As a PPC manager, it isn’t often you get to be 100% PPC hero, but I recently had an all-hero experience as a volunteer optimizing a Google Grants AdWords campaign.

As PPC pros know, a campaign is never finished, and that’s a big challenge for your average resource strapped non-profit. Even if they can somehow lasso the know-how to set up a campaign, they rarely have time for ongoing optimization. As a result they only end up spending a small fraction of their grant. A Google Grant is a terrible thing to waste. Just think what a $10K a month in AdWords love could do for your favorite cause.

The Wren’s Nest, a literary museum in Atlanta, Georgia devoted to preserving the legacy of author Joel Chandler Harris of Uncle Remus fame, was in just that situation. They were chugging along spending about six or seven hundred Google bucks a month and getting about 30 visitors to their site.

I helped them more than double their spend, and their CTR, using some basic best practices. You know, things like organizing their keywords into themed adgroups, using keywords in the copy, and relevant URLs. In comparison to the daily grind of poring over reports and trying to wring ever more out of mature campaigns, this was fun, like fishing with dynamite.

The other thing that made it really fun: total creative control and a virtually unlimited budget. The Wren’s Nest was so happy to get help with their campaign that I didn’t have to do a whole lot of hand holding or selling them on my ideas. I was free to try anything I thought would work, without worrying about hurting my client’s bottom line. How often does that happen managing a for-profit campaign?

I found the Wren’s Nest through Media Cause, a non-profit founded by ex-Googler Eric Facas to connect non-profits with search marketing and social media professionals who want to donate their time and skills, and maybe learn a thing or two in the process. This is a great way to have some good, clean PPC fun, broaden your skills, test your ideas, and add to your resume. And since you’ll be helping a good cause, you’ll not only be a PPC hero but a real hero at the same time.

Lynn Bruno is an independent marketing strategist, AdWords certified professional and do-gooder in Cupertino, CA. She can be found at