Google Ad Grants complete guide


    Looking to increase your nonprofit’s online visibility and reach more potential donors? Google Ad Grants offers eligible organizations up to $10,000 per month in advertising credits. This guide teaches how to apply and effectively manage your Ad Grants campaigns. Whether new to Google Ads or an experienced advertiser, this guide will help you make the most of your account.

    What is Google Ad Grants?

    Google launched the Ad Grants program in 2003, providing $10,000 per month to qualified nonprofits.

    The program offers 501(c)(3), public benefit corporations, and trade associations grants. They must be registered nonprofits and comply with the program’s rules.

    Nonprofit applicants must submit a proposal with a budget breakdown detailing how they plan to use the funds over the next 12 months. In addition, they must agree to keep Google updated about their progress throughout the grant.

    Once approved, nonprofits receive a monthly Google Ads credit of $10,000.

    Where is the Google Ad Grants program available?

    Currently, the Google Ad Grants program is available in the following countries:

    Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United, Kingdom and United States

    This list constantly grows, with new countries benefitting from this precious help.

    Use cases for Google Ad Grants

    Intro: Google Ad Grants is a valuable tool for nonprofits looking to increase their online visibility and reach more potential donors. But how can you effectively use your Ad Grants account to achieve your marketing goals? In this paragraph, we will explore a variety of use cases for Google Ad Grants and provide examples of how organizations have successfully used the program to promote their services and mission.

    Use case 1 – Grow your email list

    There are several ways to grow your nonprofit e-mail list, and one of the most effective is through Google Ad Grants. You can quickly and easily add new subscribers to your list by running ads specifically targeted at those interested in your cause.

    Use case 2 – Promote your events and announcements

    Google Ad Grants is a powerful tool that can help you promote your events and reach a wider audience. You can target potential attendees by location, interests, and keywords. You can also create customized ads that are specifically designed for your event. Google Ads is an effective way to reach out to potential attendees and promote your event.

    Use case 3 – Sell products to generate revenue

    Google Ad Grants is an effective way to sell products online. By creating ads and targeting them to specific audiences, nonprofits can reach a large number of potential customers. Google Ads also allows businesses to track the performance of their ads and adjust their campaigns accordingly.

    Use case 4 – Promote your blog articles

    Google search Ads is one of the most popular and effective ways to promote your blog content. By creating ads that target specific keywords, you can ensure that your content is highly visible to potential readers who are searching for information on the topics you cover. This can be a great way to get your content in front of an wider audience.

    Advantages and disadvantages of Google Ad Grants

    We must recognize that this program brings immense value to charities worldwide. But do you know its advantages and disadvantages? We list some of them here below.

    Advantages of Google Ad Grants

    Nonprofit organizations will benefit from Google Ad Grants, especially if they’re on a tight budget. Since it’s a grant, they will have free search engine advertising credits on their account. As a result, they don’t have to shell out a budget from their organizations’ finances to create a google ad campaign to reach more people for their causes.

    With Google ad grants, grantees must create text-based ads to aid and promote their organization’s mission; thus, they can reach more donors and volunteers online. Below, we list a few of the advantages Google Ad Grants can bring to your nonprofit:

    Generate website traffic & raise awareness

    Telling the world what your mission is about is no simple task. Building and maintaining a well-functioning website takes a lot of time and effort. But this is just the beginning. A website with no traffic it’s not serving its purpose. Google Ad Grants can be your major traffic source to raise awareness for your nonprofit organization. Let’s assume you can attract potential donors at $2 per click on your ads. You can potentially attract 5,000 visits a month with this grant. No charity can afford to say no to this help.

    Generate important actions on your website

    Of course, your charity can use this traffic to convert them into donors, and volunteers, hire supporters to help raise awareness and much more. And because the internet never sleeps, this machine can work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, helping you achieve your nonprofit goals.

    Boost your overall marketing efforts

    The power of well-managed Google Ad Grants is the potential synergy with other marketing channels, such as e-mail and SEO. Each one of them helps the other. Suddenly, your marketing department becomes a well-oiled machine.

    More immediate results

    Contrary to SEO, Google Ads can bring you immediate results. Well-researched keywords and well-built search campaigns can generate immediate results for most of your marketing goals.

