Google Ad Grants: A Comprehensive Guide
The world of advertising and marketing has changed drastically in the last 30 years, and the need for non-profits to have strong digital marketing strategies is imperative. But oftentimes, extra funds for advertising just isn’t in the budget for non-profits with important missions and lean operating models.
Google Ad Grants are a way for nonprofits to capitalize on the deeply effective and powerful tool that is Google Ads, without major additional expenses.
The Google Ad is a strong basis for a powerful ad campaign, and for qualifying non-profits, it can come at little to no charge. Whether you are trying to build brand awareness, gain donor interest, recruit volunteers, or generate more revenue, the Google Ad Grant can help you achieve those goals.
This guide will help you learn the basis and apply for the Google Ad Grant so that you and your organization can get the most out of advertising for your important mission.
What is Google Ad Grant?
Google Ad Grant is a program operated by Google for Nonprofits that provides eligible nonprofits with up to $10,000 a month (with a daily limit of $329 USD) in Google Ad credit, with the option to buy more ads as your organization desires. You can use this money towards the targeted ads at the top of Google search results (see here, outlined in red). These grants are designed to generate website traffic and build organization awareness.
The Google Ad Grants site says this about its program:
“Through Ad Grants, Google provides nonprofits up to $10,000 USD per month of in-kind search advertising. These ads appear next to search results when people search for nonprofits like yours. Since 2003, we have awarded over $10 billion in free advertising to over 115,000 nonprofits across 51 countries.
Digital marketing can help nonprofits reach audiences at scale, with highly targeted, measurable solutions that deliver on goals nonprofits care about: awareness, donations, and volunteers.”
In order to get access to this amazing resource, you first must apply for Google for Nonprofits.
Google for Nonprofits
Google for Nonprofits allows qualifying organizations to use certain Google applications and tools to help further their missions. In addition to the Google Ad Grant, you can also use Google Workspace for Nonprofits, the YouTube Nonprofit Program, and Google Earth and Maps.
In order to get started, register your organization with TechSoup. We’ll cover that below. You will also need your organization’s EIN number, a physical address, and online contact information.
Double check that your organization is eligible (for Google for Nonprofits, and Google Ad Grants), using these guidelines from the Google website.
- Not a governmental entity or organization
- Not a hospital or healthcare organization
- Not a school, academic institution, or university (Google for Education offers a separate program for schools)
Also, make sure that you address the following requirements.
- Be registered as a charitable organization in one of the countries listed below. All organizations must be verified as a nonprofit organization by TechSoup or the local TechSoup partner
- Meet the requirements in its own country. Sometimes countries have additional eligibility requirements. Find your country in the list below to review the additional requirements.
- Agree to the Google for Nonprofits Terms.
How to apply
In order to apply for the Google Ad Grant, you will need your Google for Nonprofits info, and your registration with TechSoup. Follow these steps, and you will soon be accessing the $10,000 towards Google ad campaigns!
- Set up Google Analytics on your organization’s website.
- Register your nonprofit with TechSoup.
- Sign up for Google for Nonprofits.
- Get a code from TechSoup and add it to the sign-up page on Google for Nonprofits.
- Apply for the Google Ad Grant, using this application form.
Now that you’ve got $10,00 a month to spend on these Google ads, how are you going to get the most from your money?
These tips will keep your Google Ad Grant running smoothly and giving your the most mileage from your ad campaigns.
- As a general rule, the Google Ad Grant won’t allow you to compete with larger organizations making larger bids on keywords like “organization”, “nonprofit”, or “New York”. Read up on long-tail keywords and use SEO tools to create content that can drive these specific searches to your campaigns.
- Use as much of your $10,000 a month as possible. This money doesn’t roll over from month to month, so make sure you are diligent about using the grant money on a monthly basis.
- Keep an eye on your Quality Scores. Google will help you measure how effective your ads are.
- Geo-targeted ads are your friend! Sometimes it can be valuable to show a specific ad to one specific area, be it city, state, or zipcode. Just make sure you follow the Google guidelines for geo-targeting.
- Use a keyword planner to help you get specific. Strong keywords will grow your campaign and help you target the desired audience with your ads.
- If your account is connected to Google Analytics (and it should be!) this tool can help you track conversions, clickthroughs, and a ton of other useful metrics. Tracking the success of your campaigns can help you be more effective in the future.
Google Ad Grant Rules to Note
- You’ll need 2 ad groups per campaign, and 2 ads per ad group
- Each ad needs at least 2 sitelink ad extensions
- Use 15 or more keywords in each ad group
- Remove any keywords with a Quality Score of 2 or lower
- Only use branded keywords owned by your organization
- Single-word keywords are a violation of policy (except branded keywords, medical conditions, or other exceptions outlined by Google)
- You must send ads to the domain registered for the Ad Grant
- Lapsed accounts may be deactivated, so make sure you are active every month
Now that you know the basics of Google Ad Grants, you can start campaigning to help grow your organization!