If you are involved with a nonprofit organization, you’ve likely sought ways to amplify your mission’s reach, engage more supporters, and drive more traffic to your website. With “digital marketing for nonprofits,” one tool stands out—Google Ad Grants. This in-depth guide will take you through the journey of understanding Google Ad Grants and how they can benefit your nonprofit organization.
Google Ad Grants: A Game Changer for Nonprofits
At the heart of digital marketing for nonprofits is Google Ad Grants. It’s a philanthropic arm of Google that offers eligible nonprofits up to $10,000 per month for advertising on their search platform. Google Ad Grants can be a game-changer, allowing nonprofits to connect with donors, volunteers, and advocates they might not reach otherwise. It can enhance visibility, expand audience reach, and provide valuable data and insights for refining your marketing strategies.
Types of Nonprofits Eligible for Google Ad Grants
As of 2021, Google Ad Grants were available to various nonprofit organizations. Google did not limit eligibility to specific categories of nonprofits; however, certain types of organizations were not eligible.
Eligible organizations generally included any nonprofit with recognized charitable status in their respective country (as validated through TechSoup or an equivalent organization), provided they met other criteria. Some examples could be charities working in areas like:
- Human services
- Arts and Culture
- Animal welfare
- Environmental protection
- Public and societal benefit
- International affairs
- Health and wellness
- Youth and education
- Science and technology
However, the following types of organizations were not eligible:
- Governmental entities and organizations
- Hospitals and healthcare organizations
- Schools, academic institutions, and universities (though philanthropic arms of educational organizations are often eligible)
Eligibility Criteria for Google Ad Grants
The eligibility criteria for Google Ad Grants are specific and straightforward:
As of 2021, the eligibility criteria for nonprofit organizations in Spain, or any other eligible country, to receive a Google Ad Grant include:
- Nonprofit Status: The organization must hold current valid charity status as determined by the local authority in Spain. Google partners with TechSoup to verify the nonprofit status of each organization.
- Google Nonprofits Program: The organization must be a registered and verified Google for Nonprofits program member.
- Agree to Google’s Policies: The organization must agree to Google’s required certifications regarding non-discrimination and donation receipt and use. The organization’s advertisements, website, and activities must also follow Google’s advertising policies.
- Website: The organization must have a high-quality, active, secure website. The website’s content must be up-to-date and clearly reflect the nonprofit’s mission.
- Not a Government, Hospital, or School: As per the 2021 rules, organizations that are government entities or organizations, hospitals and medical groups, schools, academic institutions, and universities are not eligible for Google Ad Grants.
As of 2021, Google had several specific website requirements for organizations seeking approval for a Google Ad Grant. These requirements are part of Google’s effort to ensure that the program benefits organizations that can use online ads effectively to achieve their goals. Here are the key website requirements:
- Own Your Website: Your organization must own the website domain you’re using to apply for the grant. This means your website cannot be hosted on a third-party site that does not primarily promote your organization.
- High-Quality Website: Your website must be high quality and offer a robust user experience. This typically means that your website must have detailed and updated information about your nonprofit organization, be easy to navigate, and look professional. It should also be quick to load and work well on desktop and mobile platforms.
- Substantial Content: Your website must have substantial content. It should clearly detail your organization’s mission, objectives, and activities. It should also provide clear information on how donations are used and should provide ways for visitors to get involved with or support your organization.
- Secure Website: Your website must be secure, meaning it has an SSL certificate, and the URL starts with ‘https’.
- Functioning Website: Your website must be fully functioning and not under construction. This means all links should be working, all images should load correctly, and they should not have large sections labeled ‘coming soon’ or similar.
- No Commercial Activity: While you can sell products, services, memberships, and so on, the primary purpose of the website should not be to sell goods or services. Any proceeds from sales must go directly towards supporting your program.
- No Overloaded Ads: Your website should not be overloaded with other ads, particularly if they distract from the content or confuse users.
