Google Ad


Get up to $10,000.00 in FREE Google advertising – every month – for qualified 501(c)3 nonprofits. (Up to $120K/yr).

Google Ad Grants can help tell your story, generate more supporters and increase donations.

What is Google Ad Grants?

Google Ad Grants is the nonprofit marketing version of Google Ads, which is Google’s online advertising platform. Google Ad Grants provides nonprofit organizations up to $10,000 per month of in-kind advertising (not cash), so that nonprofits may promote their causes on Google search result pages. This is a very powerful opportunity and should be taken advantage of by most (but not all) qualified nonprofit organizations. The trick is to use the advertising effectively to gain the maximum advantage. Additionally, it is necessary to avoid misusing it or neglecting it once you have it, otherwise Google will take it away.

Since 2003, Google has awarded over $10 billion in free advertising to over 115,000 nonprofits across 51 countries.

How Do I Use Google Ad Grants?

There are many ways to use a Google online advertising budget to benefit a nonprofit. 

These customized internet ads are displayed on people’s computers, phones and tablets. When people click on them, they arrive on your nonprofit website.

The ads, marketing stories, and web pages that visitors land on should all be continuously updated and optimized to generate the greatest results for your nonprofit.

To help, Google provides daily information about a variety of performance aspects of this advertising. This data is one key to making Google Ad Grants work more effectively for your nonprofit.

Additionally, like most marketing and advertising campaigns in the world at large, the ads tend to have a functional lifespan, which means new campaigns need to be tested and executed to continue to achieve your nonprofit goals.

A purposeful application would be to generate actionable results, such as:

  • subscribers to your mailing list
  • attendees to your events
  • volunteering for your cause
  • fundraising

All that (and more) can be achieved through ongoing custom campaigns.

Which Nonprofits Do Not Qualify for Google Ad Grants?

Most 501(c)3 nonprofits qualify for Google Ad Grants. However, there are some exceptions. The following nonprofit categories do “not” qualify:

  • Government entities and organizations
  • Hospitals or healthcare organizations (charitable arms or foundations associated with healthcare organizations are eligible).
  • Schools, academic institutions, or universities (philanthropic arms of educational organizations are eligible)

Google doesn’t donate Ad Grants to organizations that discriminate on any basis in either hiring or employment practices or in the administration of programs and services. Google Ad Grants does not allow ads, keywords, or destinations that promote hatred, intolerance, discrimination, or violence.

Google Ad Grantees must be organized and operated exclusively for charitable purposes.

Professional Management of Google Ad Grants (The Catch)

Google Ad Grants is a godsend for eligible 501(c)3 nonprofits. But there is a catch. Managing this gift (along with its attendant limitations), can become frustrating, due to the challenges inherent in maximizing the $10,000 monthly budget.

Many nonprofits only use a fraction of the available advertising budget and even with that, it’s often not effectively integrated into a workable marketing strategy to achieve real goals. In other words, they may (or may not) receive additional traffic to their website but they are not benefiting from the results of a successful marketing campaign, such as more supporters or more donations.

Additionally, all the commercial advertisers who are paying market rates through the Google Ads platform command the top ad display positions.

Furthermore, there are special Google Ad Grants limitations (see below) that are not pertinent to commercial buyers of Google Ads.

Hence, these limitations make it more challenging to successfully execute Google Ad Grants for nonprofits, compared to the paid commercial Google Ads version for businesses.

Regardless, Google Ad Grants is still the most powerful way for 501(c)3 nonprofits to reap the rewards of successful online marketing campaigns.

Google Ad Grants Limitations

The Google Ad Grants program provides 501(c)3 nonprofit entities the power of the Google Ads advertising platform. This international advertising network is used in conjunction with custom marketing strategies to help nonprofits achieve their goals. But there are some limitations, as compared to the full commercial version of Google Ads, which is used by businesses all over the globe:

  • $10,000 per month, which is equivalent to $329 per day
  • Maintain a 5% Clickthrough Rate (CTR)
  • Only run keyword-targeted campaigns
  • Only appear on Google search result pages
  • Only run text ads

Don’t Lose Your Google Ad Grants

To maintain eligibility in the Google Ad Grants program:

  • Link your ads to one (and only one) website domain, which should be the same one that was approved in your initial application.
  • Each ad and keyword in your Google Ad Grants account must reflect your organization’s primary mission, be relevant to your nonprofit’s programs and services, and be specific enough to provide a good experience for the user seeing your ads.
  • If you’re promoting products or services, 100% of the proceeds must go directly to supporting your program.
  • Your ads must not link to pages that are primarily composed of links to other websites.
  • Your ads may not offer financial products (like mortgages or credit cards), nor can they request donations of cars, boats, or other property.
  • Your site can’t display Google AdSense ads or affiliate advertising links.
  • All Ad Grants accounts must maintain a 5% click-through rate (CTR) each month.
  • Ad Grants accounts must have specific geo-targeting to show ads in locations relevant to your nonprofit.
  • Ad Grants accounts must have:
    • At least 2 active ad groups per campaign each containing a set of closely related keywords and 2 active text ads
    • At least 2 sitelink ad extensions

The following keywords and queries for serving Ad Grants ads are not permitted:

  • Branded words that you don’t own like “YouTube” or “Google” or names of newspapers or other organizations
  • Single-word keywords (excluding your own branded words, recognized medical conditions, and a small number of exceptions)
    • Note: terms with dashes, periods, or special characters are not treated as single-word keywords
  • Overly generic keywords like “free videos,” “e-books,” “today’s news,” “easy yoga,” “download games,” “job alert,” names of places, names of historical events/people
  • Keywords with a Quality Score of 1 or 2

Ad Grantees found in violation of any of these guidelines are subject to removal from the program. Google reserves the right to grant or deny an organization’s application or participation at any time, for any reason, and to supplement or amend these eligibility guidelines at any time. Selections are made at Google’s sole discretion and are not subject to external review.

Any account found in violation of program policies is subject to automatic suspension without notification.

Learn More

To best leverage Google Ad Grants, organizations may want to consider taking advantage of Nonprofit Fire’s free educational and consultation services or even hiring us to expertly set up and manage it for you.

Effective use of Google advertising requires story development, continual management, ad testing, landing page optimization and routine execution of new campaigns.

(Landing pages are specialized web pages tailored to specific ads. These are the pages an Internet searcher “lands” on after clicking an ad.)

Find Out More

Click CONTACT to request a free consultation.