Google Ads Grant Program for Nonprofits

What is the Google Ads Grant for Nonprofits?How To Apply For The Google AdWords GrantCommon Mistakes Made With The Google Ads Grant Program

What is the Google Ads Grant for Nonprofits?

What could your nonprofit do with $10,000 per month in advertising on Google Ads? Could you get the word out about your cause to more people who might be in need of your services? Could you recruit more volunteers? Could you bring in more donations?

The Google Ads Grant Program provides nonprofits with the opportunity to advertise on Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) for free. The program gives qualified organizations $10,000 per month to promote their initiatives on Google.

You may never have heard of Google Ads, but you undoubtedly have seen them. They are the ads that show up in the listings when you do a search on

Google provides qualified nonprofits with $10,000 worth of these ads every month for free. This can be a great source for extra traffic to your website to share your cause with your community or the world. It’s an opportunity that every nonprofit should be taking advantage of.

ad example for nonprofits

In order to qualify for the Google Ads Grant Program, nonprofits must meet the following criteria:

  • Hold current and valid 501(c)(3) status.
  • Acknowledge and agree to Google Grant’s required certifications.
  • Have a website that defines your nonprofit and its mission.
  • Hospitals, medical groups, academic institutions, childcare centers, and government organizations are not eligible.

(Google does provide a similar program specifically for educational institutions.)

If you meet those requirements, you can follow our guide for applying to the Google Ads Grant Program. It’s a fairly simple process, but check out our guide to avoid any common pitfalls.

After applying, it can take up to a couple of months to be approved before you can start using the grant money. Because of the sometimes slow turnaround, you want to make sure you are doing everything right the first time, which again is why you should read our guide before applying.

Running Your Ad Campaign

After you have everything set up and are ready to start using your Google Ads account, start slow because your ads do have to meet minimum performance levels to remain in the program. There are also a few other guidelines to the program you will want to make sure you are following in order to remain eligible.

Once you get things up and running efficiently, maximize your advertising. Any of the $10,000 that is not used each month does not get carried over. It’s use it or lose it. It’s a lot to spend and in some smaller communities you may not be able to reach the max on a monthly basis.

Here are a few tips you can use to try to get the most out of your advertising budget:

Use multiple campaigns and multiple ad groups in each campaign. Ad groups are housed within campaigns. You can have multiple campaigns running at the same time. The campaign level is where you control the budget. If you want 25% of your ad budget to go to soliciting donations, 30% to attracting volunteers, and 45% to advertising your services, you would setup up a campaign for donations, a campaign for volunteers, and a campaign for services, each with a daily budget that matches those goals.

Ad groups are where your desired search terms and ads are housed. You can have multiple ad groups within each campaign. Do not make the mistake of putting everything under one ad group. Separate them based on what you want to advertise.

For example, if you have a community center that wants to advertise multiple services, such as swimming lessons, exercise classes, child after school programs, and public events, you would have 4 different ad groups, one for each of those services inside your services campaign.

Relevancy. Make sure your ads are relevant to the search terms you are bidding on. When people search for something, they are more likely to click on your ad if they see the same words they searched (or close variants) are showing up in the ad. Do not just write general ads about your nonprofit. Make your ads specific to the search query.

Going along with that, you can choose which page visitors land on when they click on your ad. If you are advertising your exercise classes, then have the visitors land on the most relevant page on your site about the classes you offer instead of just leading them to your home page.

Make Your Ads Stick Out. You are trying to stand out from the crowd. People’s eyes can be drawn to capital letters. Capitalize the first letter of important words in your ads. Do not capitalize entire words. That is against Google’s ToS and the ads will be rejected.

Don’t be afraid to be creative when possible. If you are advertising for volunteers, instead of using a headline like Volunteers Wanted try running an ad with headlines like

  • Want to Change the World? | Start Right Here
  • Compassionate People Wanted | Volunteer Today
  • Brighten Someone’s Day | Volunteer at {insert nonprofit}
  • Heroes Wanted | Do You Have What It Takes?

Grab their attention and you will get more clicks out of curiosity if nothing else.

Monitor Your Performance. Google Ads are not a set it and forget it marketing strategy. Your ad performance may change over time depending on trends, your site performance, your competitors, and a number of other factors.

You should constantly be testing new ads in each ad group. Never run only one ad. Run two with different copy that are set to show on a 50/50 split. See which one performs better over time. Get rid of the loser and write a new ad to replace it.

Constantly be monitoring and testing.

Need Help?

If your marketing team has never run a Google Ads campaign before it can be a little daunting getting started. If you would like training, consulting, or full management of your campaign, then fill out this brief contact form and we will be in touch to discuss how we can help.

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