Google Ad Grants

Written by: 
Molly Niemczyk

There are a lot of reasons a nonprofit organization might want to advertise on Google, whether it’s to encourage donations, recruit volunteers and sponsors, or to raise general awareness. However, many nonprofits may not have the funds to advertise their services. 

The Google Ad Grants program was introduced as a way to provide nonprofits with the opportunity to advertise on Google Ads at no cost. Interested? Here’s a breakdown of how the program works, and how your nonprofit can qualify today.

What Exactly is Google Ad Grants?

Google Ad Grants allows nonprofits to advertise themselves. Besides some specific requirements and limitations, Grant ads are very similar to regular paid ads. Ad Grant ads compete in an auction just like paid ads, and are chosen based on quality score and relevancy to the search query. However, Grant ads are in a separate auction from regular paid ads, and paid ads take precedence. The Ad Grant auction takes place after the paid auction, and paid ads will always appear before Grant ads in the search results. 

The grant itself provides qualifying nonprofits with up to $10,000 a month (up to $329/day) to advertise their initiatives, articles, services, etc. on Unused funds do not roll over to the next month. Only search ads are eligible, so if you’d like to advertise using display ads, video ads, or other forms of advertising, you’ll have to make a regular Ads account for your organization. 

There are a couple rules unique to Google Ad Grants ads. Bids max out at $2, and keywords cannot be overly generic. Keywords must contain more than one word and have a Quality Score above 2. You need at least two ad groups per campaign, and at least two ads per ad group. You also need at least two site extensions.

How Do I Qualify?

In order to qualify for the grant, Google has a short list of eligibility requirements, the most important of which being that you must be a nonprofit charitable organization that is in good standing. Your website must also meet Google website policy, and the specific policies of your country. If you meet all that criteria, you can start the nonprofit verification process by registering with TechSoup, a nonprofit that works with Google to ensure that all the aforementioned requirements are met. Requests for verification typically take 2-14 days. 

Once that’s complete, you can complete the Ad Grants eligibility form, which assesses eligibility for the program as well as your organization’s specific needs. This should only take about 20 minutes to complete, after which you can submit your activation request for review. Activation requests take about 3 business days to review.

If your organization is approved for the Grant, you’ll need to activate the account by signing in to Google for Nonprofits; you will be sent an email with details on how to do so. After that, you can set up and launch your first campaign!

How Do I Maintain Eligibility?

Google Ad Grants accounts provide nonprofits with a lot of flexibility over their marketing efforts, but it is possible to lose the grant if you do not follow certain guidelines. To make sure you meet the requirements, keep the following in mind when creating your campaigns:

  • Your account must maintain a click-through rate (CTR) of at least 5% each month.
  • You must advertise the same domain which was approved for the Grant. A separate domain for donations or event registrations cannot be advertised in your Ads Grant account.
  • You cannot promote pages where the primary function is to redirect people to another website.

Like with any Ads account, it is important to follow best practices for paid advertising; your Ad Grant ads should be of the same quality as regular paid ads on Google. If you need help creating, maintaining, or improving your nonprofit’s Ads account, we can help. Relevance Advisors has the expertise and experience to take your ads to the next level. Reach out today.

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