In 2003, Google launched the Google Ad Grants Program to help charitable organizations extend their reach. Since then, the program has revolutionized nonprofit marketing, offering select nonprofits free AdWords spending. More than 115,000 nonprofits across 51 countries use the Google Ad Grant to drive their mission.
Despite the wide number of Google Ad Grant recipients, there are still some nonprofits that remain hesitant about this game-changing opportunity. If your nonprofit wants to grow, the Google Ad Grant is essential. It is a powerful, cost-effective tool that will increase your nonprofit’s visibility.
To avoid any confusion or frustration, we recommend reading this comprehensive guide and working with a consultant who can streamline the grant application process. This article will cover the following topics to help your nonprofit make the most of its grant:
- What is a Google Ad Grant?
- Google Ad Grant Eligibility
- Why Apply for the Grant?
- 4 Organizations Using the Google Ad Grant
- Working with a Google Grants Agency
Let’s dive into the basics of the Google Ad Grant, so you can get started with this beneficial program.
What is a Google Ad Grant?
The Google Ad Grant program awards eligible nonprofits with $10,000 a month to spend on paid search ads in Google. That’s a generous marketing budget, amounting to $329 per day. These ads allow your nonprofit to appear on Google when potential donors search for topics related to your mission. While regular Google Ad accounts have to pay per ad click, grant recipients can display their advertisements for free.
As a Google Ad Grant recipient, your paid search ads will appear at the top of the search engine results page (SERP). This means that your nonprofit will have a greater chance of reaching potential donors and increasing traffic to your website. Thus, the Google Ad Grant can expand your organization’s online presence at zero cost.
Of course, there are certain rules that Google Grant recipients must follow. Once accepted into the grant program, your nonprofit will have to:
- Choose highly specific keywords, abiding by the guidelines outlined by Google.
- Run multiple ad campaigns.
- Track the success of those campaigns using Google Analytics.
There is also a $2 cap on your maximum bidding amount meant to prevent inflation and earn your website more clicks.
As long as your organization meets and complies with the eligibility requirements, the $10,000 allotment renews monthly without a time constraint. Simply apply, maintain eligibility, and enjoy free ad spend indefinitely.
Google Ad Grant Eligibility
Before applying for the Google Ad Grant program, make certain that your organization is eligible. Google has strict eligibility requirements to ensure that only valid nonprofits receive free advertising.
To start, your organization cannot be a hospital, school, or government entity. The remaining requirements should be simple if your nonprofit already has an established web presence and a valid nonprofit status. To enroll in the Google Ad Grant program, your nonprofit simply needs to:
- Hold a current and valid charity status in the country where your organization is based. In the United States, you should be registered as a 501(c)(3) organization.
- Be registered with Google for Nonprofits and TechSoup.
- Have a functional website with a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).
- Agree to the terms of service.
If your nonprofit meets these requirements, you are automatically eligible for the monthly budget of $10,000 a month. But the work doesn’t stop there. After you apply for and receive your grant, your nonprofit must maintain an active Google Ads Accounts that is in good standing with Google’s standards. Consider the following guidelines for Google Ad Grant compliance:
- High-Quality Keywords: Keywords must have at least two or more words to increase relevancy. To disable single keywords, you can apply a keyword filter in your Google Ads Account. You should also avoid overly generic keywords that have a quality score of 1 or 2. Set up an automated rule to pause any low-quality keywords.
- 5% Minimum Click-Through Rate: Maintain a minimum 5% click-through (CTR) rate to prove that your keywords and ads perform well. If you fail to meet the 5% CTR for two consecutive months, your account will be at risk for deactivation. If your account has been temporarily deactivated, you can request reactivation.
- Geo-Targeting: Google requires that you target your ads to a specific geographic location. This ensures that your ads reach people in locations relevant to your organization.
- Conversion Tracking: Conversion tracking is a free tool that tracks what a searcher does after clicking on your ad. Install Google Analytics to track conversions and maintain a healthy Google Ads Account.
- Account Maintenance and Structure: Log into your account at least once a month and update it every 90 days. Each campaign must also contain at least two ad groups, which are a collection of keywords and ads. This proves to Google that you are an active Google Ads member.
Unlike traditional grants, which have a limited amount of funds, there is no limit on the number of nonprofits that can be approved for the Google Ad Grants program. That’s why your organization should apply if it meets the eligibility requirements. We’ll break down the benefits and application process in the next section.
Why Apply for the Grant?
The Google Ad Grant is a low-risk, high-reward venture that can greatly improve your digital marketing strategy. It drives traffic and attention to your website and, when managed correctly, it can convert traffic into valuable action for your organization.
If your nonprofit wants to thrive in the digital space, the Google Ad Grant is your greatest asset. After you apply for the grant and receive your first month of free ad spending, you can begin reaping the benefits. The Google Ad Grant will allow your nonprofit to:
- Reach a broader audience.
