Getting Approved for Google Ad Grants

A desk with computers and the computer is displaying graphs.

When it comes to advertising your business or organization online, nonprofits are fighting a tougher battle than most. The hurdle? A nominal paid media budget. Luckily, Google has a program that allows qualifying nonprofit organizations to advertise on their Google AdWords platform for free. That isn’t a misprint…your total cost would be $0. The Google Ad Grant provides a grant of $10,000 of in-kind advertising money to qualifying nonprofit organizations every month.

Why should your organization be excited about this program? With over 40,000 searches happening on Google every second, advertising with AdWords can give you the opportunity to reach thousands of new potential members, volunteers, and donors. Small businesses in the United States pay an average of $10,000 per month advertising with AdWords, and with this program your organization can have the exact same budget with Google picking up the tab. Whether you’re looking to give your year-end appeal an extra boost or get more downloads of your recently published study, the Google Ad Grant can help.

Getting started is easier than you think-here are the steps to get your application approved and start improving your key metrics in under a week.

1. Make Sure You’re Eligible.

Not all organizations qualify for this program, such as government agencies and academic institutions, so before you get too excited check out this page for exclusions and restrictions.

2. Apply For Google For Nonprofits.

Google for Nonprofits will give you access not only to the Ad Grant, but other Google products such as GSuite, which can help your organization operate more efficiently and raise funds and awareness, at no cost. For organizations in the United States, you’ll need to register with TechSoup before submitting your application to Google for Nonprofits. Once you do, click here to complete your application. It may take a few days for your application to be approved.

3. Create Your Account And Enroll In Google Ad Grants.

After your golden ticket of approval, you’re ready to create your account and begin the setup process. There are some specific requirements for approval, so if your organization already has an AdWords account you’ll need to set up a new one.

A. There are two options here-AdWords and AdWords Express. If you’re familiar with the AdWords platform and want more control over your keywords, go with AdWords. If your organization has limited time and resources to dedicate to advertising online, AdWords Express is a more automated option that allows for a laissez-faire ad management style.

B. Here is the account configuration that you’ll need to have in your account to guarantee approval-with links to how-to articles where appropriate. Since Google frequently updates their AdWords interface, read through this entire list before beginning the set up to be sure you don’t miss anything.

•  Currency is USD (no matter where you are located).

•  Do NOT add any billing information. You will get alerts-please ignore them.

•  Create one active search campaign.

•  Create two active ad groups within that campaign, each containing closely related keywords. (You can create more, these are minimums.)

•  Add at least two sitelink extensionsCallout extensions are also highly recommended.

•  Use geo targeting to narrow your audience.

•  Ads should link to a relevant landing page.

•  Ads link to a high-quality, organization owned and operated website.

•  Commercial activity must be minimal, and any activity must support your organization’s mission

•  Limited ads

•  Set up conversion tracking. This can be any action that your organization deems valuable, from filling out a contact form to donating.

Some other settings for bids and campaigns that are exclusive to Ad Grant accounts:

You’ll have a total budget of $329/day ($10,000/avg. days in a month) to split between ALL of your campaigns.

Use manual bidding with a default bid of $2.00 for all keywords.

Maintain a CTR (click-through-rate) of at least 5%.

If you get lost, Google has provided a handy step-by-step guide that can be found here to make the process easier on nonprofits.Only search network campaigns are available, which means no display ads or search partners. Nonprofits are eligible for some YouTube advertising, but that is under a separate program.

4. Submit Your Account For Approval

Once your account is set up, you’ll log back into Google for Nonprofits to submit your account for review. Keep your account ID handy, which can be found by clicking the person icon in the top right-hand corner of your account. Sign in and select the checkbox for Ad Grants enrollment and submit your account ID.

The approval process may take a few days, and you’ll be notified via email when your organization’s account has been approved.

5. Maintain & Optimize

Once you’re approved, you can build out more campaigns, optimize your keyword lists, and test out new ad copy, but keep in mind that you’ll need to maintain all of the above settings in order to remain eligible. Stay tuned for more tips and tricks for optimization.

If you could use a hand setting up your AdWords account for approval, or optimizing your campaigns once it’s up and running, Matchfire is here to help. Drop us a line here.