by: Jen Maslanski, Devscape Copywriter
Google created the Google Ad Grants program to provide qualifying nonprofits with the education and financial assistance they need to get started. Each month, nonprofits enrolled in the program are eligible to receive $10,000 for Google Ads. In addition, nonprofits can also receive free access to useful Google Ad tools, such as smarter search insights, G Suite for Nonprofits, the YouTube Nonprofit Program, Google Donation Tools and more.
 
The program has been a tremendous help to nonprofits across the nation. Consider success story - Days for Girls, an organization who relies on their Google Ad Grants to raise awareness for their cause, and find supporters to help them empower women around the world. In just two months, Google Ad Grants helped Days for Girls increase their average donation value by $212, total donations by $5,000, and conversions by 400.
 
Another great case study is DoSomething.org who has cultivated a reputation for social change, particularly the issues that young people care most about. They sought to use Google Ads to encourage socially active youth to register and vote. After combining Google Analytics with the conversion tracking insights provided by Google Ad Grants, DoSomething.org was able to reach a wider audience with a more relevant message. After six months, the campaign resulted in “100,000 website visits, 32,000 conversions, with an average click-through rate of 12%,” according to the organization.
 
Let's take a look at Google Ad Grants, and give you an idea of how you can boost awareness for your own nonprofit. 
 
The Benefits of Google Ad Grants
  • The same access to Google Ad tools as other marketers. With the exception of your ads being limited to the search ad platform, your organization has all the tools that other marketers can use on Google Ads.
  • Smarter insights - Learn about the people looking for you, how they found your ad, and how to improve your future ads. Use this data to better inform your overall ad strategy.
  • Community support and documentation - Google Ad Grants has helped hundreds of nonprofit organizations around the world. There’s always someone available to help you through the process. You can contact the Google Ad Grants support community here.
  • It’s free - As long as your organization has a legal 501(c)(3) status, you don’t have to pay to be part of the program.
 
Getting Started with Google Ad Grants
  • To use Google Ad Grants, your organization must be eligible. This means a legal nonprofit status, a high-quality website, and an approval through the pre-qualification process.
  • If you meet all the requirements, you're ready to create your Ad Grants account.
  • Next you'll submit the pre-qualification survey.
  • Then you'll watch the Ad Grants training video and take a short quiz.
  • Finally you'll submit your account for pre-qualification review.
  • Google will review your submission. This may take several business days depending on the number of requests Google receives, but after that, you should have immediate access to Google Ad Grants.
 
Helpful Tips for Using Google Ad Grants
 
Remember your ad constraints. That goes for your budget as well as the ad specifications. Google Ad Grants will only allow you to display text-based ads on the search results page (below paid ads), so you won’t be able to display any photos or videos. Your maximum cost-per-click (CPC) budget will be $2.00, so plan accordingly. One of the best ways to stay under this limit is to improve quality score by writing strong ad copy related to your website, as well as developing high-quality landing pages.
 
Conduct keyword research. Every Google Ad Grants campaign is keyword-targeted. Start by creating a thorough list of all the related keywords to your niche or cause. Then, eliminate all irrelevant, confusing, or misleading keywords. You’ll also want to add some “out-of-the-box” keywords and phrases, occasionally referred to as long-tail keywords. These keywords don’t necessarily have high search volume, but are more likely to lead to a click (such as “how can I help my local youth services organization”).
 
There are tools available to help you with your keyword research. Websites like Moz and Ahrefs are among the very best, but they can be costly for nonprofits. Google Keyword Planner, Keyword Tool, and BuzzSumo are some of our favorite free alternatives.
 
A/B test for better results. Some ads will perform stronger than others, it’s a careful balance between the selected keywords, ad copy, and landing page design. Don’t let assumptions determine your ad strategy. Instead, be sure by running tests. Combine different copy with landing page variants and check your results. You might learn that your audience gravitates to certain keywords more than others, or certain landing page designs may lead to greater conversions. Never assume you know how your audience will respond.

Don’t let money, time, or experience hold you back from expanding your nonprofit’s reach and growing your support base. Use Google Ad Grants to jump-start your online advertising and move your mission forward.