Have you ever heard of Google Grants? That Company helps our agency partners get their nonprofit clients Google Grants. A Google Grant is $10,000 USD of in-kind adverting every month from AdWords. Wow! Can you imagine bringing your nonprofit client $120,000 worth of annual value for very little work? We do that!
What can a Google Grant be used for? Well, we could recruit volunteers, attract new donors, and share the nonprofits mission with their target market via Google AdWords! The sky is the limit, we can get creative with how we use the grant.
But, first Is your nonprofit eligible for a Google Grant and what should you keep in mind? Let’s find out.
Step 1: Your nonprofit must be in one of the following countries.
Step 2: Your nonprofit must hold charity status.
For example, in the United States to be hold charity status you must have a 501(c)(3), You cannot be a Fiscally sponsored organization, and must be registered with TechSoup (we help provide instructions on how to register with TechSoup to our clients).
Please note churches must still obtain a 501(c)(3) tax exemption to receive a Google Grant.
Step 3: Your Nonprofit cannot be one of the following:
- Governmental entity or organization
- Hospital or health care organization
- School, academic institution, or university (philanthropic arms of educational organizations are eligible).
Step 4: You must agree to Google’s Terms and Conditions
You must agree to Google’s required certifications regarding nondiscrimination and donation receipt and use. Not all organizations may wish to do this. For instance, religious institutions currently have the right per a 2012 Supreme Court ruling to not be limited in any way while selecting their ministers. Meaning they can discriminate based on race, age, sex, disability, national origin — or anything else when it comes to ministers. Not that they necessarily do, but they would be agreeing to waive their right to do so by partaking in this program.
In addition, “Ad Grants does not allow ads, keywords, or destinations that promote hatred, intolerance, discrimination, or violence. Specifically, your ads, keywords, and website should not promote opposition or anti-sentiment related to beliefs about protected groups, including religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or other characteristics that are associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization.”
It’s a bit sad that this even needs to be stated by Google…. Shall we carry on?
Step 5: You must have an Adequate Website
You must have a live website with “substantial content”. Google doesn’t exactly detail what “substantial content” means so it’s a bit of gray area, but do plan on having enough content that Google can clearly understand what your missions is all about. While “substantial content” isn’t necessarily defined they do have a detailed Website Policy which we will detail below.
Here are the rules straight from Google related to your website being adequate.
Owned and operated website
Your organization must own the domain that users land on when they click your ad. (AKA you probably don’t want your website developer to own your domain name.)
Your site must have a robust and clear description of your organization and mission. Each webpage must have sufficient information for visitors to understand your organization’s purpose.
Your website must function well and not contain broken links. (Run a site audit!
Your ads, keywords, and website may not make claims that promise results after a consultation, service, or purchase. Claims on your website must cite verifiable references to provide transparency to users.
Commercial activity must not be the main purpose of your website. This includes sales of products and services, consultations, lead generation, and providing referrals.
Any limited commercial activities must support your non-monetary mission.
If your organization charges for products or services, your website must describe how your organization uses funds, for example, by disclosing an annual report.
Limited ads on website
Advertising on your organization’s website must be relevant to your mission and not be obtrusive to users.
Your website may not host Google AdSense ads or affiliate advertising links. If you’re required to link to an AdSense account to receive payments for the Android market, you’re eligible as long as you don’t display AdSense ads on your website.
Step 6: Stay on Mission
Google wants you to stay on mission when using a Google Grant, and doesn’t want you to start sending a bunch of irrelevant traffic back to your site.
As such, the following keywords and queries for serving Ad Grants ads are not permitted:
- Branded words that you don’t own like “YouTube” or “Google” or names of newspapers or other organizations
- Single-word keywords (excluding your own branded words, recognized medical conditions, and a small number of exception keywords published here)
- Note terms with dashes, periods, or special characters are not treated as single-word keywords
- Overly generic keywords like “free videos”, “e-books”, “today’s news”, “easy yoga”, “download games”, “job alert”, names of places, names of historical events/people
- Keywords with a Quality Scoreof 2 or less
Step 7: Know Your Account Structure Rules
You must abide by the following account structure rules:
Ad Grants AdWords accounts must have:
- Ad Grants accounts must have specific geo-targeting to show ads in locations relevant to your nonprofit.
- At least 2 active ad groups per campaign each containing a set of closely related keywords and 2 active text ads
- At least 2 sitelink ad extensions
Step 8: Understand That Google is Still Boss
In Google’s required performance section, they nonchalantly mention that you must maintain a 5% click-through-rate (CTR) each month. They mention that if the CTR requirement isn’t met for 2 consecutive months your account will be cancelled. Then they state that “You may request your account to be reinstated after you’ve adjusted your keywords to bring your account into compliance”
A 5% CTR! HA! A study completed by WordStream states that ” The average click-through rate on AdWords paid search ads is about 2%. Accordingly, anything over 2% can be considered an above average CTR.”
This is a nice catch-all for Google to enforce shutting down any account it feels is violating their policies and is pulling in traffic that is not relevant to the mission of the nonprofit.
So, the main point here is don’t try to use a Google Grant incorrectly and you’ll remain in the clear, but if you abuse it expect Google to shut you down.
Finally – Step 9: Google Grant Ad Limitations to Keep In Mind:
- Your ads will be entirely text-based (no videos or images).
- They’ll appear only on Google search results pages, in positions below the ads of paying advertisers.
- All campaigns must be keyword-targeted.
- Your maximum cost-per-click (CPC) will be $2.00 USD. (This is one of the greatest limiting factors from our experience, and many Grant advertisers typically do not end up using the full $10,000 grant as a result, but who can complain about free advertising?)
Conclusion / How To Apply:
We hope that you found this to be a great resource to better understand what all is entailed to quality/maintain qualification for a Google Grant. If you would like any assistance applying for a Google Grant, or better managing your Google Grant please let us know, otherwise you can apply for your Google Grant here – https://www.google.com/nonprofits/account/signup?locality=us.