.
  4. Google Adsense – one of the coolest ideas ever.
  5. Where’s the best place to start?