Shout out to all non-profit organizations! Looking to enhance your advertising efforts without breaking the bank? You’ll be happy to learn that Google Ads has an initiative called the Google Grant Program. This amazing opportunity provides non-profits with a chance to advertise on their platform for free.
Wait, For Real?
Yep! Sounds made up, right? But it’s true. In case you didn’t know, Google Ads used to be called Google AdWords. It’s a frequently-used online tool with a range of paid ad campaign opportunities.
It’s used by everyone from small businesses to conglomerate corporations. Google Ads is an invaluable resource that can change the game when it comes to advertising. This makes the Google Grant Program all the more exciting.
There’s a lot to learn about this program and its eligibility requirements.
Social Link + Non-Profits = Heart-Eyed Emoji
Before we get into the nitty gritty details, we should mention that Social Link has a history of working with many different non-profits.
We proudly offer 10% off labor rates for qualified non-profit organizations, because we know how hard you work. What your company does is important, and we appreciate all you do.
Now let’s go ahead and dive in.
Google Ad Grants Program Overview
As previously mentioned, the Google Ad Grants Program gives non-profit companies the ability to advertise on Google Ads with no price tag attached. Qualified, Google-approved organizations receive $10,000 USD per month in Google Ads dollars. This marketing spend helps the non-profits carry out their mission and promote their initiatives.
Google isn’t just throwing out money to any organization who calls themselves a non-profit. In order to qualify, companies must go through an application process. Once the grant is received, the program regulations must be followed, otherwise the non-profit could lose the grant. You gotta play by the rules if you want to keep that $10k!
Does My Company Qualify for a Google Grant?
To be eligible for a Google Grant, non-profits need to apply to Google for Non-profits. The specific offerings, requirements, and resources Google for Non-profits provide are available on their page. Non-profits also need to make sure their company meets the following criteria:
- Currently hold a valid charity status. If you’re in the United States, this means your organization needs to have a current 501(c)(3) status. If you’re outside the US, the status specifications are different.
- Be approved through the Ad Grants pre-qualification process.
- Agree to Google Grant’s required certifications, which specify how to receive and use donations obtained from the grant.
- Have a high-quality website with adequate information and details on the non-profit.
- Be based in one of the 51 countries that Google works with already.
Which Organizations are Ineligible?
Governmental entities and organizations as well as hospitals and medical groups are all ineligible for the grant. The same goes for schools, childcare centers, academic institutions, and universities. The only exceptions are philanthropic arms of educational organizations.
The good news is educational entities can still find resources and other forms of support through Google. Visit here for more information.
Maintaining Google Grant Eligibility
Congrats! You’ve got your grant. Now what?
Non-profits must abide by Google’s Grant Program policies in order to maintain grant eligibility. An Ad Grant mission-based policy compliance guide is available online. In addition, Google provides organizations with plenty of online resources to guide them through this journey.
- No single-word keywords permitted. Exceptions to this rule include your own brand keywords and approved medical conditions. It’s easy to pause single keywords using a filter. A step-by-step guide on filtering keywords and pausing them can be found here.
- No overly generic keywords permitted. Google’s policy requires overly generics keywords that “don’t indicate the intent of the person searching” to be paused or removed. Examples include basic phrases like “free videos,” “e-books,” or “today’s news.”
- No keywords with a quality score of 1 or 2 permitted. Simply check your quality score regularly to make sure non-permitted keywords are paused. An automated rule can also be set up so you don’t have to manually pause the words. An account’s quality score can be found in a column in the Keywords tab. It may not show up by default. If this is the case, it’s easy to add it.
- Must maintain a 5% click-through rate (CTR) each month. Google has a 7-step list to help guide non-profits through a CTR corrections process. These additional tips for improving CTR may be helpful as well.
- Must have valid conversion tracking, if applicable. This means that organizations should report at least one conversion per month. The total number of clicks won’t be equal to the total number of conversions.
- Must have at least 2 ads per ad group. These ads should lead to relevant, meaningful landing pages. Google suggests that the ad rotation is set to “optimize.”
- Must have at least 2 ad groups per campaign. Keywords should align with associated ads and landing pages. The Search Terms report will help organizations see what word searches resulted in a good CTR.
- Must have at least 2 sitelink ad extensions. Sitelinks offer more opportunities to click directly from an ad to a landing page on a non-profit’s site.
