What Are Google Ad Grants?

The Google Ad Grants program allows nonprofit organizations to advertise on Google Ads cost-free. Eligible nonprofits are allotted a $10,000/month Google Ads budget to promote themselves and advance their missions.

Put Google Ad Grants to work for you

Unfortunately, Google Ad Grants are one of the biggest missed opportunities for nonprofits. On this page, we’ll walk you through the basic process of utilizing Google Ad Grants, so you can start attracting visitors from search engines as soon as possible.

**Please note that WebFX is not currently offering this service.**


Is my organization eligible for Google Ads Grants?

This is usually the first question organizations ask—“how do we know if we qualify for this?” Thankfully, Google sets forth very clear, simple eligibility requirements.

To qualify for Google Ad Grants, your organization needs to do the following:

  • Apply to Google for Nonprofits
  • Hold valid charity status
  • Agree to the program’s terms
  • Have a functioning website with substantial nonprofit content
  • Maintain eligibility

Apply to Google for Nonprofits

All potential candidates for the $10,000 ad spend must do this.

Forget about the Ad Grant for a minute, because Google for Nonprofits alone is worth its weight in gold. Google for Nonprofits provides nonprofits with free access to Google’s Nonprofit version of Google Apps.

Your organization will get access to unlimited branded email addresses, extensive cloud storage, video conferencing capabilities, and much more.

Hold valid charity status

This depends on what country your nonprofit is based in. For example, “valid charity status” in the United States means recognition as a 501(c)(3) organization by the IRS, as an organization formed for “charitable, educational, religious, literary, scientific, or other tax-exempt purposes.”

Look through Google’s list of country-specific requirements for “valid charity status” to see if you qualify within your country.

Agree to certain terms regarding nondiscrimination and donation receipt/use

This one’s pretty straightforward. Google just wants to make sure your nonprofit is a legitimate nonprofit, with proper hiring/volunteer and donation practices in place.

Have a functioning website with substantial nonprofit content

What’s the point of online advertising if you don’t have a web presence? If you’re not sure that your website qualifies as “functioning and substantial,” use this requirement as a chance to spruce up your nonprofit’s web presence.

Maintaining eligibility

Google has a set of stipulations in place that you must adhere to in order to retain your Ad Grant eligibility each month.

New updates regarding these stipulations were recently announced that you should be aware of, so you don’t get dropped from the program unexpectedly.

One of the updates states that single-word keywords are no longer permitted, except for branded words, recognized medical conditions, and words such as donate, donation, and charities. You cannot use keywords including names of places, historical people and events, or keywords with a Quality Score of two or less.

All accounts must maintain a 5% click-through rate. If the account doesn’t meet this requirement for two straight months, it will be cancelled. However, Google stated that holders are able to request to be reinstated once keywords are adjusted and the account is in compliance.

Another update lifts the $2 bid cap that currently exists when using Maximize conversions bidding.

The last part of Google’s announcement focused on requirements that all accounts must meet, including:

  • Geo-targeting that shows ads in locations relevant to the nonprofit
  • A minimum of two active ad groups per campaign, each one containing a set of similar keywords and two active text ads
  • At least two sitelink ad extensions

Why should my nonprofit use Google Ads?

The advertising power you’ll have access to with a free $10,000/month budget allows you incredible opportunities to shape, refine, and expand your nonprofit’s influence and missions.

At the most basic level, you now have the budget to run some good old-fashioned donation ads. These can be quite lucrative, without all the networking that’s usually involved in traditional donation drives.

You can also advertise for speaking opportunities, social media engagement, volunteers, subscribers… the list is almost endless. There’s not a single reason your nonprofit should hesitate to take advantage of Ad Grants.

You can even use the budget to advertise your nonprofit’s products and merchandise directly, as long as the proceeds are going towards your organization’s cause.

Is it hard to manage a $10,000 Ads budget?

Actually, it couldn’t be easier! You can manage your Ad Grants account yourself, or opt for Google’s Ads Express service. With Ads Express, all you have to do is specify a target audience, write a few sentences describing your nonprofit, and set your daily ad budget. Their algorithm will do the rest of the work to place ads automatically.

If you want to make the most of your budget, however, we recommend that you work with an experienced PPC ad manager to create your campaigns. In the right hands, a $10,000 monthly budget means lots of data, lots of testing, and lots of results.

Are there limits on what I can do with the $10,000?

Google does have a few rules in place for Ad Grant accounts:

  • Ads served using your Ad Grant account must be text-based ads. This means that you can’t include images or videos in your ads.
  • Your ads will appear only on Google search results pages, and not contextually on external websites.
  • While you do have a monthly budget of $10,000, your daily spend cannot exceed $329.

These regulations may seem cumbersome, but remember that Google is handing you $10,000 with no serious strings attached. It just means you might have to get creative with your bidding strategies, ad copy, and campaign management.

Can my nonprofit get more than $10,000?

Believe it or not, Google has a Grantspro program within the Ad Grants program. Organizations eligible for Grantspro status will receive an increased ad spend budget of $40,000/month (capped at $1,315/day).

Becoming eligible for the Grantspro program is a little more involved than the broader Ad Grants program. Some requirements are:

  •  Your nonprofit must utilize conversion tracking at a deeper level than simply measuring page views.
  • You need to have reached the $10,000 budget limit of the Ad Grants program for at least two months over the past six months. They need not be consecutive months.
  • Ads must demonstrate a CTR of 1%+ over the past six months.
  • The account must be actively managed and engaged with, at least on a bi-weekly basis

Take a look at Google’s Grantspro help page for a full breakdown of eligibility requirements and program stipulations.

Ready to take advantage of the Google Ad Grants program?

When it comes to marketing a nonprofit, an additional spend of $10,000 – $40,000 per month is enough to seriously influence your cause. It can be a challenge to make room for marketing within your overall budget, and Google’s Ad Grant program can be a huge help for organizations of any size. Hesitating to apply is simply leaving money on the table.

One of the biggest advantages of Google’s Ad Grants program is that it lets you allocate would-be advertising money elsewhere. Since you now have the bankroll for a robust advertising campaign, why not put it in the hands of a professional?

Google ad grants account