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Blog > How Not for Profits Get Found on Google for Free: Google My Business

How Not for Profits Get Found on Google for Free: Google My Business

posted on Mar 10, 2020

by David Bird & Maria Lahiffe

Faculty_of_Instructors/Birds-Eye-Marketing-LI-company-logo-300sq.jpgThis post was co-written by David Bird, a Marketing Consultant and owner of Birds Eye Marketing, which provides marketing services for a number of clients in the Ottawa area, particularly in Google AdWords and Google Analytics.


You need an online presence. Given that 88% of Canadians are online [1], and 90% of searches are on Google [2], you need to maximize your presence there.

Google My Business is a free* service from Google which provides information about local businesses and service providers, right in the search engine itself. If you enter information about your organization and keep it up to date, then this will help you bubble up to the top of people’s searches.

If you set yourself up on Google My Business (GMB), then you have a chance to appear at the top of search results, even taking more attention than paid Google Ads. Here are some examples:


Your GMB presence can include pictures, which will draw people’s eyes, as well as at-a-glance information about your organization, like a description of what you do, your address, a map to your site, hours of operation, and admission prices (if applicable). Mobile users can click a button to call you directly. Your free listing may even be more attention-getting than paid advertising.


Let’s look at how to set up your GMB account.

1.      Set up a Gmail address for your organization

I cannot stress this enough: the Gmail address needs to belong to your organization, not an individual. This address needs to be accessible after the individual leaves your organization. It is free to set up a Gmail account, and you don’t need to use it for any public-facing communication if you don’t want to.

Our recommendation is to create a general gmail address for your organization, e.g. and a password which can be shared with everyone who needs to access the account.

Log in to this account.

2.      Navigate to

Once you’re there, click Manage Now.

3.      Enter in your organization name

Google will try to autocomplete with other businesses which have similar names. This will help you avoid creating a duplicate listing by mistake. Alternately, this will allow you to create a new GMB profile if you have opened a new location.


4.      Choose a category

If your organization does a number of things, pick the category which is closest to your core mission.


5.      Enter in your physical location

Some organizations do not want their address to be shown. During the sign up, Google will ask; ‘Do you deliver products or services from this location?’ If you answer ‘yes’ your address will be displayed, if you answer ‘no’ your address will not show.

Regardless if you want your address to show or not, you must enter a physical address because Google will mail a verification post card to that address. There will be a code on that post card that you enter to your Google My Business account and then your business is ‘verified’ and will be shown. If you do not verify the business with the code on the post card, you will not show on Google My Business.

Consider the example of a woman’s shelter where they want clients to find them on Google and phone, email or go to their website for assistance, but they do not want their address to show.

Google My Business Set up Summary Steps

  1. Be sure to have a free or paid Gmail account (organization
  2. Go to
  3. Click ‘Sign up’
  4. Enter the information on the form, (Use your Gmail address)
  • Use a physical address where you receive Canada Post mail, not a P.O box. Google will not verify a P.O box.
  • The question: ‘Do you deliver products or services from this location?’ Answer ‘yes’ if you want people to come to your location – they will show your address. Answer ‘no’ if you do not want people to come to your location or know your physical address – your address will not show.
  1. Upon completing the form, Google will inform you that a post card is being mailed to your physical address.
  2. When you receive the post card, log into your Google My Business account and enter the verification code on the post card.

What Next?

To learn more about how to get yourself found online, come to an upcoming course

Click here to register Thursday, May 7, 2020. 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Volunteer Ottawa offers a comprehensive suite of courses related to all aspects of running a non-profit or a charity. Click here for our event calendar. Subscribe to our Event RSS Feed to be among the first to know when a new workshop is added to the schedule.

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Related blog posts:

*for now, at least

[1] Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), "Communications Monitoring Report 2018," Government of Canada, 29 July 2019. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 28 November 2019]. [2] J. Clement, "Global Market Share of Search Engines 2010-2019," Statistica, 9 September 2019. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 28 November 2019].
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