overlay How to take advantage of Google Ad Grants

How to Get Free Advertising Money from Google for Nonprofits (and Use it Like a Boss!)

One of the main goals for any nonprofit is to get more visits to its website. More visits increase awareness, and more awareness leads to increased support for your organization (including donations).

Getting those visits, however, can be a challenge. After all, for-profit companies can pay for traffic because they’ll be able to offset those costs with profits from their sales. A nonprofit often doesn’t have that luxury.

What nonprofits do have is something that for-profit companies can only dream of: The opportunity to advertise with Google and generate traffic for free.

The Google Ad Grants Program

If it sounds too good to be true…this is one of the rare instances where it isn’t! Google’s Google Ad Grants program gives eligible nonprofits up to $10,000 per month to use toward text ads on Google search results pages.

Now, there are a few caveats, but those are surprisingly minor. For example, as previously noted, the Google Ad Grants program only applies to text ads (not image or video ads) and only applies to ads on search pages (not on partner sites in the Google Ad Network).

Also, the maximum cost-per-click (CPC) is $2, which may not be enough if you’re trying to get good ad page positioning for very competitive keywords. The term “charities for children, for example, has a cost per click of $4.81 to get a second-place search results listing (at the time of posting).

Your maximum spend per day will be $329 and your ads will also appear below the results of paid advertisers. Your reach with that threshold is going to vary widely based on the popularity and specificity of your keywords. Less popular keywords are less expensive, but if they’re more specific to your organization, they may perform better for you, anyway.

Becoming Part of the Google Ad Grants Program

So, how do you go about landing a Google Ad Grants grant? First, you’ll need to make sure you’re eligible. Among other things, you need to be based in one of the countries Google works with, you need to have valid charity status, and you need to have a live website with a good amount of content on it. Also, bear in mind that while the “philanthropic arms of educational organizations” are eligible, schools, academic institutions, and universities aren’t eligible.

If that sounds like your organization, your first step is to apply for the program.

To apply, you’ll need to set up a TechSoup account to validate your nonprofit status and then a Google for Nonprofits account. Both take just a few moments to do. Generally, Google will review your Google Ad Grants application within 10 days.

Once you’re accepted, you can choose whether you’d like to use AdWords Express and let Google manage the account for you, or whether you’d like to flex your marketing skills and use AdWords to manage your account yourself.

AdWords might seem a bit intimidating to the uninitiated—and its interface isn’t the most intuitive—but with a bit of instruction and practice, AdWords offers you astounding ways to customize, test, and quantify your ads.

But we’ve never been ones to let anyone down…so over the next few weeks, we’ll post more blog posts about how to wield your Google Ad Grants funds with finesse and make your AdWords account shine!

Got questions about AdWords (or any other digital solution) right now? Feel free to reach out right here.

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