A Non-Profit's Guide to Google Ad Grants


There’s a great opportunity being given by Google that has gone un-noticed by many not for profit organizations. We’re talking about free money. Well, sort of. Google offers qualifying non-profits a monthly budget of $10,000 for free in-kind advertising on their Google Adwords online advertising platform. This can be huge, but only if it’s done right.

What can I do with it?

This is a great way to drive traffic to your website, increase sign ups, distribute knowledge, build brand recognition or even gain donations. Really, whatever your organization’s main goals are when it comes to the digital space.

Firstly though, an overview of Google Adwords.

For our purposes, Google Adwords is an advertising service for businesses who want to display ads on Google searches. These ads look similar to search results but are often shown before the results, after the results and on the right hand side of the results. This means that ads are highly visible and are shown on arguably one of the busiest websites on the internet.

What also makes it appealing is that an advertiser only gets charged (or credit is only applied to your account) when a user clicks on your ad. This is called Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. You are not charged for impressions – users that see your ad and do not engage with it. This is super important, as rather than traditional advertising where you pay the same no matter what, in PPC Advertising you only pay when your ad is successful in driving someone to your website. It’s also highly targeted.

Thinking Deeply

Ads are set up to show based on specific keywords. A quick example of this could be that when a user searches for “American Education” in Google, you can trigger your relevant ad about “American Education Reform” to show up on that user’s search results page. This is powerful because it ensures that your ad is being shown to interest parties, rather than traditional advertising where your ad is seen by anyone who happens to stumble across it, regardless of relevance.

There are a lot of nuances to being effective at this however, and a lot of advertisers will be wanting to show their ads for the same target keywords. These highly sought after keywords are known as high value keywords, and cost more per click since there are so many advertisers vying for them. So it is common practice to have a Google Adwords specialist (like us here at Weight Creative) to manage your ads for you for you to get the best results with regards for effective keywords that are also within budget. Though with that said, you can always try your hand yourself if you have the patience to learn and time to invest, as keywords are constantly changing and evolving within the marketplace.

There are caveats

Google’s Ad Grants are a bit more limited than their offerings for paid ad clients. Here’s what you should know:

  • You need to log in to manage your ads at least once every ninety days to keep your account active.
  • The Cost Per Click (CPC) for your advertisements can not exceed $2.00, which means that a lot of highly sought after keywords might be off limits for you. This can still be highly effective, but it means that you must be very strategic about what keywords you try to use for your ad campaign.
  • You may only run text ads that appear on Google’s search results page, and the ads will show in positions below the ads of paying advertisers. This is a hinderance, but by all means with the allotted $10,000 monthly budget set out by Google, you should definitely be able to effectively drive traffic to your pages. Google also has many more extensive services for advertising that are fantastic, but for the purposes of the Ad Grant, these will all be off limits.

Making a check-list

Do I qualify for Google’s Ad Grants Program?

Google has specific requirements that you must meet to register for free in-kind advertising as of this time. Currently, you must reside in one of fifty countries, hold a valid charity status, agree to Google’s required certifications regarding nondiscrimination and donation use, and lastly, have a live website with substantial content.

Governmental entities and organizations, hospitals and medical groups, schools, academic institutions and universities are not eligible, but philanthropic arms of educational institutions are eligible.

How do I sign up?

There is an application process, which can be found here: https://www.google.ca/intl/en/nonprofits/

If you require help with the process or would like to know more about how Weight Creative can manage your campaign to effectively utilize Google’s grant budget, we’re always happy to have a conversation with you and your organization. Feel free to call us at +1-855-500-2725 to set up a meeting, or use our meeting scheduler here.

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