    Disadvantages of Google Ad Grants

    Even though I’m a huge Google Ad Grants enthusiast, I have to admit that this program has its drawbacks. Let me list some of them here:

    The arduous learning curve for newbies

    Google Ads is an extremely powerful platform. And as such, it demands some training from the user. A simple campaign setup can be a headache for most newbies. Google ads have many targeting options, and the interface is full of features. It can take years to master it.

    It still needs money for display and video campaigns

    The Google Ad Grants program only covers search ads on Google. No display campaigns and no video campaigns on YouTube. No search partners. Only Google search (which is already a huge benefit). Bear in mind: if your organization needs to build a display or video campaign, you’ll have to open another Google Ads account and pay to run these campaigns.

    Compliance guidelines

    Once your campaigns are running and grabbing traffic to your website, you must ensure your account is in good shape. The Google Grants program imposes some standards if you want to keep eligible. They are relatively easy to follow, but most nonprofit marketing professionals are busy with multiple other tasks. I get it. If it’s your case, make sure you take care of your account and place a compliance program to ensure you stay eligible (which is my next point in this article)

    Eligibility guide for Google Ad Grants

    A nonprofit organization wanting a Google Ad Grant must be in good standing. However, not all organizations can be grantees. In addition, there are guidelines on what type of nonprofit organizations are given grants in a specific country.

    Organizations interested in creating their own Google for Nonprofit accounts must meet certain eligibility requirements:

    First: To register as a charity in any of the countries mentioned in the introduction of this article, you must verify that you’re a non-profit organization. To do so, contact the local TechSoup office or the local TechSoups partner in your country.

    Second: Look up your location in the list at the beginning of this article and ensure your organization meets your location’s requirements.

    Third: Agree to the terms and conditions of Google for Nonprofits’ additional terms of service.

    To be eligible, your nonprofit cannot be one of the organization types listed here below:

    • Governmental entity or organization
    • Hospital or healthcare organization
    • School, academic institution, or university (Google for Education offers a separate program for schools)

    How to apply for Google Ad Grants?

    Before your nonprofit organization can apply for a Google Ad grant, it must be verified by TechSoup first.

    As Wikipedia mentions, “TechSoup, founded in 1987 as CompuMentor and later known as TechSoup Global, is a nonprofit international network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that provides technical support and technological tools to other nonprofits”. TechSoup, together with its local partners worldwide, verifies nonprofit organizations.

    Steps with TechSoup

    • Get Verified By TechSoup

    If your nonprofit organization is outside the United States, apply directly with your country’s TechSoup or its local partner.

    For those in the United States, 

    • Visit the Google for Nonprofits page. 
    • Click the Get Started on the top right page and follow the next steps.

    Google will then send TechSoup the details you put on the Google Nonprofit page to verify your organization. Verification usually takes 2 to 14 business days but can take 30 days in some cases. So first, check your spam folder, then contact TechSoup if you have yet to receive feedback from them within this timeframe.  

    Get Your TechSoup Validation Token

    If TechSoup or its local partner has verified your nonprofit organization, you will then have a validation token that will be used to request an account in Google for Nonprofits. 

    Sign in to your TechSoup account or its local partner to get your validation token. The token will look something like this “123c492@MyOrgName.” The token will expire in 60 days, but you can create a new one if you need.

    If you need help with verification, you can contact TechSoup or its local partner. Visit the website of TechSoup. On the site, choose your country, select Help and click Contact Us.

    Google Ad Grants activation guide

    For your Google Ad Grant’s activation process, follow the steps below. You can only add other users to manage the account after it has been successfully activated.

    Step 1: Verify that your website is secure with HTTPS

    To verify if your website is secure with HTTPS, 

    • You need to sign in Google Nonprofits page.
    • On the Google Ad Grants tab, click Get Started.
    • Put your organization’s website that will use the Ad Grant.
    • Then click Submit website to see if your website is secure.

    Step 2: Complete the Ad Grants eligibility form

    There will be a 20-minute assessment to determine if your organization is eligible for a Google Ad Grant. First, you need to fill out the eligibility form. Then you have to answer some queries about your organization and how the grant can help your organization.

    Step 3: Submit your activation for review

    The third step for the Google Ad Grant activation is to submit your activation for review.

    • Go to the Google Nonprofits page again.
    • On the Google Ad Grants tab, click Get Started.
    • Confirm that you have filled out the eligibility form by clicking on the checkbox.
    • Submit your activation for review by clicking Submit Activation Request.

    The review will take about three business days, and instructions will be sent to your registered email.

