Google Ad Grants is a program specially designed for nonprofits who want to increase awareness for their cause but don’t have the marketing spend to advertise their organization’s mission to interested audiences.
This gives nonprofits an advantage especially in today’s world where the common person will look to search engines to find answers to their questions.
In this article, we will explore:
- Benefits of Joining the Google Grants Program
- Google Ad Grants Requirements and Duration
- How Do I Find Out if My Nonprofit Organization Qualifies for Google Adwords Grants?
- My Organization is Qualified. How Do I Apply for Google Grants for Nonprofits?
- My Nonprofit Got Accepted. What’s Next?
- How Do I Make the Most Out of Google Ads for Nonprofits?
- My Nonprofit Requires More Than $10,000 in Advertising Credits. Is There a Way to Increase the Google Ad Grants Budget?
- Should I Get Professional Help with Google Ad Grants?
- What’s the Benefit of Hiring a Google Ad Grants PPC Professional?
Progressive organizations know how important it is to build visibility in search engines, and no other search engine is as important as Alphabet’s flagship, Google.
Google is an adjective of its own and has earned it. A study conducted by Net Market Share found that 77% of users favor Google over other search engines like Yahoo, Bing, and Baidu.
Out of the 6,586,013,574 searches per day worldwide, 4,464,000,000 of that goes through Google.
It only makes sense then that businesses and organizations should leverage Google search traffic to their advantage by leveraging on-page and off-page search optimization tactics, PPC (Pay-Per-Click) ads, and social media marketing.
Through these strategies, organizations can attract users to their online presence and meet marketing objectives they’re trying to achieve; whether it’s to hire their services, buy their product, or subscribe to their newsletter.
Unfortunately for a majority of nonprofit organizations, there’s not enough budgetary resources to go around.
A solution to this problem is the Google Ad Grants program which helps nonprofits to spread the word about their advocacy and mission, so people can get more involved in helping them fulfill their mandate.
This is Google’s way of helping organizations make more people aware of the great things that nonprofits are doing.
If your organization is a nonprofit but you don’t have the budget to run a marketing campaign, Google Ad Grants is the best solution.
Benefits of Joining the Google Adwords Grants Program
The Google Ad Grants program provides eligible nonprofits with $10,000 in advertising credit every month.
This allows nonprofit organizations a daily budget of $329 with a $2 maximum cost per click.
If the $10,000 isn’t consumed in one month, recipients will not receive the remainder in cash nor will it carry over for the next month.
The budget will simply refresh for the following month and your organization can again begin using another $10,000 in advertising credit.
With the help of Google Adwords Grants, you can reach people who are interested in your cause.
You’ll gain more visibility in search engines, which in turn, makes it easier for people to donate, volunteer, and support your cause.
The best part about Google’s ad platform is that your organization will appear on top of search result pages.
And of course, more visibility means an increased chance that your organization will be discovered by interested audiences.
While your Google ads are live, you can check Google Analytics to see which ads are performing well.
This tool gives you an insight on the type of ads and keywords that are bringing you closer to your organization’s goals.
Once you find out what’s working, you can then optimize your future ads so you can get better results.
Google Adwords Grants Requirements and Duration
There is no limit to how long a nonprofit can use Google Ad Grants.
As long as you meet the following requirements, your organization will remain qualified for Google Ad Grants.
- Links within ads should be from the same website domain that was approved during your initial application. This means you can’t use domains of third-party websites. You also can’t link to your social media pages since these are not under the domain that you were approved for.
- Your AdWords should be kept active by logging in at least once a month and making at least one change every 90 days. Qualifying changes include adding, deleting, or editing keywords and ad text, and creating a new campaign or ad group. If your account gets turned off due to inactivity, you need to contact the AdWords team to have your account reinstated. However, if you repeatedly break this policy, your account will be cancelled and removed from the program.
- You should only display ads and keywords that match your organization’s program and services.
- Commercial advertising is strictly prohibited unless 100% of the proceeds goes to supporting your program.
- Your ads should not link to pages that contain links to other websites.
- You cannot offer financial products or ask for property donations.
- Your site must not display Google AdSense ads or affiliate links. If you have any of these on your site, you need to remove them first before applying. Other display ads that are not from Google AdSense are allowed provided they do not affect the user’s experience or distract from the main objective of the page.
If any of these guidelines are violated, your nonprofit will be removed from the program and won’t be eligible for application again.
How Do I Find Out if My Nonprofit Organization Qualifies for Google Ad Grants?
To find out if your organization qualifies for Google Ad Grants, first check to see if the Google Ad Grants program is available in your country.
If your country is on the list, you can begin to send your application to Google for Nonprofits.
