Grants are one of the most essential parts of any successful non-profit organization.  Typically the process for applying can be a long and strenuous task that can be highly competitive.  This is where the Google Ad Grant program comes in as a knight in shining armour.  

Google’s Ad Grant program provides up to $10,000 in free search ad campaigns for qualifying non-profits.  Getting new donors and volunteers is at the front of most organizations minds, which is where this program provides the most assistance.  Through the paid search ad campaigns, website traffic will increase will traceable statistics that Google provides. The following is a guide to finding out if you qualify for the Google Ad Grant program, and how to get started!

1. Meet Google Ad Grant Requirements

Your group must hold a non-profit status and be registered as a valid charity.  US based charities must have 501(c)(3) status. This means the organization is tax exempt.  For more information you can learn how to gain 501(c)(3) status.  For organizations outside of the US, you will need to follow your country’s specific guidelines for charity status that Google outlines.  There are a few exceptions to the rules which are the following types of organizations:

  • Government Organizations or Entities
  • Hospital or Healthcare Organization
  • Universities, Schools, or Academic Organizations

If your organization is a school, you can check out Google For Education.  This is Google’s specific program for various academic organizations.  Healthcare organizations may be able to qualify if they are Awareness or Research based.

Once your organization follows these guidelines, it is time to make sure you have a compelling website.  Google requires that Ad Grant recipients have an active website, since that is where all the web traffic is going to be directed.  Once this is done and your organization acknowledges non-discrimination and donation receipt it is time to register as a Google Non-Profit.

2. Register Nonprofit with TechSoup

TechSoup Logo

Now that you know your organization is eligible, it is time to get started.  You will need to create an account with TechSoup, a technology non-profit who delivers technology tools to other non-profits at discounted rates.

This is a simple process consisting of filling out a form on the TechSoup Registration page.  Once you fill out your country and organization information, you will need to accept the terms and conditions.  After this is done and your application is submitted, it can take up to 30 days for your organization to be confirmed.  In the case of missing information, someone from TechSoup will get in contact with your organization for additional information.

Once your validation is confirmed, you will be given a TechSoup verification token.  These tokens typically are represented as 123c456@OrgName.com. This will be needed during the signup of Google Ad Grants.

3. Create A Google for Non-Profit Account

To begin your signup, you can start your Google Ad Grant application here.  To begin, you will need to verify that you meet all the requirements.  If you have already gained your TechSoup verification token, you will satisfy the requirements.  You will also need to have your organization’s Tax ID number in order to proceed with the application.

Next, you will need to fill out your organization’s information.  This will include mission statements, contact information, and your website URL.  Once this is complete, you will fill out your communication preferences (phone, email, etc.) and submit your application.

Along with Google Ad Grants, Google nonprofits gain access to a variety of other features:

  • Listing on One Today, exclusive site for Google’s mobile fundraising options.
  • Free access to Google applications like Drive and Gmail.
  • Special features on Youtube including a donate button.

Once your application is submitted, Google should approve your application within a few days.  The success rate is extremely high taking the stress off your shoulders. This is going to be the last step before being able to apply for the Google Ad Grant.

4. Verify G-Suites

Now it is finally time to start applying to individual programs.  I recommend signing up for the Google Suite. This will link your website domain to a personalized G Suite account.  This eliminates the need to pay for email services from here on out.  One final step will be to put a small piece of code within your website to verify it, instructions from Google can be found here.

5. Enroll in Google Ad Grants

Turning money into gifts that can be used

The first recommendation that we have when starting the enrollment process is to never enter in your billing information.  Doing so will disqualify you from attaining Google Ad Grants.  Follow the following steps to assure your account is setup correctly:

  • Choose the appropriate billing country and timezone for your organization.
  • Choose USD as currency, regardless of what your country uses
  • Save your campaign.  You may need to log out, and then back in after doing this.  Make sure you record your customer ID which will be located in the top right hand corner formatted like XXX-XXX-XXXX.
  • Submit the pre-qualification survey to Google
  • Watch the Google training video and complete the quiz

Once you have finished these tasks, it is time to submit your pre-qualification review.  For this you will need to sign back into your Google for Nonprofits Account.  When in, you will be able to “Activate” the Google Ad Grants using your customer ID.  Finish telling Google how you heard about them and then you can finish by enrolling. Once this is done, you should hear back within 5 business days.

6. Create Your First Campaign

Now that you have been approved through pre-qualification it is time to setup your first campaign.  Even seasoned Ad Word veterans will need to take their time setting up the campaign if this is their first Ad Grant campaign.  Google allows spending of up to $329 per day in free ad spend.  The following are some additional settings you will want to setup in order to assure a great introductory campaign.

list of different ads
  • Type: Choose Search Network Only
  • Networks: Uncheck the box for “include search partners”
  • Locations: Decide if you want a local campaign or national one.
  • Languages: Choose relevant languages you wish to display your ads to.
  • Bid Strategy: Start with automated if you are not familiar with your industry.
  • Default bid: Google recommends choosing a default bid of $2.00 or less.  (This may change depending on the cost-per-click in your sector)
  • Budget: Choose $329 or less per day across all of your campaigns.

What Do Your Ads Include?

Now it is time to create your first ad.  This will be the text that will be displayed for your ads.  For your first time, you can choose what you think will be most relevant.  You can also get in touch with us for great information and assistance in Google Ad Grants.  We have experience working with several nonprofits in setting up and maintaining their Google Ad Grants profile.

Next you will need to start setting up your keywords.  Keywords are important to targeting relevant individuals searching for your products or services.  It is important to choose relevant keywords. Choosing poor performing keywords can lead to having Google pause your Ad Grant Account.  All keywords must maintain a quality score above 2/10 in order to be used in your campaigns.

Finally you will need to make sure that you setup at least 1 form of conversion tracking within your website.  This is how Google will keep track of visitors to your website. The conversion tracking code will need to be put into the back end of your website.  You can contact your web admin to include this, or contact Kallen Media LLC for assistance setting up conversion tracking.

7. Maintain Your Campaign

Google Ad Grants are not something that you can simply set up and let run.  They require constant interaction in order to gain the most from them. Because Google is giving up to $10,000 a month, we highly recommend keeping an eye on your campaigns, or hiring someone to do this for you.

Changes will need to be made to your accounts every 2 months.  We recommend checking your account weekly to look at any changes.  Within the early stages of setting up your campaigns, this will be the most essential to creating successful Google Ad Grant campaigns.  Third party organizations like Ahrefs and Moz are great tools that can be used to research competition and keywords.  I highly recommend using these programs when creating your campaigns. This will save both time and money which are crucial resources to nonprofits.

A 5% click through rate is required for all active ads.  This is account-wide allowing for more and less successful campaigns to balance each other out.  Google also sends out a year end survey that will need to be filled out based on the impact they have had over the past year.  To ensure you are following Google Ad Grant standards, check out the Google Ad Grant Compliance Guide.  Through following this guide you will be able to setup a successful Google Ad Grant campaign to begin delivering your nonprofits message around the world!

Let us Help!


For assistance setting up Google Ad Grants contact Nathan@kallenmedia.com or call (773)524-1483.  We look forward to helping your organization gain more exposure through the Google Ad Grant program!