- Promote your mission on Google.
- Increase online conversions.
- Market multiple ad campaigns.
Getting accepted into the Google Ad Grant program is straightforward. Once you sign up for a Google for Nonprofits account and register with TechSoup, the rest of the application process should be quick and easy. To apply for the Google Ad Grant, simply:
- Create a Google AdWords account.
- Submit a pre-qualification survey and complete ad grant training.
- Submit required materials for pre-qualification review.
- Once approved for pre-qualification, set up your first Google Ads campaign.
- Submit your AdWords account for final review.
To learn more about applying for the Google Ad Grant, check out this guide from Getting Attention. Now, let’s look at some real-world examples of Google Ad Grants for nonprofits.
4 Organizations Using the Google Ad Grant
As previously mentioned, all nonprofits— other than healthcare, education, and government organizations— can apply for the Google Ad Grant. The program is highly profitable, resulting in free promotion for your online content. Nonprofits across the globe are using Google Ad Grants to bring exposure towards their cause.
If you’re still unsure about the Google Ad Grant, consider these success stories.
Days for Girls
Days for Girls strives for equal access to menstrual care and education for women across the world. To raise awareness for their cause, they created marketing goals that included raising funds and driving email subscriptions to cultivate donor relationships. The Google Ad Grants program greatly helped to accomplish these objectives.
In just two months, Google Ad Grants generated 24 online donations, resulting in more than $5,000. Google Ads also drove 10,000 visits to the website and more than 400 conversions. The Google Ad Grant brought awareness to the Days for Girls website and successfully generated new donors due to their targeted reach.
Global Giving is a charitable organization that supports other nonprofits by connecting them with donors and companies. Since 2002, they have provided tools, training, and support to community-led organizations around the world. Global Giving harnessed the power of Google Ad Grants to drive their mission forward.
Over the past two decades, the nonprofit has raised $615 million dollars and reached over 1.3 million donors. With just $10,000 worth of ad spend per month, Global Giving raised awareness, attracted donors, and recruited new volunteers.
Founded in 1953, Samaritans offers a free emotional support helpline to people considering taking their own lives. The service is available by phone, email, and face-to-face conversations in 201 branches located in the UK and Ireland. Samaritans’ primary marketing goal is to raise awareness for their helpline and ultimately reduce suicide rates.
Samaritans used the Google Ad Grant to track and increase conversions. As a result of their efforts, the grant drove over $48,000 or 10% of the nonprofit’s online donations and prompted 1,769 volunteer sign ups over the course of a year. Investing in Google Ads allowed Samaritans to extend their support to a much broader audience.
DonorsChoose.org is the leading platform for giving to public schools. Teachers across the United States use the website to request resources for their students in need, and donors give to the causes that inspire them. The organization’s marketing strategy uses Google Ad Grants to connect more donors and teachers to the platform.
DonorsChoose.org measured the strength of its messaging and calls to action through the Ad Grants program. After using the Google Ad Grant for a year, the website saw 305,000 site visits and $497,000 in donations. Since then, the organization has seen continued growth and improvement
Join these organizations and take full advantage of your grant by working with a Google Grants Agency.
Working with a Google Grants Agency
Whether you manage a Google Ad Grant in-house or outsource it to a Google Ad Grant certified professional, like Getting Attention, your return on investment will be positive and your marketing strategy will be strong.
Getting Attention is a fully certified ad grant agency available to guide your organization through the Google Ad Grant process. Their team of experts offers free consultations and resources to help your organization plan a successful campaign strategy.
Their services include:
- Google Grant Application: Their trusted experts will walk you through the application process to get you approved in no time.
- Account Hygiene: They will help you clean outdated or unnecessary data from your Google Ad Account so that you can focus on what matters.
- Google Grant Reactivation: Don’t fret if your account has lapsed or been suspended. They can help get it reactivated.
- Keyword Research: Their research team will target the most relevant and useful keywords to your campaigns.
- Google Grant Management: They will work with your nonprofit to track conversions and find opportunities for growth. The goal is to keep your marketing strategy fresh and productive.
In the meantime, explore these additional resources to continue your research on Google Ad Grants:
- Is the Google Ad Grant Right for Your Nonprofit? If you’re not convinced that the Google Ad Grant is right for you, read this article. It lays out the benefits and implications of the program.
- What Is A Google Ad Grant? The Ultimate Guide for NonprofitsWant to learn more about the Google Ad Grant? Follow this ultimate guide to learn how your nonprofit can benefit and prepare a strong digital marketing strategy.
- Is Your Nonprofit Eligible for Google Grants? How to Apply Google Grants is an amazing program nonprofits can use to boost their marketing and fundraising power. Learn all you need to know about Google Grants eligibility and the application process.
- Google Ad Grants for Nonprofits: Everything You Need to Know The Google Ad Grant program is an incredible opportunity for nonprofits of all sizes and causes. Learn how you can market your mission and make a difference.