Get Free Advertising For Your Nonprofit With Google Grants

June 1, 2017


For the majority of nonprofits, having a significant advertising or marketing budget is not possible. Therefore, these organizations that give back to the community, the world and/or the greater good need to take full advantage of all and every opportunity that comes their way.

Well nonprofits, you may be in luck! With Google Ad Grants, a nonprofit organization can apply for $10,000 in free spend from Google! This money – which amounts to >$100K per year – will be used in the Google AdWords platform to run paid search campaigns.

Are you a nonprofit that could use that extra advertising budget? If so, listen up!

Get Started

This is how you can get started.

  1. Check Criteria
  2. Submit Google for Nonprofits Application
  3. Create a Google AdWords account
  4. Enroll in Google Ad Grants

1. Check Criteria

Review Google’s eligibility criteria. Your organization must be based in the approved countries, must hold valid charity status and meet several other criteria. There are some organizations which are excluded such as government organizations and hospitals. If you are eligible, move on to the next step.

2. Submit Google for Nonprofits Application

Next, submit the Google For Nonprofits application. Get ready to input organization information (address, mission statement, EIN, etc.). I was told by a Google Rep that the application approval process can take up to 20 days. However, the last application I submitted took a fraction of that time.

3. Create a Google AdWords Account

While you are waiting to hear if your application was approved, create a Google AdWords account. When building an account prior to the Google Grants approval, you have two options.

Option #1: Build out your full account. Do keyword research, build campaigns, write ads, etc.

Option #2: Build a shell of an account – or – the minimum needed to get Google Grants approval. Once you know that you are approved, then go back and finish building out the account. To do this, you must have the following in your account:

  • At least one campaign
  • At least one keyword
  • At least one ad copy
  • Daily budget of $329
  • Network Type of “Search Network Only”
  • Not opted into Search Partners
  • Do not input any billing information

4. Enroll in Google Ad Grants

If your enrollment is approved, navigate back to Google For Nonprofits . Sign in using the email address associated with the account you created earlier.  You will now have the option to Enroll in Google Ad Grants. Submit that application and insert the Customer ID of the AdWords account you just created. It may take up to 10 days to get Grants status for your AdWords account

Though I’ve outlined the steps above, you can also find instructions in the How To Apply section of the Google Ad Grants website.

Building Your Account

Now onto building your campaigns. Here are some important things to know.

  • Your overall campaign can spend ~$330 per day
  • Google has a bid limit of $2 for Grants accounts. You cannot exceed a $2 max cost per click
  • Your ads can only run on the Search Network. Google Grants accounts are not allowed to serve on the Display network (that includes Display Remarketing)
  • Ads will only run on the Google Search results, not the Google Search Partner network

There is also a minimum for management activity in the account to maintain $10K in monthly spend. Advertisers must:

  • Log in at least once a month
  • Make changes at least once every 90 days

Managing Your Account

The management style for a Google Grants account tends to be different than that of a typical AdWords account. One of the major differences is the fact that an advertiser doesn’t have control over their bids above and beyond $2. Now, let’s take a step back and review how clicks, bids and cost work together for this type of account.

  • With $10K in free money, an advertiser is incentivized to spend as much as possible
  • How does an advertiser accrue cost? By getting clicks
  • How do you spend more and drive more traffic to your website? By getting more clicks!
  • What’s one important way to drive more click volume? By being able to control your bids. Bidding up is one way to spend more and drive more clicks to your website (generally speaking)

Without full control over bidding, an advertiser needs to get creative and find other ways to move the needle/drive more click traffic. We know (or if you don’t, you will learn now!) that Google rewards advertiser with high quality, relevant ads – i.e. strong quality scores. By improving quality score and providing searchers with an optimal user experience, it is possible for an advertiser to pay less for a higher ad position. And hopefully that leads to more clicks for your Google Grants account!

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your Grants account:

Tip #1 – Improve CTR

Make it your job to improve CTR in any way you can. Test and then test some more. Come up with multiple ad copy ideas and rotate them in as you declare “winners” from your older ad copy tests.

Ad extensions are another great way to improve CTR – and it helps to improve the relevancy of your ads, take up more space in the SERP and enhance your message. Think about using sitelinks, callout extensions, structured snippets, review extensions, call extensions, location extensions, etc.

Tip #2 – Think About Your Match Types

In a non-Grants account, I prefer to stick to exact, phrase and modified-broad keyword match types. With a Google Grants account, I tend to include a greater amount of broad match terms. Broad match terms can help match to other terms that you haven’t necessarily thought about. Broad match types can also help to expand your reach especially with lower bids.

Tip #3 – Remember Your Search Query Reporting

This is a great tip for all AdWords accounts. Make sure you check your search term reporting. This will tell you which search queries are triggering your ads. From there, you can decide if you need to suppress keywords or add new ones.

Tip #4 – Landing Pages

Don’t forget about your landing pages! Your quality score is not only tied to your keywords, but your landing pages as well. Check your landing page quality score and if it’s low, try testing. Remember, by improving the quality score it is possible to pay a lower cost per click for a better ad position.

Continued Learning

Want to learn even more about managing a Google Ad Grants account? Many of our consultants have experience doing just that! To get information on consulting or to sign up for an AdWords training course, visit our services and training pages.