How Can Google Ad Grants Help Nonprofits?

Katie Vaughan
November 10, 2017
On our blog and in our downloadable e-books, we dive deep into digital marketing tips, tricks, and trends related to SEO, Email Marketing, SEM, and more.

What is a Google Ad Grant?

Basically, Google Ad Grants allow nonprofits to advertise to millions of users on Google’s vast search network for free. With a Google Ad Grant, your organization has access to $10,000 in AdWords investment per month. That kind of money can go a long way when it comes to spreading the word about the great work your nonprofit is doing. You can use that money to bring new users to your website, target potential donors, encourage people to sign up for events, call out for volunteers, recruit new employees, and much more.

To qualify for an Ad Grant, your organization must be a registered 501(c)(3). In addition to its usual content rules, Google also imposes slightly stricter guidelines for how you can spend your grant:

  • Can only be applied to text-based ads that appear on Google’s search results pages
  • Campaigns have to be keyword-targeted
  • $2 maximum cost-per-click (CPC)

That’s it!

How Do You Apply for an Ad Grant?

  1. Check if you are eligible HERE.
  2. Google requires you to JOIN TECHSOUP to validate your nonprofit—once you’ve been validated, you will receive a token (it will look something like 123a4567@1b234c5de6789000).
  3. Once you’ve determined you are eligible and have your validation token, APPLY HERE. (Google will take as little as 15 minutes or up to 48 hours to approve your request.)

Why Use Google Ad Grants?

If, you know, “$10,000 worth of free advertising” doesn’t convince you, there are plenty of other benefits to taking advantage of a Google Ad Grant.

  • Advertise to millions of online users.
  • Gain access to a wealth of useful data from AdWords that can help you target your ads to the audience most interested in your cause.
  • Test and optimize ads without risking any ad spend.

Worst Mistakes You Can Make with a Google Ad Grant:

  • Using broad, generic keywords. Instead, use intent-based keyword phrases that are specific to your organization’s services.
  • Displaying AdSense ads on your website. Google Ad Grantees are not allowed to display AdSense ads or affiliate advertising links. That’s a quick way to get your grant taken away.
  • Clicking on your own ads! You can’t block out IP addresses in Google Ad Grants accounts—which means when you click on your own ads, it will use up your grant money.

How Do I Make the Most of My $10,000?

Putting all that money to good use each month can be daunting, especially if you’re new to using Google AdWords. We can help! Here are a few key strategies to making your grant go as far as possible:

  • Because Google puts a cap on CPC, you’ll want to create a broad range of campaigns using a variety of relevant keywords—more than you might use for a regular paid campaign. This will help stretch that $10,000 as far as possible.
  • Pack more information into your ads with Google’s many ad extensions. Add a call extension, so donors can call your organization directly. If your organization has a physical location that people visit, a location extension can help people find you when they’re nearby.
  • Set clear goals for your ad strategy and track conversions. Do you want to drive traffic to your website? Do you want people to donate money? Do you offer services that you want people to sign up for? Do you want to track newsletter or event sign-ups? If you have multiple goals, create multiple ad campaigns.

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