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November 11, 2021

Get a leg up on giving with Google Ad Grants


Summary: Google’s Ad Grant program is a great—and often underutilized—way that nonprofits of all sizes can maximize their reach, which is key during giving season. All it takes is a Google Ads account and some minimum engagement requirements.

Google wants to give you $10,000. 

Sounds like a spam email, right? But it’s true.

The Google Ad Grant program is designed to help nonprofit organizations amplify their message to a broad audience, thus making a bigger impact. The monthly funding it provides for Google search ads help nonprofits reach members, raise awareness, attract donors, recruit volunteers, and more. 

The grant program can completely change a nonprofit’s integrated marketing strategy. So why are so many nonprofits missing out? Many nonprofits are already overstretched and don’t have the resources to dedicate to managing the grant. We have put together this guide to help walk you through the details of the grant program, and how to make it work for you, 

What are Google Ad Grants?

Google Ad Grants provide nonprofits with the opportunity to advertise on Google search results for free. Qualified organizations can receive $10,000 a month in in-kind advertising spend to use with Google.

These text-based ads appear at the top of Google search results, either independently or below other paid listings. 

How long does the Google Ad Grant last?

Once organizations are approved for the grant, it never expires and there is no need to reapply. Organizations must, however, continue to meet the requirements of the Google Ad Grant program. 

What are the requirements of the Google Ad Grant program?

To qualify for Google Ad Grants, your organization must be an eligible nonprofit, have a high-quality website that meets our website policy, and be able to meet the program policies. The eligibility requirements include:

  • You must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the United States or hold a similar status in one of the 50 countries that have been added so far.  
  • Your organization must not be a hospital, a school or college, or a governmental institution. However, philanthropic arms of educational institutions may still be eligible.
  • You must have a high-quality website, fitting the standards listed here. The site must also be hosted on your own domain ( e.g. “nonprofitname.org,” not “nonprofitname.wordpress.com”).
  • If you are applying for the Google Grant for the first time, your website must have an SSL certificate installed (which means that a lock icon appears in the navigation bar in Google Chrome). If you see “not secure” next to your website’s URL in Chrome, it means SSL is not installed or there is a configuration issue.
  • You must agree to the terms of service for Google for Nonprofits and Google Ads.

Once approved for the Google Ad Grant, there are specific requirements you must continue to meet in order to maintain your grant. These include:

  • Maintain a 5% account CTR.
  • Keyword Quality Scores must stay above 2.
  • There must be at least 2 active ad groups per campaign.
  • There must be at least 2 sitelink ad extensions.
  • Account must utilize specific geo-targeting.
  • Account cannot use single-word keywords, except for those on this list, and no overly generic words. 
  • Maximum bid of $2 per click unless using automated bidding strategies.
  • An account must be logged into at least monthly and have one or more changes implemented every 90 days. Otherwise, Google will suspend your account and you’ll have to request to be reinstated.

How do I apply for the Google Ad Grant program?

Unlike most grants, which require long and complicated applications, the Google Ad Grant has a very simple process. There are five main steps to getting your nonprofit fully applied for the grant program:

  1. Meet the eligibility criteria. 
  2. Register with Techsoup.
  3. Enroll in Google for nonprofits. 
  4. Apply for the Google Ad Grant. 
  5. Set up your Google Ads account effectively. 

Reason One can help

The Google Ad Grant is the most effective way to deliver targeted ads to your organization’s key audiences and drive visitors to your site that will sign up for emails, make donations, purchase products, register for events, and become engaged with your nonprofit. Reason One has experienced Google Grant Ad Program specialists on staff ready to assist you in applying for, setting up, and managing your Google Grant Ads. Drop us a line today.