How to Use Google Ad Grants
Did you know nonprofit owners and charity organizations can receive $10,000 of free money each month for AdWords, courtesy of Google Ad Grants?
As part of the Google for Nonprofits program, Google Ad Grants provide nonprofits a way to reach their goals and passions with useful keyword tools and financial aid.
Applying for Google Ad Grants
If you're interested in applying for Google Ad Grants, the place to start is on the Google for Nonprofits homepage. From there, click on the blue "Start Now" button in the top right corner. You will redirect to the membership application, where you can select your nonprofit's country and get a validation token from TechSoup—which is required to complete the application. The token is what tells Google you’re a legitimate nonprofit.
To be accepted for Google Ad Grants, your nonprofit must hold valid charity status. Eligibility guidelines vary by country. In the U.S., your organization must be recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization “formed for charitable, educational, religious, literary, scientific or other tax-exempt purposes." Fiscally sponsored organizations are not eligible, and organizations such as churches still must receive recognition of 501(c)(3) tax exemption from the IRS.
Also on the application will be verification related to discrimination. You must check boxes to certify you agree to Google's guidelines regarding non-discrimination and donation receipt and use. Lastly, your organization must have a live website with “substantial content.”
If you meet all these criteria, applying for Google Ad Grants is as simple as filling out the form on the Google for Nonprofits page.
Staying Qualified for the Grant
Being accepted for Google Ad Grants is great, though you still have to work at it to maintain qualification.
Firstly, commercial advertising is prohibited. One hundred percent of proceeds from products or services must go directly to supporting your program. Additionally, your ads cannot offer financial products, such as credit cards or mortgages, or request donations of property.
It's also vital to log into your AdWords account at least once per month, while updating your site content at least once every 90 days. This activity shows Google you're active and well worth the $10,000 each month. Beyond these criteria, ensure your ads link to only one website domain, which should be the same site approved in the membership application.
Google has the right to remove you from the program any time if you violate their guidelines, so be prudent and pay attention to them.
Using Google Ad Grants
Once you’re accepted for Google Ad Grants and are prepared to sustain eligibility, it’s a good idea to take full advantage of the free money by planning an advertising strategy. You can use your ads to earn donations, attract speaking opportunities and recruit volunteers, just to name a few.
Do your best to create a comprehensive keyword list, with an ad group for each web page and 15 to 30 similar keywords for each one. Aim for problem-and-solution keywords, including "how-to" and "tutorial" keywords.
It’s also a great idea to use Google's Keyword Planner, which helps you reach the right customers with the right keywords. The tool will help you discover new keywords, dig into keyword analytics and establish a keyword-based plan. Be sure to use phrase match, broad match and exact match when investigating keywords to weigh the keywords with the highest search volume and competition with those engaging less traffic.
An excellent, captivating landing page is also a must. Ensure whatever page an ad links to provides a strong example of your organization's expertise and goals.
Ads that bring visitors to a section of the site that requires navigation are wasted space. Convenience is a big factor when engaging potential leads. A targeted landing page makes more sense to build around than the homepage itself.
Applying and staying qualified for Google Ad Grants is something every nonprofit should pursue.
The free $10,000 per month and variety of advertising options makes Google Ad Grants a fantastic way for nonprofits to gain recognition and increase their efforts—without taking on substantial debt.