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What are Google Ad Grants?

Google Ad Grants are an excellent fundraising and marketing tool in which Google provides approved nonprofits and charities $10,000 per month in free advertising credit to spend on Google Ads.  This $10,000 monthly allotment automatically renews each month so long as the organization stays in compliance with the Google Ad Grants requirement rules.  There is no maximum benefit and there is no additional application for future months or years.

With the extreme generosity of the program, over 100,000 nonprofits worldwide have taken advantage of Google Ad Grants at some point since the program was established in 2003 with around 35,000 nonprofits currently enrolled in the program.  While this is a large number is means that an overwhelming percentage of nonprofits have never taken part in the program and that of those that had, most have not been able to keep up with the program’s requirements and thus are no longer receiving Google Ad Grants.

Google Ad Grants can be a great fundraising and messaging option for almost all nonprofits.  In America, for example all 501(c)(3) organizations qualify for Google grants with the exception of schools, hospitals, or government organizations.  Other countries have very similar rules though they vary slightly from country to country.  In addition, to the fact that most charities and nonprofits quality for a Google Grant, it is also the case that there is not a competition for these ad grants and instead any organization that is eligible and submits the application correct can get a grant.  There is not a set number of grants given out, but instead Google gives out grants to all nonprofits that meet the eligibility criteria and navigate through the application submission process.

Free advertising and marketing is something that can help just about every nonprofit so we recommend that every nonprofit sign up for Google Grants and the Google Ads allowance that it can provide.  The ads can be used to drive thousands of additional individuals to your website each month which can help reach new supports and can amplify your message.

How Can Nonprofits Use Google Ad Grants?

There are many great ways that nonprofits and charities can use a Google Grant and the free Google Ads that come with it.  Among these are:

  • Requesting donations from donors and potential donors.
  • Increasing their potential donor database by collecting contact information when website visitors fill out a contact form, subscribe to a newsletter, or fill in information to request access to other resources that the organization makes available.
  • Advocating and making calls to action such as requesting website visitors sign a petition.
  • For use in public education and program services allowing nonprofits to get their message out to a wider audience and inform the public about services it can provide and what its mission is.
  • Recruiting volunteers, members and supporters who can help keep the organization running and improve its inner workings.
  • Publicizing events and meetings.  As part of the publication of these meeting it can also be used to sell tickets.

You Google Grant can be used for several or all of these and thereby can fill many different organizational needs.  It is a dynamic and powerful enough tool that pretty much any nonprofit who has a website could benefit from Google Ad Grants.

 

Is the Google Grant Program Only for Large Nonprofits and Charities?

Not at all.  Smaller nonprofits stand to gain just as much as large nonprofits by the increased web traffic and potential for additional donation these ads can bring.  The Google Grants program is made for both large and small nonprofits and everything in between.

The important thing that determines the effectiveness of a Google Grant and Google Ads campaign is not the size of the organization, but if the organization has content that reader will find interesting and engaging spark engagement and if their ads are compelling and encourage people to click on them to learn more.

 

Is My Organization Eligible for Google Grants?

Most likely the answer is yes.  Most nonprofits and charities qualify for Google Grants and the program accepts charitable organizations and NGOs from over 50 countries.  In the United States the main requirement is that the organization has received a 501(c)(3) tax exempt status from the IRS, which the vast majority of nonprofits in America have.  Charities and NGOS in other countries have similar requirements in which Google just wants to see that they appear to be a legitimate organization.  In addition, to this basic requirement, the organization must meet a few other requirements:

  • The charity cannot be a hospital, a college, a school, or a governmental body.
  • The organization must agree to the terms of service for both Google Ads and Google for Nonprofits.
  • The organization’s website must be hosted on its own separate domain name as opposed to just being under some other entity’s domain or being on a third-party site such as Facebook.
  • An SSL certificate needs to be installed on your website.

This is pretty much the bulk of the requirements for Google Ad Grants and most charities meet these or easily could.  Thus most charities are eligible to apply for a Google Grant.  The application window is always open and it is not a competition where you are competing against other charities, but instead every organization that qualifies and applies correctly can get a grant.

 

How Do I Apply for a Google Grant?

Apply for a Google Ad Grant is not as straightforward as it could be.  There are multiple steps that must be completed to submit the Google Ad Grants application.  When you use our Google Grants management service we will complete the entire Google Grants acquisition process for you at no charge so that is definitely the easiest way to apply for Google Grants, but if you’d like to go through the process yourself, the steps you would take are:

  1. In most countries, such as the United States, the first step is registering as a charity with TechSoup.org
  2. Get the necessary validation token from TechSoup that you will need for your Google for Nonprofits registration.
  3. Then the organization needs to enroll in Google for Nonprofits
  4. Make sure you have Google Analytics set up on your website
  5. You can then apply for Google Grants using the Google Grants application form.  Make sure you are careful when you submit the application and you initially set up your nonprofit’s Google Ads account as these can be tricky.

If your organization already has a TechSoup account or a Google for Nonprofits account and you have access to it, you can skip some of these steps.

There will be some waiting time at various parts of the process, but at the end of the process you will hopefully be accepted into the program and can receive up to $10,000 per month in Google Ads which is quite a large in-kind gift that can be very valuable.

Once you are accepted into the Google Ads program, then begins the real task of continuing to improve and refine your Google Ads account and making sure you comply with Google Ad Grants complex continuing eligibility criteria.  Failure to keep up with these ongoing requirements will lead to a suspension of your account.  Among the other ongoing Google Grants requirements, you will need to make sure that you continue to do the following:

  • Maintain a clickthrough rate (CTR) for your ads of at least 5% which is relatively high.
  • Log in your Google Ads account at least every 30 days
  • Make changes to your ads, keyword, or other facets of your Google Ads account at least once every 90 days
  • Complete the annual survey that Google sends you.
  • Have conversion tracking set up on your site and have at least one conversion per month.

The ongoing requirements, especially the 5% CTR are probably a lot more work and a tougher challenge than getting into the program to start with.  If you need help with your Google Grants acquisition or the maintenance, contact us today!  We specialize in Google Ad Grants and will make sure you get into the program and stay in the program and that your Google Ads account is optimized to give you the most benefit.

 

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