    Google Ad Grants compliance guide

    Your organization got access to the program. Congratulations! Now what?

    There are compliance guidelines that you have to follow for your Google Ad Grant to be continuously active. Failure to comply with the guidelines can cause an account suspension, and your ads will stop running. To be compliant, you have to keep in mind the following guidelines.

    Requirement 1: No single-word keywords permitted

    The keywords you use must be relevant to your campaign. To be compliant, you should not use a single-word keyword. Why? Honestly, it would be vague. For example, suppose your nonprofit organization aims to provide clean water in areas where it is scarce. Using the keyword “water” could appear in almost all searches that type “water.” You will not be able to reach the right target with a single keyword.

    In short, don’t use overly broad keywords unless they are your own branded terms that reflect your organization’s mission. Also exempted from this restriction are single keywords about medical conditions, acronyms, and those listed exempted from this rule, such as charity, donate, nonprofit, volunteer, homeless, bully, and many others.

    Requirement 2: No overly generic keywords permitted

    In the mission-based policy of the Google Ad Grant, overly generic keywords are not permitted. Names of organizations, places, historical events, terms like “best videos,” “things to do,” and many similar keywords can be flagged and disapproved for unclear relevance. The keywords that you will use in your ad are the keywords that, when people type to search on them, your ad can appear in their search results.

    Requirement 3: No keywords with a quality score of 1 or 2 are permitted

    The quality score indicates the quality of your ads and keywords. It also determines whether the users find the ads worthwhile. It has a scale of 1 to 10. The keywords on your ad should not have a quality score of 1 or 2. Keywords with these scores should be paused or removed to avoid the risk of the account being temporarily deactivated.

    The best way to avoid this is to create an automated rule on your Google ads account that if a keyword’s quality score falls below three, the keywords should then be paused. 

    Requirement 4: Must maintain a 5% click-through rate (CTR) each month

    A click-through rate (CTR) determines how many clicks your ad has over the number of times it was shown. A CTR of 5% must be maintained to avoid temporary account deactivation and to ensure that your ad is relevant. Two consecutive months of below 5% CTR will temporarily deactivate your account, and repeated violations of the policies can suspend it permanently.

    Pausing generic keywords, adding negative keywords, setting geo-tagging and, of course, writing attractive and effective ads for your target audience are steps to avoid account suspension. Moreover, you can request Ad Grants’ account reactivation if your account has been deactivated.

    Requirement 5: You must have valid conversion tracking, if applicable

    Google Ad Grants require that you have accurate conversion tracking. Examples of these conversions are sign-ups for newsletters, donations, volunteering, purchases, or filling out forms to support the nonprofit organization. You must have at least one valid conversion each month. Google Analytics should be installed on your website to set and track conversions. 

    Building your campaigns

    To effectively deliver your message, you must persuade your target audience to your objective. For example, if you want your audience to donate, volunteer, or buy a product, you must be able to convince them with your message. By building the right ad campaign, you want your audience to act on what you want them to do. You can do this by following the instructions below.

    Campaign settings

    You can create as many campaigns as you want. However, too many can be hard to manage, so construct campaigns that align with your nonprofit organization’s mission. Each campaign will have a goal that will benefit your nonprofit organization. By clicking “New Campaign,” you can create your campaign on your Google Ad Grant dashboard. You can create multiple campaigns, but there should only be one goal for every campaign. For example, goals could be web traffic, sales, or leads.

    • Name your campaign in a way that’s easy to understand and that will support your ad objectives for your nonprofit organization.
    • Set a budget and bidding strategy for your campaign. 
    • Geo-target your campaign, meaning you should put a location on which place (country or city) your ad will show.
    • Choose the language for your campaign.

    Structuring your ad groups

    With the Google Ad Grant campaigns, there must be at least two ad groups for each campaign and two ads per ad group. The ads will lead to the relevant landing pages of your nonprofit organization’s website. Each ad group must have related keywords on them. Think of keywords that your target audience will use with your nonprofit organization’s goals.

    Keyword research

    Your Google ads should target the right audience. So you should know what they are searching for; this is where keyword research will come in. Since only text ads are included in your Google Ad Grants, selecting the right keywords is necessary. It would be best to learn what your audiences are searching for so your ad will be on top of their search result list. In building your campaign, Google Ad Grant can suggest keywords related to your website.

