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Google Grants – $10,000 In Free Ads For Nonprofits

September 26, 2018

Advertising is expensive for anyone, but especially for nonprofits that have to rely on volunteers and donations for funding. They need advertising to get donations but these donations would be much better spent on programs instead of on more advertising. Luckily, Google offers a program called Ad Grants, in which eligible nonprofits can receive $10,000 of AdWords advertising per month. This free advertising does come with a few caveats, but overall it can be a great help to any nonprofit with a digital presence.

The Setup and Verification Process

Before taking any of these steps, the most important requirement for United States based nonprofits is that it is a registered 501c3 charity with the IRS. You get started by first applying to Google for Nonprofits. You then have to get validated online by Google’s partner TechSoup as part of this application. With that process done, you then enroll in AdGrants and start setting up your account. Once you have finalized the entire setup of your account, you then can set up your first campaign and submit it for review. After it is approved, you are now in the Ad Grants program and can begin using the $10,000 per month.

What You Can Do

Ad Grants lets you run text-based search ads to promote your nonprofit. You can send the clicks to whatever page on your site you like, such as a donate or volunteering page. The $10,000 is in the form of a daily budget of $329 (30 or 31 days per month x $329 = approximately $10,000), so you can spend that much on clicks per day. The goal of this program is essentially to give nonprofits free conversions.

What You Can’t Do

While Ad Grants is a great program that will benefit your nonprofit greatly, there are a few things to keep in mind. The ads can only be search ads, no video or display banner ads. Additionally, your search ads will appear in positions that are below the ads of paying advertisers. Neither of these are too onerous, but the hardest requirement is definitely that your maximum cost per click is set at $2*. You can get around this if you choose to use Google’s “Maximize Conversions” automated bidding strategy. Essentially this strategy automatically determines the optimal cost per click bid in order to get the most conversions, and spend all of the money you have available per month.
Assuming you decide not to use the smart strategy, it does place a lot of keywords out of your reach, because the bids are much higher than that. However, if you have plenty of long-tail keywords that are more specific, you can still drive enough traffic to make up for this. To keep your Google Ad Grant, you also have to be active on your account every 30 days, and your ads must run only on the domain you put in your initial application. Additionally, newly added is the requirement to keep your click through rate at or above 5 percent. If you fall below this for two months in a row, your account could be suspended.
If you are a nonprofit, meet the requirements for this program and haven’t already taken advantage of it, go visit and sign up. Despite some of the limitations, it is a generous amount of free advertising, and is worth the effort required to obtain it.