website maintenance, Website support, google ad grants, google Ad Grant Nonprofits

What You Need to Know About the $10,000 Google Ad Grant for Nonprofits

By: Ashley Fontes, Tech Networks of Boston

Qualifying nonprofits can be awarded $10,000 per month for free advertising through Google Ad Grants. This free money can support your mission while increasing your brand visibility and website visitors who are ready to be educated on your cause. Now, how exciting is that?!

Utilizing paid advertising can give your organization a way to increase supporters, volunteers, and donor to your nonprofit organization. By using Google Ads, you can monitor which strategies are working as your website visitors grow.

In this article, we’ll give a brief overview on how to prepare your website, information about grant policies, application instructions, and strategies for successful promotion.

Through a Google Ad Grant, you can:

  • Increase the number of website visitors every month
  • Increase your brand awareness and database of supporters when visitors subscribe, donate, or volunteer
  • Increase the frequency of donations

Before you implement an advertising strategy, you want to make sure your website is secure and maintained properly. This can include making sure your site is encrypted with HTTPS and monitoring the backend of your website for speed improvements or plugin updates. With increased advertising, you could see an increase of thousands of new visitors to your website site each month – you’ll want to make sure your website is ready to take on the new traffic.

When you are happy with your website’s functionality, make sure you are ready to comply with the new policies implemented by Google.

Google has updated their Ad Grants policy and has added keyword restrictions, a minimum click-through rate requirement (5%), and removed bid caps. They’ve also required that organizations use specific geo-targeting to show ads relevant to your audience locations and enable 2 active ad groups per campaign with two active text ads. Once approved, you will have to update your ads minimally every 90 days or you will lose your ad grant.

The following organizations are not eligible for Google Grants:

  • Governmental entities and organizations
  • Hospitals and medical groups
  • Schools, childcare centers, academic institutions and universities (philanthropic arms of educational organizations are eligible).
Please note, Google does have a similar program for educational institutions (

google photo

In May 2018, Kalman Gacs presented “A Hands on Introduction to Search Engine Marketing,” to our Tech Networks Roundtable. Among other things, he presented about Google ads and the ad grant program. He pointed out: “The biggest challenge is to stay above a 5% click-through rate. To do this, essentially, you have to advertise for keywords your organization deserves to show up for.  Your website essentially has to be the result the person searching for was hoping to find.”

So how do you apply for the $10,000 Google Ad Grant? Applications usually take 4-5 hours to fill out, and you’ll hear back from Google in ten days or less.

  1. You’ll want to register with TechSoup to validate your organization. You may already have a TechSoup account if you are a nonprofit. If this is the case, you will still have to associate your login with your organization.
  2. Next, you’ll want to create a Google for Nonprofits account. You’ll need to be logged into TechSoup to retrieve a token code for the account setup. If your organization already has an account, find out who previously managed the account or request admin access.
  3. Once you are approved for a Google for Nonprofits account, you’ll be able to apply for the grant. Make sure to review Google Ad Grants account creation guide. It’s recommended to build your new account with only one campaign, one ad group, one ad, and a few keywords. After approval, you can spend time expanding your build and utilizing the strategy suggestions below.

Now it’s time to focus on promotion strategy. We’ve compiled some suggestions to make your advertising campaigns successful.

  1. What are the keywords that will lead people to click on your campaign? Use the free Google keyword planner to see keywords that relate to your campaign topic, and select which keyword phrases you’d like to identify your website and mission. Focus your keywords on hundreds of long tail keywords to make full use of your budget.
  2. Where are your ideal constituents located? Decide on a few geographic locations that would be home to your donors, volunteers, or supporters.
  3. Who are your ideal constituents? Create ad groups for each specific audience including volunteers, donors, or supporters. Ad groups contain the creative messaging and the keywords that you’re targeting. You can have multiple ad groups under a single campaign, but the ad groups can only belong to one campaign.
  4. Make sure to embed donation and sign up forms, since the ads will lead people to your website, where you’ll want them to take action.
  5. Draft compelling text to inspire and motivate individuals to join your mission using some keywords that you have selected. Text ads are short and need to attract the attention of your ideal audience right away, and include a call to action. The Google Ads Grant can only be used for text ads – not photo or video ads.

There’s plenty more ways to support your Google Ad Words strategy, including Google Analytics. Tech Networks of Boston offers consulting services to help you get the most bang for your (grant) buck!

Visit our site to learn about our website services including monitoring and maintenance packages.

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