How You Can Grow Your Nonprofit With Google Ad Grants

In this new world where remote work and indoor activity are the norm, digital marketing holds a unique advantage in generating traction for any type of business. In fact, it is now likely the only way to get in front of your customers apart from COVID-19 saturated television, at least until quarantine restrictions are lifted. Brands are struggling to make sales due to everyone’s reprioritization of their budget and growing unemployment, while nonprofits are up against relief efforts for donations, and the inevitable donation fatigue if a cure is not developed soon.

How then can you put your story out there and promote your advocacy, even during this extremely challenging time? In this piece, we take a look into developing your nonprofit’s strategy to survive and thrive during and even after any crisis – and this is through Google Ad Grants.

First off, what is Google Ad Grants?

Google, the innovative search giant created a program that is completely free of charge for qualified nonprofits, providing them with Google business tools and a whopping $10,000 per month worth of free advertising on the Google Ads platform. Imagine the exposure when your ads show up on Google search results upon searching for certain keywords, and the power of thousands of dollars of ad campaigns enabled by your Google Ads Grants account.

One success case on the Google Ad Grants page is a nonprofit called Science Buddies. Over 18.2 million clicks to their website were made just by having their ads up on Google Searches of related keywords, with roughly a 100,000 students registered in their platform in just a year.

How does a nonprofit apply for Google Ad Grants?

Glad you asked, because it is actually one of the most straightforward applications out there that promises such a high yield at absolutely zero cost on the part of the applicant. In fact, it can be summaries into five stages: checking of eligibility, application for a Google for Nonprofits account, submission of the Ad Grants pre-qualification form, creation of the Ad Grants account and finally, submission of your account for Google’s review.  Let’s go through it one by one.

Eligibility Requirements

Your entity must hold a valid charity status, as defined by Google for Nonprofits. As part of the eligibility process, you must also agree to the requirements on nondiscrimination and use of donations, and have a good website that satisfies the Ad Grants policy (we can help with this!). Next up is registering for a Google for Nonprofits account, which involves getting in touch with the U.S TechSoup partner. This is required to verify the nonprofit.

Ad Grants Pre-Qualification

After you have been approved at the Google for Nonprofits website, you can now create your Google Ad Grants account. Simply use the same user name as your Google for Nonprofits account, fill up the information and complete the survey. Once you have completed all the steps, submit part one of the application for pre-qualification review.

Creation of Ads Grants Account

Once your pre-qualification is approved, you can now proceed to part two of the application. Please do not proceed with this until you have received confirmation in your email, otherwise you may be required to start all over again. After you create your account, you now have to create your campaign. Keep in mind that a solid understanding of your advocacy, target audience and advertising goals are key here. 

Submission of Account for Review

Now that you have completed all the steps, you can now sign into Google for Nonprofits and click “Activate” under Google Ad Grants. Fill in your customer ID and hit Activate. You shall receive a response to your application within ten business days.

Sounds tedious. Why would I bother applying for Google Ad Grants anyway?

If you haven’t been living under a rock in the last few years, you would be aware of how widely Google Search is used every day by people around the globe. In fact, as of 2019, Google is said to process over 3.5 billion searches per day (Internetlivestats, 2019). Imagine having your nonprofit’s ad showing up every time a related Google search is made – there is a higher likelihood of engagement because there is already an expressed interest. Now it’s just a matter of turning that interest into a donation. Don’t get put off by the seemingly complicated interface – the time spent on figuring out how it all works is definitely worth it and not as hard as it looks.

Okay, I’ve applied for Google Ad Grants already. What’s next?

The next step after application is brushing up on your Google Ads know-how to prepare for when you’ve been given the grant. There are three basic “arts” that you have to master to succeed in the Google Ads game

  1. The Art of Keywording

While this sounds silly, it’s actually where your journey in Google Ads will start. If you don’t know what people are searching for on Google, your ads have almost no chance of showing up and reaching your intended audience. You need to know what your market is looking for, and then serve it up right on their Google Search engines. Grab those keywords and make them work for you! One tool you can use is Keyword Planner, which is actually already built in Google Ads. It will give you an idea of the number of people looking up a certain keyword(s) and phrases.

2. The Art of (Ad) Copywriting

This part should go without saying, but for the most optimized results, Google Ads should include the keyword in the actual ad. Since the ad already captures interest, it will be a good incentive for those interested to click on your ad if you don’t veer away from what exactly they are looking for. Remember: keyword should be put in the headline and the description.

The Art of Broad Match Modification

Casting a wide net is also a wise path to take with Google Ads, and you can do this by adding a syntax of keywords that are relevant to your nonprofit. For example, you can add +environment +charity. This will prompt your ad to show up in searches that include “environmental charities” and other variations of it. By doing this you not only broaden your reach, but also ensure that those who are reached by it are going to be the most interested in becoming involved in your cause.

Anything else to keep in mind?

It’s easy to get lost in a sea of keywords, but resisting the urge to fill your ads with misplaced keywords is just as important as knowing what keywords to select. Aim to use just 2-3 keywords per ad at most. Also, while Google Ads might seem like it’s for people to know about you, it actually measures your Google Ad Grants account based on the website clicks. If people are not responding to your ads, it will not keep showing up on the Google Search engine again and again unlike Facebook. Google gets the hint quite quickly and tags your ads as low-performing if they have low click-through rates. Remember to care for your Google Ad Grants account because it has requirements for maintenance such as regular logins, and a minimum 5% click through rate. If your account does not satisfy these requirements, it could be suspended or permanently shut down.

We understand that this might feel like a load of information in one go, which is why we offer a service to helping nonprofits further their causes with digital marketing. This includes guidelines on the application, approval and upkeep of a Google Ads Grant, among many others. You have the potential to unlock six-figures of ad spending, which could bring in millions of dollars of donations, with just a couple hundred dollars a month through us. Visit our website here to find out more.

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