Google Ad Grants: An In-Depth Overview

There’s a whole constellation of Google Services available to nonprofit organizations. Google Ad Grants is just one of those tools that help fuel nonprofit success stories.

Nonprofits rely on grants and donations. They need funds for payroll, supplies, overhead expenses, marketing, and everything else that keep these organizations up and running. Today, an organization’s success also relies heavily on its online presence — making digital marketing a crucial part of a nonprofit’s success.

Thankfully, Google understands this and uses its plethora of resources to help nonprofit organizations all over the world. And we know that handling the marketing of a nonprofit organization isn’t an easy task. So, we wanted to create a quick, digestible guide for Google Ad Grants. Below, we’ll delve deep into what exactly Google Ad Grants are, how they benefit nonprofit organizations, and how to go about applying for these grants if you are an owner or part of a nonprofit organization.

Without further ado, what are Google Ad Grants?
Google Ad Grants are simply Google Ads that are paid for by Google at no cost to the nonprofit. According to Google, “Google Ad Grants works just like Google Ads online advertising, by displaying your message to people who are searching for nonprofits like yours.”

Google grants qualified organizations $10,000 per month in free Google Ads. These ads allow organizations appear in Google search results when users search for particular terms.

With the allotted $10,000 per month, an organization can spend up to $329 daily on Google Ads to appear at the top of Google search results. And they can set up an unlimited number of ad campaigns in their Google Ad Grants account. However, there are other stipulations that include maintaining a CTR (click-through-rate) of 5% and promoting only your website through use of text ads (without photos or videos).

Google Ad Grants were designed to help nonprofit organizations flourish — but if you don’t use it, you can lose it. Many organizations new to Google Ads may find it surprisingly difficult to use the average of $300 per day. So, let’s review some of the ways an organization can use the Google Ad Grants:

  1. Use negative keywords to block traffic that is not relevant to your organization or cause.
  2. Review your query information to monitor your ad triggers and irrelevant traffic.
  3. Use multiple keywords to increase traffic, drive donations, encourage volunteers, and more.
  4. Use long-tail keywords to stay competitive.
  5. Expand your reach by increasing your location targeting.
  6. Broaden your keywords with different match types.

All of the aforementioned Google Ads tips are ways that this program can improve an organization’s marketing strategy.

How else can Google Ad Grants benefit nonprofits?

Receiving and utilizing Google Ad Grants is a powerful way to scale an organization by driving supporters, encouraging volunteers and donations, and establishing its brand. According to Nonprofit Tech for Good, “Google Ads have consistently driven the most engaged and valuable traffic of all acquisition channels.” However, it’s imperative to remember that a Google Ad Grants account requires care and constant attention. While Google supplies the monetary aspect, the organization will need to login at least every three weeks and spend time maintaining and tweaking their account.

Even for organizations unfamiliar with Google Ads, dedicate one or a few people to running the Google Ad Grants account — it’s worth it! This program is essentially an easy (and free!) way to increase an organization’s web presence. If an organization can learn how to research and implement keywords, Google Ads success is imminent.

Pro Tip: Dedicate a knowledgeable staff member or volunteer marketer or agency to handling your Google Ad Grants account. Do not give your Google Ad Grants account information to many people — especially if they are not familiar with Google Ads.

Here are other specific ways a $10,000 monthly budget from Google Ad Grants can be advantageous:

  • Ads will reach relevant and timely audiences.
  • Ads will send thousands of visitors to your website every month.
  • Ads will entice those visitors to subscribe, volunteer, donate, and spread the word.

Google Ad Grants Success Stories

If you’re still unsure of the benefits of the Google Ad Grants Program, don’t take our word for it — read about some of the top Google Ad Grants case studies. We’ll highlight a couple of them below.

Habitat for Humanity is “is a global nonprofit housing organization working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in approximately 70 countries. Habitat’s vision is of a world where everyone has a decent place to live,” according to their website. With the use of Google Ad Grants, the Habitat for Humanity of Wake County was able to amplify their impact using remarketing display campaigns. They hired a professional agency to manage their Google Ad Grants account and leverage the power of Google Ads to the best of their ability. Based on the story from Google Ad Grants website, Habitat for Humanity received over 585 calls from Ad Grants, over 900 donation conversions, and over $284,000 in donations in one year!

Another successful Google Ads Grantee is The SPCA of Texas, an animal welfare agency in North Texas that provides resources for connecting people and animals. After Hurricane Harvey in 2017, the SPCA joined forces with the “RKD Group, RKD Group, a fundraising and marketing agency, to rapidly optimize their Ad Grants account to capture the increased search interest surrounding animal relief efforts, rescues, adoptions and volunteering efforts related to the hurricane.” With Google Ad Grants, The SPCA of Texas drove donations for disaster relief, generated awareness for increased demand of homes for animals, and recruited more volunteers for the cause.

How can nonprofits can apply for Google Ad Grants?

Do you know an organization ready to apply for the Google Ad Grants? We researched the steps an organization needs to take in order to qualify and apply for the Google Ad Grants Program.

First, let’s go over what qualifies a nonprofit organization for this program.

In order to qualify for this program in the United States, the nonprofit organization must:

  • Be recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations formed for charity, education, religious, literary, science, or other tax-exempt reasons.
  • Acknowledge and agree to Google Grants terms and conditions regarding how to receive and use the grant(s).
  • Have a functioning website.

And United States organizations must confirm they are not:

  • A government entity or organization.
  • A school, academic institution, childcare center, or university (Google has other programs for educational institutions).
  • A hospital or other healthcare organization.
  • Fiscally sponsored (i.e. not have their own 501(c)(3) status or are group exempt).

(If an organization is outside of the U.S., see here for other specific requirements based on its country.)

If an organization meets all the necessary requirements, the second step is to apply for a Google for Nonprofits account. This account will help the organization collaborate effectively with all Google apps including Gmail, Docs, Calendar, Drive, Hangouts, and more. Once an organization has secured an account, they will need to fill out and submit the Grants Pre-qualification Form. This form is found in the   enrollment guide – where they will find a list of all the steps needed to take to complete the application for Google Ad Grants.

The fifth and final step in applying for Google Ad Grants is submitting their account for review.

Once an organization has received their Google Ad Grants, the tricky part is maintaining their eligibility for the program. An organization will have to make sure they are always abiding by the following requirements:

  • Every ad and campaign in their account must link to the nonprofit website URL that provided in their application.
  • Every account must be logged into at least every three weeks.
  • Each ad must reflect the mission and direct donations to support the organization’s cause.
  • Ads cannot offer financial products or be used to ask for donations in the form large goods such as cars, boats, or property.
  •  An organization’s website cannot display ads for Google AdSense or other affiliate advertising links
  • Ads can only appear on Google.com.

Admittedly, the process of applying for (and maintaining a) Google Ad Grants account may seem a bit lengthy — but it’s entirely worth it. With Google Ad Grants, a nonprofit organization can reach target audience, spread awareness, encourage volunteers, and drive traffic and donations to their website and organization.

Here at Newbird we aim to give you all of the keys needed to improve and implement your digital marketing. Marketing via Google Ads is just one of the avenues we are skilled at. Currently, we have helped over [x] businesses with their Google Ads marketing. And with the help of this Google Ad Grants Program, we are also able to help nonprofits utilize Google Ads and increase their website traffic, conversions, awareness, and donations.

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