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Beginner’s Guide to Google Ad Grants

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The Beginner's Guide to Google Ad Grants

Think "marketing" is a dirty word? (Steve Jobs would actually agree with you.)

Most of us loathe advertisements.

In the modern era of streaming video and marathoning TV shows on demand, some argue that the decline of commercials may spell the death of traditional cable. Blinking banner ads may have garnered clicks in the early days of the web, but these days most web surfers are completely blind to banner ads. But just as quickly as consumers start ignoring one form of advertising, another form will appear, trying to trick us into paying attention to their products.

Unfortunately, marketing is a necessary evil for organizations who want to stay in business. You could have the best product in the world, but it won't matter one bit if no one's heard of you.

That goes for not only for-profit companies, but non-profit organizations as well. In order to subsist and grow, nonprofits need to reach interested donors and convince them they're the right charity to entrust their money with in order to make the world a better place.

And no nonprofit would exist for long if the people they were trying to help didn't even know they existed. A homeless shelter, for example, would be worthless if none of the local homeless population knew it was there.

But nonprofits often lack the resources to get word out about their organization.

Thankfully, there are grants available to help close the resource gap and help nonprofits spread the word about their important work and gain donors to help them grow.

One of those organizations is Google. Google offers a program called Google Ad Grants, which gives qualifying nonprofits free credits to use on Google Adwords. That way, anyone searching on Google for your services will easily be connected to your website, where they can learn all about what your organization has to offer.

Want to get started advertising your nonprofit? Follow the guide below!


The Beginner's Guide to Google Ad Grants

With more people spending time on the internet, often the best way for people to hear about organizations and programs is through online advertising. Yet, ads are expensive for nonprofits… unless you tap into helpful programs like Google Ad Grants.

Google's Helping Hand

  • Google Ad Grants is the nonprofit arm of Google AdWords.
  • Funds nonprofit organizations with $10k of AdWords advertising per month.
  • Helps nonprofits:
    • Promote their mission as ads on search result pages
    • Advertise their events, fund-raisers and initiatives
    • Drive traffic to their website

Who is Eligible?

  • Eligible organizations must have current and valid charity status recognized by the country they are in.
    • For example, in the US, that means 501(c)(3) status with the IRS.
  • Organizations must:
    • Agree to the certifications and applications in regard to nondiscrimination and donation receipt and use.
    • Maintain a working website with significant content
  • Those that are not eligible include: government organizations, medical organizations and hospitals, and academic organizations and schools.
    • Organizations that are philanthropic under an educational institution may be eligible.
  • Staying Eligible
    • Ad Grants ads can link to only one approved website URL.
    • AdWords accounts must be accessed and maintained monthly.
    • The ads and keywords must be relevant to the nonprofit.
    • To promote goods or services, 100% of sales must go towards the nonprofit programs.
    • Financial services ads are not allowed.
    • Ad Grants cannot be combined with Google AdSense ads or affiliate advertising links.

How Do You Apply?

  • If you meet the eligibility criteria, go to www.google.com/nonprofits and click "Join the Program" to get started.
  • You will have to certify your organization's nonprofit status and supply the employer ID number.
  • Then register for Google Ad Grants through "product enrollments," a selection of programs exclusive to nonprofits.
  • Success is most likely to be achieved if you can demonstrate a basic understanding of how Google Grants and Google AdWords work.
    • That's why they have you build your AdWords account as part of your application.
    • You'll need example keywords, text for sample ads, and an explanation of how Google Grants can support your organization's mission.
  • Most applicants should be notified within 4 months or less of whether they were accepted.
  • After you get approval, sign up for Google products and learn how to use them with tutorials.

Maximize Your Grant

  • With a monthly budget of $10,000, put that money to work and use it or lose it.
  • Keywords
    • With a Google Grant, you can set keywords that cost up to $2.00 per click.
    • Be creative to find keywords you can use.
      • Mention volunteer activities and donation opportunities.
        • "summer camp counselor"
        • "clothing donation pickup"
      • Add relevant location names to some keywords.
        • "ABC Ministries (city name)"
        • "(city name) Crisis Help"
      • Use variations of the organization's name and programs offered.
        • For Crisis Help, "crisis help," "crisis help hotline," "help in crisis," "crisis assistance"
        • For a free music school in an inner city, "free music school," "learn music free (city name)," "music lessons (city name)"
    • In your AdWords account, use the Opportunities tool for more keyword ideas.
    • Look at the Related Searches tool on search pages to get ideas for variations.
    • Negative keywords
      • Filter out irrelevant traffic by providing negative keywords in your account.
      • Example: If you're looking for attendees for a charity ball, you might want "sports" to be a negative keyword.
  • Create ads that send traffic to specific pages on your site, not just the homepage.
    • For someone looking for crisis help, use crisis-related keywords to send them to your hotline page.
    • For those looking for charity events, send event-related keywords to your calendar page.
    • If searchers look for volunteer opportunities, link those keywords to ads that send them to your "get involved" page.
    • Specific pages help people find the relevant pages without having to dig around your site and risk abandoning the search.
  • Create numerous ads.
    • You can direct search traffic to specific pages on your site.
    • You can also analyze which ads attract the most traffic.
      • Specific ads might direct donors to your donations page, newbies to your sign-up page, locals to your events page, etc.
    • Track conversions.
  • When you track your traffic, you can analyze the ads that are turning searchers into donors.
  • Google gives you the option of one or both of their tracking tools.
    • Google Analytics Goals and Transactions
      • It tracks all traffic through your site, not just click conversions, including clicks from non-AdWords traffic.
    • AdWords Conversion Tracking
      • It tracks only AdWords conversions.
    • You can import Google Analytics into your AdWords account to help see all of your tracking efforts at once.
  • Google AdGrants is active as long as the nonprofit organization is active.
  • Look towards GrantsPro.
    • Once your nonprofit uses a minimum of $9,900 for any two months in the previous six month period, you can apply for Google GrantsPro.
    • This programs ups the monthly budget to $40,000.

Getting your mission to the masses is at your fingertips with Google Ad Grants. With effort and dedication, you can make the most of resources available exclusively to nonprofits to expand audiences and enhance support for your organization.


  • What is Google Ad Grants? - google.com
  • Is Your Nonprofit Eligible for Google Ad Grants? - google.com
  • Google for Nonprofits- google.com
  • Applying for Google Ad Grants and Google for Nonprofits - slideshare.net
  • Google Ad Grants Program Details - google.com
  • Quick Guide to Google Grants: Google AdWords for Nonprofits - wordstream.com
  • Are You Wasting Your Google Grant? 4 Tips to Maximize Your "Free" Ad Dollars- mrss.com
  • Import Google Analytics Goals into Conversion Tracking - support.google.com
KeriLynn Engel

About KeriLynn Engel

KeriLynn has worked as a freelance writer for various websites. She is an advocate for domestic abuse victims and has way too many hobbies.


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