- Must respond to program survey. This one’s easy! An annual program survey is sent to the login email addresses on the Ad Grants account. It needs to be completed with the proper customer ID entered.
Failing to do any of the above may result in account deactivation.
All the ads in must link to your non-profit URL. This is the URL that was approved in the earlier application process.
Non-profits need to log into their Google Ads account monthly to stay active and properly manage their ads. Otherwise, Google has the right to pause the account with zero notification.
The promoted advertisements must reflect the non-profit’s mission. Products for sale can be advertised only if 100% of the proceeds go to support the organization.
The ads cannot point visitors to pages that send users to other sites. This isn’t time to have sponsored links on a page and send people down an Internet rabbit hole.
It seems obvious, but it should still be stated that financial products like mortgages, loans, or credit cards cannot be advertised.
Organizations are forbidden from asking users for large donations in the form of cars, boats, or property donations. Keywords related to any of these activities are also not allowed.
The website cannot display ads from Google AdSense or other affiliate advertising links while participating in Google Grants.
Any violation of these guidelines means Google can remove the offending account from the grant program. They also reserve the right to supplement or amend the eligibility rules and regulations at any time.
What Else We Should Know?
Non-profit recipients of a Google Grant receive free advertising, as we already know. However, the ads will only be displayed on Google.com. This means no Search Partners and no Display Network ads. Keep in mind that the Grant ads are text only. If you’re interested in having an ad with imagery, graphics, etc., this program will not fulfill that want.
Ad Grants ads don’t compete with paid Google Search campaigns. The Grant ads appear only on Google’s search results pages, either independently or in positions beneath paid ads.
Each non-profit is in total control of their account, from building to managing the ads. Google will not manage it for anyone, even if an organization wanted them to.
What Are Some Specific Restrictions?
In terms of budgeting, non-profits have a max daily spend of $329 per day. This equates to around $10,000 per month.
For manual bidding, there is a a maximum cost-per-click (CPC) limit of $2.00. Smart Bidding strategies Maximize Conversions, Target ROAS, and Target CPA can bid over $2.00 in an effort to gain more conversions, if appropriate to a non-profit’s account goals. Please note that other Smart Bidding strategies are capped at $2.00 CPC.
One crucial thing to remember? If you don’t use it, you lose it. Eek! Yes, that’s right. If non-profits fail to spend the $10,000 per month, they lose it. It doesn’t roll over to the next month or go to another organization. It’s gone. Use that money wisely, and make sure it doesn’t go to waste. That being said, there is no penalty or requirement for not spending the full $10,000 each month.
Tips and Tricks
All this information might seem overwhelming, especially to non-profits who don’t spend a lot of time on advertising strategies. It may be intimidating to get into the marketing frame of mind. However, it isn’t as intense as it may seem. With some time, research, and practice, non-profit organizations can take the Google Grants world by storm and find success! Here are a few assorted tips and tricks that may be helpful.
- Set negative keywords to block out irrelevant traffic, but don’t go overboard. Include keywords that relate to looking for non-profit volunteers and non-monetary donations if applicable.
- Check out query information to see what queries are triggering your ads and to monitor for irrelevant traffic.
- Think outside of the box when crafting keywords. Select relevant terms and match types, but also brainstorm and try to get more creative than usual. There are probably a lot more keywords associated with your non-profit than you realize at first. Dive deep and take some time to think things through.
- Remember: the focus of this entire initiative is to drive meaningful outcomes for your non-profit’s mission. It isn’t just about making money. Yes, you want to be successful and raise money for your non-profit. However, it’s also about brand awareness and expressing the organization’s values and mission. There is a value beyond just getting donations.
- Always keep best practices in mind. Approach the ad creation the same way you would if you were paying for the service.
This is just an overview of the initiative, so if you want to get more into the nitty-gritty, feel free to explore Google’s resources.
For more details and specifics on the Ad Grants program, please visit the Ad Grants Help page.
Good luck on your advertising journey! Thanks for stopping by to learn more about the Google Ads Grant program.
Don’t forget that Social Link offers discounted labor rates for qualified non-profit organizations.
Take advantage of our wide range of services if you’re looking to ramp up your advertising efforts, rebrand your website, create killer content, and more!
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