Get $10,000.00 in FREE Google advertising – each and every month – for qualified 501(c)3 nonprofits.
Qualifying nonprofits can use Google Ad Grants to tell their story, generate more supporters and increase donations. Failing to take advantage of this generous, in-kind Google gift is akin to losing $120,00.00 in online promotional opportunity — each and every year.
To best leverage Google Ad Grants, organizations may want to consider hiring a partner (such as Nonprofit Fire) to expertly set up and manage this resource, and more importantly, to maximize the benefits for each nonprofit. Of utmost importance is how Nonprofit Fire conceives and develops workable marketing stories and campaigns that work hand-in-glove with Google Ad Grants.
Effective use of Google advertising requires story development, continual keyword management, ad testing, landing page optimization and requires 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. Keywords are what people use for online searching. Those same keywords are also used by Google to determine which ads to display to those who are searching online.)
What is Google Ad Grants?
Google Ad Grants is the nonprofit marketing version of AdWords™, which is Google’s online advertising platform. Google Ad Grants provides nonprofit organizations $10,000 per month of in-kind advertising, 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 the program began in 2003, Google has supported non-profits worldwide with more than $2 billion in advertising.
How Do I Use Google Ad Grants?
There are many ways to use a Google online advertising budget to tell a nonprofit organization’s story. An overly simplistic depiction would be to understand that these customized Internet ads are displayed on people’s computers, phones and tablets. However, these ads are exponentially more powerful than, for example, ads in newspapers and magazines. These ads contain hyperlinks, so that when people click on them, they arrive on your website. More importantly, the marketing stories, keywords, ads and web pages that visitors land on, should all be continuously optimized to generate the greatest results for your nonprofit.
Google provides a large amount of daily information about a variety of performance aspects of keywords and the ads. That 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.
Stated another way, if you are only using Google Ad Grants to drive more traffic to your website, you’d also be guilty of greatly under-utilizing this service.
A more purposeful application would be to generate actionable results, such as people subscribing to your mailing list, attending your events, sharing your messages, volunteering for your cause and/or raising money for your nonprofit. All that (and more) can be achieved through ongoing custom campaigns, which are best achieved through experienced, professional campaign management, such as provided by Nonprofit Fire.
To find out more, download the free report: THE GOOD AND BAD OF GOOGLE AD GRANTS.
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 and medical groups
- Schools, academic institutions and universities
- However, fundraising foundations for schools “do” qualify
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, there is a Cost-Per-Click (CPC) limitation on each keyword selected for an ad campaign. These bids specify the maximum amount the advertiser is willing to pay each time someone clicks the ad. A higher bid can allow the ad to display at a higher position on the page, which means more visibility for viewers. Google Ad Grants limits the Cost-Per-Click (CPC) bid to $2.00 per keyword (with an exception of campaigns that use conversion tracking), which is not competitive with many keywords. In fact, for popular keywords, certain ads will not be visible at all to most viewers. It bears re-emphasizing that Google provides the money required to bid on keywords free of charge to the nonprofits. So, the CPC is not costing the nonprofit anything at all.
Furthermore, all the other commercial advertisers who are paying market rates through Google’s Adwords platform command the top ad display positions when bidding against nonprofit accounts.
Hence, these limitations actually make it more challenging to successfully execute Google Ad Grants for nonprofits, compared to the paid commercial Adwords 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 AdWords 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 Adwords, which is used by businesses all over the globe:
- $10,000 per month, which is equivalent to $329 per day
- A $2.00 maximum Cost-Per-Click (CPC)
- 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.
- Actively manage your AdWords account by logging in once a month and making at least one change to your account every 90 days.
- Each ad and keyword in your Ad Grants AdWords 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.
- Strictly commercial advertising is prohibited. 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 exception)
- 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.
For more information, visit Google Ad Grants Program Policies.
Find Out More
Click CONTACT to request a free consultation. Alternatively, be sure to download the free report, The Good and Bad of Google Ad Grants, to help determine if Google Ad Grants is worth the effort for your nonprofit; and if it is, how to use it.