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Free Online Advertising: Getting Started With Google Ad Grants

If your organization is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, Google Ads is a great way to get in front of your target audience without breaking the bank. We at Forum One appreciate smart, thrifty advertising and want to help your nonprofit get the most out of Google Ads to optimize your ad campaigns.

Google Ads vs Google Ad Grants

You’ve likely heard of Google Ads, the advertising service provided by Google for companies interested in placing ads on Google’s advertising network.  Ads allow businesses to establish a budget for advertising based on when people click on their ads, which is focused on bidding on specific keywords. What you might be less familiar with is Google Ad Grants, Google’s program for nonprofits to benefit up to $10,000/month in free advertising on Google search results. 

To be eligible for a Google Ad Grant, your organization must be based in one of the approved countries as well as a nonprofit. Most 501(c)3 organizations are eligible, and all interested organizations must also have a substantial website. For-profit organizations, government entities, hospitals and medical groups, schools, universities, and childcare centers are not eligible to apply for Google Ad Grants. For  more information, see Google’s eligibility guidelines.

What an Ad Grant Gets You

So what can you buy with grant dollars? Google Ad Grants give your organization the buying power to bid on certain keywords. For a search word that is used more frequently, the corresponding bid price is higher. Depending on what you are advertising for your nonprofit, you can strategically bid on specific keywords to gear your ads toward your audience. Your advertisement’s display order will depend on the price of the bid, the relevance of the keyword(s), the click-through rate (CTR), and the quality of your ads and website.

How to Get Started

  1. Join Google for Nonprofits. Registration requires items such as your employer ID (EIN), certifying your organization’s nonprofit status, agreeing to non-discrimination clauses, and submitting information about your organization, including a mission statement, contact info, and a credible website.
  2. Create an Ads Account. While you may not use Google’s paid advertising service, you will need an Ads account for an Ad Grant. One important tip: do NOT key in any credit card information. It may seem like a requirement, but it’s not. By not including this information, you are sure that once your ads are set up, the charges will go through your grant rather than your credit card.
  3. Apply for a Google Ad Grant. Consider how you will use free online advertising to make an impact specifically for your organization. Create a sample ad campaign, and include your Google Ads account number. You will have to wait for up to 60 days for a decision regarding grant approval.

If your organization is rejected, don’t give up! You can submit your application again. Applications may be rejected if the application does not meet the program’s eligibility requirements, or has been submitted incorrectly. If this is the case, refer to Google’s Ad Grants Rejections page and review how you set up your sample campaign to see where the holes might be. For example, maybe your account is set to use a currency other than USD, which is the required currency for Ad Grants (even if you use another currency).

For more information on Google Ad Grants for nonprofits and specifics on how to target and test your ad campaigns, sign up for the Forum One newsletter, or get in touch through our Ad Grants Management form below.

Further Reading: 2018 Google Ad Grants Policy Updates

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