Since 2003, Google Ad Grants for nonprofits have allowed numerous worthwhile institutions to utilize Google’s advertising platform for completely free. From animal welfare charities like We Care Animal Rescue to suicide-prevention organizations like Samaritans, companies across the world have reaped the rewards of the initiative.
Here, you’ll find out whether your business is eligible, how to apply and some of the benefits of getting signed up.
To read about our comprehensive article on digital marketing for nonprofits, click here.
1. What is Google Ad Grants for Nonprofits?
Google Ad Grants for nonprofits gives every charity that qualifies up to $10,000 per month to put towards search ads shown on Google. These appear below paid ads and can be used to raise awareness about the charity’s goals, attract donors or recruit new volunteers, depending on the needs of your organization
2. How Do I Get Google Grants for Nonprofits?
First, you’ll have to set up a Google for Nonprofits account. Requirements vary country by country, though the principal eligibility criterion is to be registered as a nonprofit with the governmental body in charge of overseeing such activities where you are based.
Once you have submitted your request to receive Google Ad Grants, you will be asked to verify your status through third-party service TechSoup. After this is done, you will have access to several systems designed specifically by Google for charities, including Google Workspace, YouTube, Google Maps and Google Ad Grants for nonprofits.
3. 7 Ways to Get the Most Out of Google Ad Grants
3.1 Start with a Stable Website
A good website should be user-friendly, attractive, and functional, and there’s quite a lot you can do to make sure that’s the case and get the best usage out of Google Ad Grants. For instance, ensure the website is mobile friendly, as Google ranks these websites higher in search results. Additionally, Google has some specific requirements for nonprofit websites, such as having an SSL certificate, quick loading time, and no broken links. There should be a clear description of your mission and no commercial activity present on your pages.
3.2 Use the Right Keywords
Many people these days talk about the need to focus on long-tail keywords to improve SEO and optimize Google Ad spend. These keywords are more specific than broad terms like ‘nonprofit’ or ‘charity,’ and are often:
- More useful because they can gather in more relevant people that are interested in the aims and geographies of your organization;
- Cheaper because fewer people are bidding on them (note that there is a maximum cost-per-click (CPC) of $2 for Google Ad Grants users). You can utilize tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to help you see how many people are searching for particular keywords as well as the estimated bid for success.
3.3 Closely Monitor Campaigns and Ads Groups
You may want to have a number of Google Ad campaigns with different objectives running simultaneously or you might just want to focus on one. At the campaign level, you can set budgets, timeline and geotargeting, and you should be monitoring this in order to perfect your strategy going forward.Drilling down into the campaigns, your keywords will be organized into at least two ad groups. These ad groups should share a common theme or direct people to the same landing page. For example, you might have an ad group dedicated to fundraising and another one designed to attract volunteers. You can use Google Analytics to observe whether they are having the intended effect and adjust accordingly.
3.4 Monitor and Track Conversions
Google Ads has an optional conversion tracking tool you can access for free as part of the service. Through it, you will be able to monitor how people are coming to your website and successful conversions. These are generally related to whether people are getting involved with your nonprofit once they come to your website from Google Ads, and could take the form of donations, volunteers or signing up to your newsletter, depending on what metrics you want to measure.
3.5 Understand Your Readers and Audience
Through keyword research, you can discover what your target demographic searches for, plus the volumes of people performing different individual searches. This can be cross-referenced with the Keyword Planner to see which terms are affordable and fit within your Google Ad Grants for nonprofits’ budgets. The more work you do to identify your intended audience’s search behavior, the more effective your campaigns are likely to be.
3.6 Leverage Geo-targeting as Appropriate
Through the campaigns menu, you can use location targeting to choose the geographic areas where your ads will appear. There’s plenty of flexibility with scope, too, from whole countries or regions within a country, to specially set radii around places of interest or other locations.
3.7 Analyze the Performance
As briefly mentioned above, it’s possible to use Google Analytics as a means to track the performance of your campaigns and ad groups. Through regular audits of your strategy, you’ll be able to dissect click-through rates and discover which keywords are strong performers and which aren’t, in addition to seeing if some bids are costing you more than they’re worth in conversions.
4. How Long Does a Google Ad Grant Last?
The short answer is that Google Ad Grants for nonprofits last indefinitely. As long as your organization continues to fulfill the eligibility requirements and you make sure you are regularly utilizing the platform (Google recommends at least 1-2 times per month), you can take advantage of the scheme for as long as you wish.
5. How Do Google Ad Grants Work?
Once you’ve filled out the Google Ad Grants application, you’ll receive $10,000 each month, though you cannot spend more than $329 per day and can bid a maximum $2 on CPC. Note that you can run both Google Ad Grants for nonprofits and a standard Google Ads account should you desire to utilize the more extensive features of the latter for specific campaigns. As the spaces assigned for each on Google search results are different, they will not compete with one another.
6. How Much Is a Google Ad Grant?
It’s completely free. Once your organization is approved, the $10K will be pre-loaded into your account every month. There’s no fear of exceeding this amount as this is automatically limited, and there’s no stipulation requiring you to use the full $10K every month. However, bear in mind the funds do not roll over, so use them or lose them.
7. How Nonprofits Around the World Use Google Ad Grants
7.1 SOS Children’s Villages
An Indian charity that provides family-based care for more than 6,600, SOS Children’s Villages came to Google Ad Grants with very little digital expertise but a desire to raise both awareness and funds for their projects. Using the available guides, customer support and the recommendations tab on the interface, the non-governmental social development organization has been able to increase monthly website visits by 100%, drive monthly donations of 40K Indian rupees and continually grow website traffic by 30% annually.
USA-based nonprofit DonorsChoose.org links teachers and public schools in the States with individuals looking to invest in local communities, in order to ensure adequate resources and education for every student, no matter their neighborhood. Using the Google Analytics dashboard and conversion tracking, the organization has been able to achieve 305K website visits, USD4.9K donations and 7.4K teacher registrations in the space of a year.
- Do nonprofits get free Google Ads?
Yes, Google Ad Grants for nonprofits supplies free ads in Google search results. As stated above, these are placed below paid ads.
- Are Google Ad Grants worth it?
Google Ad Grants help solve online marketing challenges at absolutely no cost to the nonprofit. Though there are limitations to the service as already mentioned, overall, it’s hard to see any reason the program wouldn’t be worth investing some time in.
- Who is eligible for Google Ad Grants?
In general, any nonprofit that is registered as such with their national government is eligible for the Google Ad Grants program, though there are additional stipulations or limitations in certain countries. You also cannot be a governmental entity or organization, a hospital or healthcare organization or an academic institution – though there is a separate set of tools for schools.
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