sorin vlaicu

A Volunteer’s Perspective: Taking AdWords Global

We are constantly amazed here at Media Cause by the incredibly talented pool of volunteers that generously donate their time and skills to our community of nonprofits. Sorin Vlaicu, who is AdWords Certified, is one of those community members.

Sorin is currently based in Uganda, doing volunteer work on the field to see the other side of promoting NGOs. Since signing up to volunteer with Media Cause in spring of 2011, Sorin has successfully completed challenges for over 8 nonprofits, helping them make the most of their Google grants. We have asked Sorin to share a few of his experiences and insights about volunteering with Media Cause to show what our community is all about and inspire others to join in!

How did you find out about Media Cause and why were you interested in volunteering?

I love being connected to the online industry world (mainly Google AdWords, actively reading blogs, searching for resources, and joining different online groups on LinkedIn. Media Cause founder Eric Facas posted a message in one of the groups I belong to on LinkedIn – an AdWords account of an NGO needed optimization. I contacted him, registered with, and began applying to different Google AdWords projects available in the platform that needed support in optimizing their accounts.

Experience was the first reason I became interested in joining Media Cause. I already had 3 years of experience in optimizing AdWords accounts, but needed bigger accounts and more experience. Volunteering was a real opportunity for me to develop other skills along with gaining access to other industries rather than the usual ones (travel, it &c, bank system etc). The NGO industry can be very competitive and if you succeed in driving results in that sector, you are an excellent specialist.

My second reason was helping NGOs first gain awareness of their cause, then taking it to the next stage in optimizing and targeting keywords for donations. Thirdly, I was interested in building an online portfolio. On a national stage, I already had an image and clients and was looking for the next step to go international. With so many good experts emerging in the field, this was a unique opportunity for me to expand worldwide.

Can you tell us about some of the AdWords challenges you have worked on?

My passion lies with NGOs that are helping people; the ones in need are the most vulnerable to all the changes (climate, economic) and we must help them first. Animals and other causes must come second. A real challenge for me in the beginning was to make the accounts functional; they were in very bad “shape”, had very low quality scores, and the traffic overall was very poor. I managed to raise the limit for all 5 Google grants accounts from $10,000 to $40,000 a month in less then 3 months.

Google grants accounts are different and limited at the same time. You cannot bid more than $1*, you cannot go on the display network and the competition is huge on many keywords. So you have to be very creative in creating the ads, looking for long tail keywords and so forth.

* Sorin contributed this blog post prior to Google’s bid increase announcement. Read more about that here: Google Grants Maximum CPC Moving from $1 to $2.

What is your most memorable Media Cause moment?

The joy in waking up every morning and checking the overall conversation rate for the accounts I manage, knowing that one conversion may mean helping or feeding 10 people! Another memorable moment was the kind words written by the Tiba Foundation in their blog post Volunteering Behind the Scenes.

What advice would you give others about volunteering with Media Cause?

It’s a great place to start a career in the online field. Experience means everything and Media Cause provides the opportunity to gain more while helping others. Don’t waste your time, join Media Cause, it’s worth it!

What tip(s) would you give to nonprofits looking to make the most out of their online marketing strategy?

Go professional. If you want to have results, seek out an online specialist, whether paid or pro-bono, in any field of marketing online: webpage creation, email marketing, SEO, Google AdWords, and so forth. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s important to understand how things are functioning in SEO or Adwords, even at the very basic level.


To find out more about Sorin Vlaicu, check out his Media Cause profile, look for him on LinkedIn, or follow his African Volunteering Adventures on


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