- Clear Description of the Organization: There must be a clear and comprehensive description of the organization, what you do, and your mission statement.
Google Ad Grants Application Procedure
Applying for a Google Ad Grant involves a simple yet detailed process:
- Confirm your eligibility: First, ensure that your nonprofit organization is eligible to participate in the Google Ad Grants program. Google provides a list of requirements on its website. As of 2021, to be eligible, organizations must:
- Hold valid charity status as determined by the local authority in your country.
- Agree to Google’s required certifications regarding nondiscrimination and donation receipt and use.
- Have a functioning website with substantial content.
- Be based in an eligible country.
- Apply for Google for Nonprofits: Before applying for Google Ad Grants, your organization needs to be enrolled in the Google for Nonprofits program. Visit the Google for Nonprofits website and click ‘Get Started’. Follow the instructions to register your organization and verify your nonprofit status.
- Set Up an AdWords Account: If approved for Google for Nonprofits, you will need to set up an AdWords account, the platform you will use to manage and run your ads. Do not enter billing information during this step because Google Ad Grants is a no-cost program.
- Apply for Google Ad Grants: After setting up an AdWords account, you can apply for the Google Ad Grants program directly through the Google for Nonprofits website. You will need to provide information about your organization and your AdWords account.
- Wait for Approval: Google will review your application and decide whether to approve your Google Ad Grants request. The length of time this takes can vary.
- Complete the Ad Grants training: If approved, you must complete the Ad Grants training and pass the Ad Grants Quiz to activate your account.
- Manage and Maintain your Ad Grant: You’ll need to actively manage your AdWords account to meet Google’s performance expectations, including maintaining a certain click-through rate (CTR) and using specific keywords.
- Proof of nonprofit status. This could be a copy of your organization’s tax exemption certificate or a letter from your government agency stating that you are a registered nonprofit.
- Website verification. You will need to provide a copy of your website’s home page and a screenshot of your Google Analytics account showing that your website has at least 100 unique visitors per month.
- Plan for using Google Grants. This brief document describes how you plan to use Google Grants to achieve your organization’s goals.
- Make sure that your website is in your local language. Google Grants are only available to organizations that have websites in the local language of the country where they are located.
- Use relevant keywords in your application. Use keywords relevant to your work when describing your organization’s mission and goals. This will help Google understand your organization and make it more likely that you will be approved for Google Grants.
- Be patient. The application process can take some time. Don’t give up if you don’t hear back from Google immediately.
Running Ads with Google Ad Grants
There are certain conditions for running ads using Google Ad Grants. The grantee should actively manage the account, making at least one change every 90 days. The account should maintain a 5% click-through rate (CTR). Failure to meet these conditions can result in account suspension.
Frequently Asked Questions (TL;DR)
What is Google Ad Grant?
Google Ad Grants is a program offering eligible nonprofits up to $10,000 per month in free advertising on the Google search platform.
Who can apply for Google Ad Grants?
Nonprofit organizations with recognized charitable status in their country, excluding government entities, hospitals, and schools/academic institutions, can apply.
How do you apply for Google Ad Grants?
To apply, verify your eligibility, register for Google for Nonprofits, set up an AdWords account, apply for the grant, and complete the Ad Grants training upon approval.
What are the conditions for running ads with Google Ad Grants?
The grantee must actively manage the account, maintain a 5% click-through rate (CTR), and make at least one change to the account every 90 days.
Can Google Ad Grants benefit my nonprofit organization?
Yes, Google Ad Grants can enhance your visibility, expand your reach, attract more donors, and provide valuable data and insights to refine your marketing strategy.
Google Ad Grants offer a powerful opportunity for nonprofits to leverage the strength of digital marketing without a substantial financial investment. Nonprofits can maximize this tool to create a significant impact in their field. Keep this guide handy as you navigate the process, and make the most of the world of digital marketing for nonprofits.