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Grow Your Nonprofit with Google Ad Grants

Addyson Santese
November 25, 2019

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The holidays are right around the corner, which is about the time most people start thinking about charity, donations, and gift-giving. However, for nonprofit organizations, attracting public attention to sustain their cause is a consistent process throughout the entire year. During the seasons when donating and volunteering are not necessarily top of mind, it’s essential for charities to have a robust marketing plan. But, like most good things, marketing costs money. This is where Google Ad Grants comes to the rescue. 

What Are Google Ad Grants?

Google Ad Grants is an indispensable tool for established and developing nonprofits looking to get some assistance with placing their message in front of potential donors and volunteers. Through Google’s program, eligible organizations can receive a monthly budget of $10,000 of in-kind (FREE) advertising on the search engine to build strong ad campaigns. Organizations get to run their own ad campaigns and manage the text that appears in each ad. 

For-profit businesses have to plan their budgets out much more carefully to produce the initial capital needed to fund a Google Ads campaign and the return on investment has to outmeasure the amount of spending that is taking place. This can be a tricky process and especially frustrating if you’re not targeting the right keywords from the start, which can make it feel like you’re throwing money away. But with the ad grants program, charities can get right into the process of investing in-kind dollars to their marketing plans without as much worry regarding budgets and lost funds. 

The ad grants program supports text-based ads that will show up on the top of a Google search results page when people search for information related to your organization. Naturally, there are a few (unsurprising) caveats to the grant, like the fact that the ads only apply to Google’s search engine. Additionally, not every organization will qualify for the $10,000 of free advertising. 

Who is Eligible for Google Ad Grants?

To qualify for a Google Grant, you must be a nonprofit charitable organization. This means holding a valid charity status in your country, such as a 501(c)(3) status in the US, and your organization must be in good standing. Additionally, you have to agree to Google Grant’s required certifications that outline parameters for how to use donations that are obtained as the result of the grant and you need to have a fully functioning website that gives plenty of details about your cause. There are a few types of organizations that do not qualify for the grant, though. 

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Governmental entities 
  • Hospitals or healthcare organizations
  • Schools, universities, and academic institutions

If you were hoping to get some money for your school, don’t back out just yet. Google offers a similar program for educational organizations that you can check out here

Another part of the application process is requesting a Google for Nonprofits account by registering with TechSoup. TechSoup manages the verification process for making sure the program is only sending money to organizations that are truly eligible so people can continue to benefit from the program. 

How Do Nonprofits Benefit from Ad Grants?

Once your organization is approved, you can begin to develop your ad campaign strategy. If you’re unfamiliar with Google Ad best practices, the company offers plenty of resources and tools to help your organization become successful in generating traffic and conversions with ads. 

Select Your Own Keywords 

Depending on the structure and experience levels of your team at your organization, the fact that Google does not manage your pay-per-click campaign can be seen as a blessing or a challenge. For teams that lack experience, it can be difficult to know which keywords to target, but if you have the upper hand with some Google Ad knowledge in your back pocket, finding keywords should be a breeze. 

Spending Your $10,000 PPC Budget

The PPC structure of the ads means you’ll want to do ample research to find the right keywords to bid on for your individual campaigns. You can also take a page from similar organizations to see which keywords are effective for them and get potential donors and volunteers who have shown an interest in similar causes on your page. On Google, most keywords cost around $1 to $2 per click, but with a $10,000 monthly budget, that breaks down to an allowance of roughly $335 per day. One difficulty of this grant is the fact that if you don’t use the full budget, you lose it. It’s important to make sure you’re able to spend the entire budget each month in a strategic manner with optimization tactics to be eligible to continue receiving the full grant. 

Craft Your Organization’s Message

Google Ad Grants present a lot of freedom for nonprofit organizations. Not only do you get to manage your own budget, keywords, and determine the destination page for each of your ads,  you’re also able to craft your own messages for the in-text ads. Your organization will be able to directly capture its unique, compelling message in words that resonate with your values. In organic search results, Google automatically puts your page’s meta description under the link, which could lead to missed opportunities. However, with the Ad Grant, you can write your own copy to ensure alignment between your keywords and the action you want users to take while reaching a broader audience. 

It can be difficult for nonprofits to compete in crowded marketplaces, but if you’re ready to get your organization on the digital map, Google Ad Grants is the perfect way to break through the search engine results page. If you have questions about the program, how to get your organization approved, or optimization tactics to make sure you’re getting the most out of your in-kind budget, reach out to one of the HIVE’s digital advertising experts! You can also check out our Google Ad Grants for Nonprofits form for a chance to gain expert guidance and ad management to grow your ad grant budget up to $40,000 per month.

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