You must then meet the following requirements:
- Your organization must hold a valid charity status. To check if your organization meets the charity status requirements in your country, see the Google for Nonprofits site.
- Your organization must possess a Google certification regarding non-discrimination and donation receipt and use.
- Your organization must have a live website containing substantial content.
There’s an exception for nonprofit organizations that are not allowed for Google Ad Grants:
- Governmental entities and organizations
- Hospitals and medical groups
- Schools, childcare centers, academic centers, and universities
Philanthropic arms of educational institutions however, are eligible for the Google Ad Grants program.
My Organization is Qualified. How Do I Apply for Google Grants for Nonprofits?
If your organization meets all of the Google Ad Grants requirements, you can begin processing your application by going to Google for Nonprofits.
Here you will be asked to sign up by first entering your country and obtaining your TechSoup Validation token. TechSoup works with Google and local partners in each country to verify if your group is indeed an NGO.
After entering your validation token, you will then be redirected to another page where you’ll be asked to fill in more details about your organization such as the name, address, contact information, communication preferences, etc.
After you have filled out all of the required information, send your application and wait for a response.
Most applications are reviewed within 10 business days. Some get approved right away while others will require further review. In these cases, organizations will need to provide more information as requested by Google Ad Grants.
My Nonprofit Got Accepted. What’s Next?
If your application is approved, take note that the acceptance is only to Google for Nonprofits.
You will still need to Enroll for Google AdWords so you can start using Google Ad Grants. (This is also Google’s way of knowing if you know how to create a proper ad).
A specific process needs to be followed in creating an AdWords account. You can get the instructions here.
If you do not know how to setup and use Google AdWords, consider hiring a PPC expert.
Submit your account for review once you’re done setting it up and wait for 5 business days for your account status.
Don’t have the time or expertise to manage an ad campaign?
Use AdWords Express instead. This type of account allows you to automate the whole process.
All you need to do is set your target audience and daily budget and then write three lines describing your organization.
You’ll still have the same daily budget limitation of $329 but you won’t need to keep an eye on your ads the whole time.
This is ideal for those who don’t have the time to oversee an ad campaign but still want utilize the credits provided by Google Ad Grants.
A campaign that requires minimal maintenance allows you to better focus on running your nonprofit organization.
How Do I Make the Most Out of Google Ad Grants?
The best way to make use of Google Ad Grants is to actually use your entire budget!
Did you know that many nonprofit organizations who use their Google Ad Grants will only spend about $330 of the $10,000 advertising credit they’re entitled to?
There are a number of reasons why many grantees under-budget their advertising.
One of them is due to the limitations that come with Google Ad Grants (text ads only, $2 maximum cost per click, etc.) while others simply don’t have enough knowledge about PPC or Google AdWords to be able to utilize it properly.
To help you out are some tips on how to maximize your Google Ad Grants:
1. Keyword research
Since only keyword-targeted campaigns are allowed in the Google Ad Grants program, keyword research should be a priority when making an ad.
You’ll easily be found by your target audiences when you use keywords that are highly relevant to your organization’s mission and programs.
Here are some pointers for picking keywords to put in your ad:
- Create an expansive list containing highly relevant keywords. It should be a mix of short and long-tail keywords so you’re able to cover high-competition traffic and high-converting traffic. This also helps you determine what type of keywords your target users respond to.
- Use different variations of brand, product, and service terms. Not all users are familiar with your brand so associating it with the products/services that you offer will make it easy for you to get found.
- Consider the different stages of the user’s journey. Each stage has a unique search tendency and you need to cater to those tendencies so you can attract a variety of audiences.
- Refine search results by adding a city name to your keywords. This is useful when you’re trying to attract traffic from a specific location.
2. Write compelling copy
Google Ad Grants only allows text-based ads (no images or videos) so you need to make sure that your headlines are enticing enough for the user to click.
There’s no point in using a highly-targeted keyword if your ad copy is not attractive or persuasive enough to bring the user to your landing page.
You are encouraged to test out a wide range of ad copy to see what works best.
Once you’re done creating your ad content, check for grammatical and technical errors.
You want your ad to look professional so users are more likely to click.
You may need to hire a professional ad copywriter to write the ads for you since they know what type ad copy converts best.
Someone with experience writing PPC ads or Google Ad Grants ads is recommended.
Whether you decide to hire a professional or not, what’s important is that you meet Google Ad Grants Ad Quality standards.
This is a quality filter implemented by Google Ad Grants in response to studies which showed that Ad Grant ads had a lower quality compared to standard paid ads.
The filter looks into three factors to determine the quality of an ad: expected click-through rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience.
Rate well in these three factors and your ad can continue participating in the auction.
