Use Google Grants to Gain Free Advertising for your Nonprofit

By January 11, 2013Uncategorized

No nonprofit in existance manages to function without concern for their budget at one point or other. One of the major budget killers is advertising and many organizations stop their ads when budgets become tight. This is where Google Grants can save the day- or budget. They offer $10,000 in free advertising for free! Thus helping your nonprofit spread the word around the internet about your cause.

What is an Ad Grant?

Basically, a Google Ad Grant is an AdWords account with a $10,000 limit. What is AdWords? It allows for the creation of text-based ads (no images or such allowed) and they can be connected with various keywords. Other kinds of advertising allow the target be based on audience or type of device, but with the Google Grant, it becomes set to keywords.

What does this mean? When a user searches for a keyword you predetermined on Google, your ad might appear around the results from the search for that phrase. It only might appear because AdWords runs on bids. The most that is allowed for a bid is $2 for yourself. If the minimum bid starts above $2, your organization’s ad will appear, but will be placed below the paying ads already included for that set keyword phrase.

What are the benefits?

When you create an AdWords account, a variety of benefits occur for your nonprofit. Not only will your “brand” be promoted, but new supporters can be found, especially those within your target audience. Additionally, AdWords shares innovative varieties of marketing data:

  1. Websites obtain extra visibility, thus causes more traffic and a potential for more donations, volunteers, or other needs.
  2. Visitors become involved the second they search.
  3. AdWords connects to Google Analytics and allows you to view conversions (when viewers click the ad and if they take any actions). This information allows you to make improvements to your advertising.
  4. You have freedom to create ads based for a more local audience or for a worldwide audience.


Does this offer appear out of reach? Does it seem like your nonprofit could never reap these benefits? Don’t jump to conclusions. Google holds a relationship with over 20,000 nonprofits in upwards of 50 countries. To be considered, your nonprofit must have valid nonprofit status in their country and needs a live website containing valuable, plentiful content. Obviously, with any valuable tool, some exceptions exist, such as government organizations, hospitals, childcare centers, and academic institutions, but overall, it is incredibly receptive.

Getting Started

Google for Nonprofits has Ad Grants as part of the program. To start, apply for that program and become a verified, eligible nonprofit before creating the AdWords account. Only after approval can enrollment in Ad Grants occur. Throughout the process, Google gives support. Here is what needs to be done to start your nonprofit with Google Ad Grants:

  1. In your Google Admin dashboard, apply for an Ad Grant
  2. Create either your AdWords or AdWords Express account
  3. Begin your first campaign – write one ad and add the keyword phrases you choose
  4. Submit for review
  5. Keep maintenance on your account (monthly at minimum, but more often is better)

If you do not understand the difference between AdWords or AdWords Express, it’s simple. Express is automatized and much easier than AdWords. If you do not have much time to devote, use Express.

How to Maintain

Like any advertising, AdWords takes a considerable amount of time. However, by dedicating a few hours a month to fine-tuning everything, traffic to your cause will increase. How you spend time is your choice. Time could be spent looking over analytics, adding or updating ads, changing or adding keywords, taking keywords and connecting them with new ads, targeting new groups, and so on.

Be forewarned, AdWords takes time to learn. Experience with SEO (search engine optimization) helps, but is not necessary to begin. One idea you could try would be to search the keywords you are debating and see if they present opportunities. It is necessary, but it gives you an idea of what works better. As with any venture, it takes trial and error. The only way to truly see if it works is to try it out. Remember, Google offers assistance throughout the process, so you can always use them. No major negatives exist with this, so why not give it a shot?

Crystal Michels

About Crystal Michels

Join over 1,000 people who receive bi-weekly web marketing tips.