Updated: April 11, 2022
Originally Published: May 14, 2020
In good times and bad, American charities and benevolent nonprofits need all the help they can get. Google Grants allows qualified nonprofits to advertise on Google search results with no out-of-pocket expense. Read on to see how Google Grants can help your nonprofit organization.
What Is Google Grants?
Google Grants is a program that gives nonprofits the ability to advertise on Google with grants from Google themselves. They offer up to $10,000 per month in free Google Ads. You can use the grant in any form of online advertising – pay-per-click, for example. (In a PPC regimen, the ads would only reduce your free budget when a user actually clicks on the ad.)
How Do You Qualify for Google Grants?
Google instructs prospective grantees to research and meet eligibility requirements for Google Nonprofits before submitting a Google Grants application. Google Nonprofit status is a prerequisite for Google Grants. Requirements differ from country to country, but Google provides a convenient table with information for all eligible countries. Tech Soup, an international organization of nonprofits, must verify all prospective grantees from all countries. If your group isn't registered with Tech Soup, sign up; Google requires it of prospective grantees. In the US, applicant organizations also must have nonprofit, charitable status [501(c) (3)] with the Internal Revenue Service.
Not all American nonprofits qualify for the Google Grants program. Government organizations, medical groups and hospitals, and educational institutions are excluded. (Google has a separate program for educational services.)
Applying for Google Grants
When you have registered with Tech Soup and otherwise feel your group qualifies for Google Nonprofit status and, beyond that, for Google Grants, submit your pre-qualification form. Google will notify you via email whether or not you’re a qualified nonprofit. From there, create a Google Grants account, which Google will then review and will let you know if your organization will receive a monthly Google Grant.
Google makes this decision based on three main criteria:
- Is the prospective grantee’s website functional, authoritative and trustworthy?
- Does the organization agree to Google Grants requirements?
- Does the organization hold legitimate charity/nonprofit status?
Keeping Your Google Grants Status
Google keeps tabs on its nonprofit grantees. Those who fail to follow guidelines can lose eligibility at Google’s discretion. To maintain Google Grants eligibility, nonprofits must:
- In your ads, link ONLY to the nonprofit URL approved by Google.
- Proactively create and maintain ads. Google wants you to use your monthly grant, not waste it. (Note that these grants are use-it-or-lose-it month to month; no piling up funds for, say, a year-end drive.)
- Ensure your ads reflect your group’s ethos and mission.
- Ensure your ads promote your organization exclusively. Do not:
- promote financial products
- ask for donations of large goods
- use keywords as an attempt to get around these restrictions
- Only show your Google Grants ads through your Google Ads account. They can't come from Google AdSense or other affiliate ad links.
Google Ads Grant Program Details
You, not Google, will manage your Google Ads account and the Google Grants program within it. Stay active and engaged with your ads and campaigns.
Keep in mind:
- Your company has a daily budget of $329 and a monthly budget of $10,000.
- Ads must be text only; no images or videos.
- You can't have keywords over $2 Cost Per Click (CPC).
- Utilizing machine learning bid strategies (maximize clicks, maximize conversions) will bypass the CPC limitation.
- Your ads can only show on Google.
- Observe best practices.
Google is giving away money to nonprofits to help them display their mission. Use it wisely:
- Focus on your goal.
- Have an authoritative and trustworthy website.
- Don't use too many keywords.
- Don't advertise on competitor brand names.
- Do your keyword research.
Why Should You Apply for Google Grants?
Google Grants can drive valuable traffic to your website and promote your mission – at no cost! The application process might appear daunting, but the result will be worth the time and effort.
Northwoods can help you through the Google Ads Grant program process. Reach out to us to get started!