3. Pause under-performing ads and keywords
As mentioned earlier, Google helps you to analyze which campaigns are working and which ones are not.
Identify which ads and keywords are not performing well and pause them so that your high-performing ads have a better chance of appearing often.
4. Consider using extensions
Your text ads will appear on Google’s search results below the ads of paying advertisers.
To further boost your ad’s performance, use extensions. This gives the user more information about your ad such as your address, telephone number, and other site pages.
You are allowed a maximum of six site links in your ad extension.
Be sure to only include relevant pages to your site and that the root domain is the same as the URL that was approved when you applied for the grant.
5. Make your landing page worthwhile
Now that you’ve convinced the user to click on your ad and visit your site, the next challenge is to make them stay.
Before even deciding to run an ad campaign, you need to make sure that the landing page is actually worth looking at.
This means it must contain helpful information, be easily navigable, and prompts the user to take action.
The landing page doesn’t have to be your home page since they’re not always the best place to send traffic.
Instead, choose a highly relevant page that best speaks of your organization or ad’s objective.
6. Provide giveaways
Increase your click-through rate by offering a giveaway.
Who doesn’t want a freebie? It can be a free guide, a simple eBook, whitepaper or a fact sheet containing useful information relevant to your organization.
If your goal is to grow your email list, you can even leverage this by asking for the visitor’s email in exchange for a free download. Be careful with this though as it can impact your bounce rate.
Keep your subscription forms as short as possible.
If there’s too many fields to fill out, your visitor might get turned off and leave your site.
Four form fields (first name, last name, email address, etc.) is the optimal number for visitors that came from PPC.
7. Don’t ask for too much
Google Ad Grants is a great way to reach people who have not heard of your organization yet.
Don’t expect users to make an investment on your cause right away.
Instead, take this opportunity to build relationships with interested audiences.
It is recommended that the objective of your ads and landing pages are geared towards providing useful information about your organization and cause.
You can even invite users to subscribe so they get the latest updates and exclusive info.
Once you have these people’s emails, you can cultivate your relationship with them and encourage them to take action in the future.
My Nonprofit Requires More Than $10,000 in Advertising Credits. Is There a Way to Increase the Google Ad Grants Budget?
Google used to have the Grantspro program which allowed nonprofits more than the standard $10,000 advertising credit.
Organizations were allowed up to $40,000 in advertising credit every month if they were able to meet the minimum required spending of $9,9000 of their $10,000 monthly budget for at least two months within a six-month window.
Organizations under this program were also required to maintain a 1% click-through rate.
Due to a severe number of backlogs, Google has put the Grantspro on a permanent hold last September, back in 2016.
It’s not clear yet whether Google will re-open the program in the future but for those who are currently in the Grantspro program, they will continue receiving the $40,000 budget as long as they are able to maintain the requirements.
Should I Get Professional Help with Google Ad Grants?
Earlier we found that one of the reasons why most grantees underbudget is because they don’t have enough knowledge about PPC to fully take advantage of it.
Others find it easy to create an ad which justifies their decision to not hire a PPC expert.
A few minutes of doing keyword research and writing ad copy doesn’t seem like much but when you look at it from a conversions perspective, your campaign may not be doing well.
Sure, you’re generating a lot of clicks through your ad but if you’re not able to convert that traffic, your $10,000 monthly budget is good as useless.
This is a too big of an opportunity to waste. To get the most out of your campaigns, you are better off getting professional help.
Even Google encourages it.
You’re allowed to work with third-party managers who can run your campaigns for you.
What’s the Benefit of Hiring Google Ad Grants PPC Professionals?
Let’s say you decided to hire a copywriter, an SEO specialist, and a PPC expert to help you with your ad campaign.
Once you have these people in your team working on your campaign, you get to enjoy the following benefits:
- Your ads appear to the most interested audiences increasing the likelihood of it getting clicked.
- Your ads drive more clicks because the headlines are compelling.
- Visitors stay longer on the landing page/site and are likely to take action since your site is optimized for conversions.
- You have more time to focus on big-picture stuff like scaling your organization, finding new partners, and doing outreach programs.
You don’t necessarily have to hire one person for each specialty as there are professional freelancers out there who can do all three.
If hiring a professional is not an option, don’t fret. Basic copywriting, SEO, and PPC can be learned.
It may take some time before you become really good at it but once you get the hang of running highly effective ads, you’ll get to know your audiences better and as a result, it becomes easier to craft effective ads in the future that drive clicks and conversions.
Never stop optimizing your ad campaign and learn from the professionals.
Soon enough, you’ll see a growth in your organization thanks to the free money from Google Ad Grants which you were able to fully maximize.