Charity marketers – this is how to deal with bad Google reviews


Before choosing to support your cause, donors will conduct research – to determine your authenticity and review others experiences of your charity. The more five-star reviews the better. After all, social proof is a powerful marketing tool. But what if you get a batch of bad Google Reviews?


  • Mistakes will happen despite your best efforts
  • Anyone can post negative feedback online
  • People tend to post reviews when they:
    • Receive first-class service
    • Had a poor brand experience

In this short guide, we’ll explain why Google reviews are good for business and why deleting negative feedback is a bad idea.

How to handle customer feedback

How do you set up Google Reviews?

Step one is to set up a Google Business Profile listing using your account. Don’t worry, it won’t take long.

All you have to do is add…

  • Your charity’s name
  • Locations you cover
  • Type of organisation
  • Contact details

For security reasons, Google will verify your account via post. So, access won’t be granted immediately.

How do you get great Google Reviews?

We can’t guarantee all reviews will be great. However, once your profile is active, you’ll be able to send a review link to donors, volunteers, and other third-party organisations you work with.

This approach minimises the risk of bad Google reviews because you’re curating your audience – sending links only to those who are likely to respond positively.

  • If you want more reviews why not share your Google Reviews link via email and social channels.
  • Are you feeling brave? Then publish the link on your home page to attract even more feedback.

How to get customer feedback

How do you delete a bad Google Review?

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you can’t delete a bad Google Review. Instead, click the three dots in the corner above the review. Next, click ‘flag as inappropriate.’

You’ll now need to fill out a form outlining why the review should be deleted. However, there’s no guarantee Google will comply with your request and even then, it could take 60 days.

Google will only delete a review if…

  • If it constitutes harassment, hate speech, or private information
  • Fake, misleading, or deceptive content 
  • Content violent or sexual in nature
  • Dangerous or illegal content
  • Advertising or total nonsense

Bad (but genuine) Google reviews, therefore, won’t be removed. Which means you’ll need to respond appropriately.

How do I respond to a negative Google review?

Believe it or not, negative reviews build trust. Think about it. Would you buy from a car dealership boasting a five-star rating across 3,000 or so reviews? Probably not. Even big brands like Virgin Atlantic struggle to get numbers like that as their TrustPilot profile attests.

Here’s the thing. Your donors, volunteers, and investors won’t be expecting perfection. They understand things go wrong. All they ask is you resolve the issue quickly.

Responding to – rather than deleting – bad Google reviews is an opportunity to….

  1. Build trust – show you value your customers’ concerns and want to surpass their expectations
  2. Develop stronger relationships – although responding publicly your conversation’s still 1:1
  3. Learn from your mistakes – bad feedback presents an opportunity to learn and improve 
  4. Retain customers – don’t let them slip through the net; regain their trust and rebuild the relationship


Whether you’re responding to bad Google reviews or negative feedback on Trustpilot,, or any other platform the same rules apply. Make replying to customer comments a habit so ingrained it becomes part of your charity’s DNA.

Meanwhile, use feedback platforms to report fake content and ensure its removed. While waiting for a review to be taken down reply publicly, stating that (a) you believe the content to be fake; and (b) have reported it.

Need a helping hand?

Not enough time in the day to run your charity and embrace the challenges of digital marketing? Then contact us for an informal chat over a coffee. Got a spare moment? Then check out the great work we’ve been doing for Heart UK and The Turing Trust.

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