How to Get Google Ad Grants

Posted by Olivia

The Google Ad Grants programme is set up by Google to provide qualifying charities with free Google AdWords spend of $120,000 per year (approximately £79,017*). To help your charity enjoy the benefits of this source of free funding, we’ve laid out what you need to know about how Google Ad Grants works and how to apply for Google Ad Grants.

What are Google Ad Grants?

Google Ad Grants fund Grantees with $329 of AdWords budget per day, roughly $10,000 per month of free advertising (equivalent to approximately £217 per day and £6596 per month*). This adds up to a yearly grant of $120,000 (or £79,017*) and if this pay per click (PPC) media budget is managed well and meets certain criteria, Google may upgrade you to the Grantspro account which offers up to $480,000 of free advertising per year (that’s £315,075*). So all in all, if you’re a charitable organisation with an online presence, Google Ad Grants is not to be ignored!

Why do I need Google Ad Grants?

Google Ad Grants enables your AdWords adverts to appear on page 1 of Google when people are searching for relevant terms, particularly potential beneficiaries, donors and fundraisers. This means that your brand is exposed to the millions of people using Google to find ways they can help others or looking for support and advice for themselves. Furthermore, when people click on your ads this will increase traffic to your website and potentially increase sales of products, donations and fundraiser sign-ups.

How does Google Ad Grants Work?

There are a few restrictions around how Grantees can spend their AdWords budget. Google states that Google Ad Grants can only be used for the promotion of “mission-based” ads. This means that specific product keywords with a strong buying intent will not be applicable. Google gives the following example:

Ad Example

Acceptable adUnacceptable ad
Shop and Fight Cancer Our Pink Ribbon Collection has Unique Gifts for a Great Cause. www.yourcharity.orgBuy Gifts Online Clothing, Books, Music & More Save Time and Money Now!

Keyword Examples

Acceptable keywordsUnacceptable keywords
Shop for cancerBuy clothing
Shop for breast cancerOnline clothing store
Cancer storeOnline shoe store
Cancer merchandiseShop mp3s

  Aside from the rules around the copy of your ad, Google has a couple of other restrictions:

  • A maximum cost-per-click (CPC) limit of $2.00 USD
  • Only run keyword-targeted campaigns
  • Only appear on Google search result pages
  • Only run text ads

How to qualify for Google Ad Grants

To qualify for the Google Ad Grants programme:

  • You need to hold valid charity status
  • Any Grantees must agree to Google’s certifications regarding non-discrimination and donation receipt and use
  • Ensure that the programme operates in your country
  • You need to make sure that you have a live website with what Google deems sufficient content in order to be considered eligible
  • Google states that certain government entities, academic institutions and medical groups may not be eligible
Image source:
Image source:

If you’re in doubt take a look at Google’s guidelines for Grantees.

Applying for Google Ad Grants

You’re eligible, you understand how to use the funding, so what’s next?

  1. Sign up for Google for Non-profits. This requires registration with TechSoup, where you will be provided with a validation code.
  2. After you have been approved for the Google Non-profits programme, you can find the area to apply for Google Ad Grants on the Google Non-profits site under “Our products” where there will be another application process.
  3. Create a Google AdWords Account.
  4. Apply your AdWords Account number to your Google Ad Grants!

  What is summarised here in a couple of sentences, translates into a fair bit of work. However, the end result is unlocking roughly £79,017* of funding from Google to use in AdWords.

Go pro and get $480,000 worth of funding

Once Google Ad Grants is running smoothly in your Google AdWords account, you need to ensure that it is properly maintained in order to keep the grant. The next step is to aim for an upgrade to Grantspro to unlock $40,000 per month or $480,000 per year of AdWords advertising spend (that’s about £26,256 per month and £315,075 per year*). If you’re in this position, find out if you’re eligible here. If you would like help managing Google Ad Grants, upgrading to Grantspro or just help with AdWords management, then contact us today.

Thanks for reading

Follow my contributions to the blog to find out more about digital marketing opportunities across industries, or sign up to the ThoughtShift Guest List, our monthly email, to keep up-to-date on all our blogposts, guides and events. *Based on $ to £ exchange rates from November 2015