    Writing ads

    In writing your Google Ad Grant, you emphasize what your organization does, how it is unique compared to other organizations, and how your reader can help your organization. If you can convince your target audience with your well-written ad, you can make them act to achieve your ad objective, thus achieving a better result for your Ad Grant.

    Message (rhetoric devices)

    How To Fine-tune Your Message

    You have to get your message right across your target audience. You can create messages that appeal to their logical thinking, their emotions and show your organization’s authority and credibility on the subject matter.

    Logos: You create your ads based on logic and reason then you can persuade your target audience with your ad’s call to action. People will usually listen and follow you if you can present scientifically based ideas, statements backed by statistics, and logical facts. You can convince people if you create a message they will see as the fundamental truth that will appeal to their intelligence.

    Pathos: With this, you appeal to the audience’s emotions. You create a message that will trigger their sympathy, show how they can be good citizens of the world and make a difference in a person’s life in their little way through your organization. Convince them that they can be socially-responsible individuals by being involved in your grant ad objective.

    Ethos: Ethos is a kind of appeal where you show your organization’s credibility and authority in your ad. For example, several nonprofit organizations may be similar to your objective and would claim that with their help, they can change lives or save the environment. So you create a message that shows your organization’s stand on a thing that matters to your audience, that you are credible, and that they can trust to work with you. 

    Landing pages

    Landing pages are essential because they are the destinations for your ads. Therefore, when someone clicks on your advertisement, they assume they will be on the page with the relevant information mentioned in the ad. So your landing pages must answer what’s on your ads.

    You must create a landing page that is easy to use and provides valuable information. Your landing page should match your ad and the keywords used. Also, it should reflect your ad’s call-to- to action. 

    Tracking and visualizing campaign performance

    Tracking campaign performance is essential to determine the actions of the people who interacted with your ads, whether they signed up, donated, purchased or volunteered on your website. 

    Google recommends using Google Analytics.

    Google Analytics

    Google Analytics is a tracking tool that shows what’s happening on your website, its traffic, and where it came from. It tells the location of the visitors to your website, the contents they were looking for, and what they do when they are on your site. It collects user data from your visitor, which generates customizable reports for your ad performance. 

    If you want to use Google Analytics as your ad-tracking tool, you should link your Google Analytics account to your Google Ads account. Google Analytics provides information about your ads (campaigns, ad groups and keywords) and how you can improve their performances. To learn more about Google Analytics for nonprofits, click this link.

    Google Analytics alternatives

    Google Analytics is a widely used web analytics service that provides valuable insights into website traffic and user behaviour. However, it may not always be the best fit for every business or website. If you’re considering alternatives to Google Analytics, several other options offer similar functionality and may better meet your needs. In this paragraph, we will explore some of the alternative solutions available for website analytics and examine the features and benefits of each.

    Looker Studio (Formerly Google Data Studio)

    Most humans process information quickly and easily if we see visual content such as graphs, charts, and pictures. You can see patterns and trends of data presented through them. They are easier to understand than plain old text. That’s why analytical tools that have visualization tools are much more helpful for data analysis, even if you are not a specialist. You can tell meaningful and impactful stories of your organization’s web traffic data through data visualizations; this is where Looker Studio comes in. It transforms data that is easier to read for an insightful understanding of your website’s activities through its intuitive smart, customizable and shareable reports. Big data? No problem. You can visualize them using Looker Studio.

    Looker Studio, formerly Google Data Studio, has a web interface that is easy to use. Through its report editor, you can create a customizable report by dragging data from your different connected resources (data connectors), so you can easily visualize what your data contains. You can share your data and dashboards with your team or an individual. It has a free and paid version; Looker Studio Pro is for enterprise customers with expanded administrative features and collaboration tools. 

    Google Ad Grants FAQ

    Can we have both Google Ad Grants and regular Google ad accounts simultaneously?

    Yes, you can, and in most cases, it’s advisable. Here are some reasons:

    Reason 1: Adds Impact 

    It adds impact, and you can access features like video ads, image ads, and remarketing.

    Reason 2: More visibility 

    It will not compete with your paid ads, so your organization’s ad will have more visibility. Paid ads come before Grant Ads, and people typically look at the top search results.

    Reason 3: Increases conversion rates

    You can use the data you gathered in your Grant Ad to create a paid ad to increase your nonprofit organization’s conversion rates.

    Want to know more?

    Check the following links with extra resources for you

    Feeling overwhelmed? Contact a Google Ad Grants agency today.



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