Is the Google Ad Grant Right for Me?

Mar 22, 2022Nonprofits

Everyone knows Google. Even if you don’t use Google’s search engine, it’s still synonymous with looking something up on the internet. However, not everyone knows about Google’s Ad Grants. If you’re a nonprofit organization looking to increase awareness, donations, and volunteers, the Google Ad Grant might be a huge asset to your digital marketing efforts.


If you’re unfamiliar with Google’s Ad Grants, that’s okay! Lots of people don’t even know it’s out there. Essentially, the way it works is a grant allows qualified nonprofits to create ads to show on Google Search. These text-based ads appear either independently or in positions below paid ads. And they are valued at up to $10,000 in in-kind donations each month. For any organization, large or small, that’s a significant marketing budget right there. 


Here are the factors you should consider to see if the Google Ad Grant is right for you.


Is your organization registered as a charitable organization? 

For the purposes of the Google Ad Grant, Google is precise about what it refers to as a charitable organization. For example, if you are a governmental entity/organization or a hospital/healthcare organization, the Google Ad Grant won’t apply to you. If you are an academic institution, Google has a separate program, called Google for Education


Do you have an up-to-date, functioning website?

Google checks to make sure that any links included in your ads are directed back to your website. Therefore your website should be secure, up-to-date, owned by your organization, and share content that is unique to your organization. 


SEO can play a significant role in shaping the content on your website. Basically, if people are searching for something and your website has a page addressing that topic, SEO makes it easier for people to find you. You might have to get a little creative with the SEO keywords you use though — such as using both your organization’s location and a service you provide to drive traffic to your site. 


The key is to identify the right search terms that tend to populate a lot of searches with low competition, and then use the Google Ad Grant to pay for those keywords to be among the first in search results.


Will you be able to monitor the progress of your ad campaigns?

This is crucial because the purpose of the ad grant is to maximize conversions. In this context, a conversion might mean “donations, purchases, ticket sales, membership registrations, email sign-ups, volunteer sign-ups, new membership form completions, petitions signed, quizzes completed, information request submissions, calls to your organization, or engagement with content on your website.” 


Google requires that there be at least one conversion per month. To that end, there needs to be a dedicated staff member or volunteer whose responsibility it is to track the performance of the ad campaign and analyze what’s working and what’s not. 


It’s worth noting that most organizations do not spend the full $10k each month — and that’s okay! Google doesn’t have a spending limit, they just adopt an “If you don’t use it, you lose it” mindset. Another thing to keep in mind is that Google Ad Grants operate very differently from Google Ads. If you have experience with Google Ads, that’s great! Just make sure to pay attention to the requirements of the grant so your organization remains in compliance. 


TLDR: If your (qualified) nonprofit organization has an up-to-date website that answers questions your target audience may be searching for, you can use the grant to reach those searchers, drive them to your site, and capture their attention with the hope of converting them into a donor, prospect, or client. And if you need help, Redstart Creative has been working with the Google Ad Grant for years on behalf of various nonprofits. In fact, it’s one of the services we offer in our digital marketing packages. Visit our website to learn more!


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