Grants are valuable sources of funding for nonprofits. Fortunately, there are lots of grants available if you have the time to look for them. However, they’re not always easy to get because competition for them is generally pretty strong.
One of the grant programs you may have overlooked comes from a grant maker whose name you probably see every day—Google. Google Grants is a program that you should have on your radar, and here’s why. Google processes internet searches by the trillions. Just think about how many times you pull up a Google search every day. With access to so much exposure, Google Ads are an excellent way to do outreach. What’s more, Google Adwords is a lucrative way for nonprofits to earn funding to support programs and activities.
In the interest of helping your nonprofit find grants, we’re offering a guide to Google Ad Grants and offering some tips for how to use Google Ads to raise money for your nonprofit.
What Is the Google Grants for Nonprofits Program All About?
Grants often come in the form of money, but they can also take on other forms. Google has something valuable to offer nonprofits, and that’s advertising. The Google Ad Grants for nonprofits program allows qualified nonprofits the opportunity to advertise their organizations using Google Ads. In fact, Google has awarded over $10 billion in free ads since 2003. Over 115,000 nonprofits in 51 countries have already seized this grant opportunity.
Here’s what you get with Google Grants:
- $10,000 to spend on Google Ads to promote your mission and programs on the Google.com platform. You get it every month!
- Your ads will appear next to search results when a user searches for a nonprofit just like yours.
Your board should be aware that Google has specific qualifications to participate in the program. Here’s what you need to know:
- Your organization must have a valid, current 501(c)(3) determination.
- You must agree to the required certifications for Google Ad Grants which outlines how you will receive donations and the rules for using the grant.
- Your organization must have a functioning website that gives all the details on your nonprofit.
Not all nonprofits qualify for this program. Google lists the following types of programs as ineligible for the program:
- Governmental bodies and organizations
- Hospitals, clinics, and medical groups
- Schools, childcare centers, educational institutions, and universities
Note that Google has a separate program for educational institutions.
Ensuring Continuous Eligibility for the Google Ad Grant
The Google Adwords Grant for nonprofits program is a lucrative program, so you’ll want to make sure that you continually meet the criteria for eligibility.
We’ve outlined the rules below:
- You’re required to link all the Google Ads in your account to the URL that you listed on your application.
- Google requires nonprofits to actively manage their Google Ads accounts. Approved nonprofits must log in to their accounts at least once per month or Google will pause your grant without notifying you.
- You must create ads that reflect your nonprofit’s mission.
- You’re allowed to use ads to sell products, as long as you allocate 100% of the proceeds toward your programs and activities.
- Google forbids nonprofits from creating ads and pointing them to pages with the intent of sending visitors to other websites.
- It’s against the rules to offer financial products such as mortgages, loans, or credit cards.
- You may not create ads that ask for large donations such as cars, boats, homes, or land.
- While you’re participating in the Google Ads Grants for nonprofits program, you’re not allowed to display ads on your website from Google AdSense or other affiliate advertising links.
Nonprofits that don’t abide by the rules are subject to being removed from the program. Be very careful about the keywords you choose so that you can be sure that you’re staying within the rules.
Tips on Effective Marketing with the Google Ads Grant Program
It will be an exciting day when you get approved for the Google Ads Grant for nonprofits program. At this point, Google lets you take the wheel. It’s best to assign the task of managing your ads to a specific person who has the time to actively manage your Google Ads account just as any for-profit company would.
Bear in mind that you can’t spend your advertising dollars just anywhere. You have to spend them on the Google.com platform. The person you choose to be your Google Ads manager will need to be aware of the restrictions around using your grant.
Here’s what you need to know:
- You have to set your daily budget at $329, which adds up to around $10,000 for the year.
- You have to set your maximum cost-per-click (CPC) at a rate that’s under $2.
- You can’t place your ads on Search Partners or the Google Display Network, only on Google.com.
- If you don’t choose to use your grant, you lose the funds for that month.
Digital marketers will tell you that there are dozens of strategies to make your advertising dollars go further. You don’t need to use all of them to have an effective Google Ads campaign, and you don’t have to be a master digital marketer either. What you do need to do is to deploy a few good strategies and proactively monitor your ads. With that in mind, here are three basic marketing tips to get you started.
- Use negative keywords. This means that you tell Google which keywords you want to be excluded so that your ads aren’t displaying in front of people that have no interest in your nonprofit.
- Select the most appropriate keywords. Try to think about the types of words that people would be typing into a search box to find a nonprofit like yours. Choose keywords that are relevant to your nonprofit and some that pertain to volunteering.
- Use broad keyword match types. This is a strategy that will bring you lots of impressions (views) and clicks. The goal here is to choose keywords that are competitive and still stay under your $2 CPC limit.
At BoardEffect, we want your nonprofit to be successful. Our board management system is the perfect solution for secure internal board communication related to grants and all your other board business. With our platform, you can create online board books, share files, store documents, and much more. It’s an efficient way to conduct board business so you can focus on fundraising and building your programs.