You may know it by Google Adwords, but Google re-branded its pay-per-click program in 2018 as Google Ads. A program within that program, Google Ad Grants for Nonprofits, offers up to $10,000 in free advertising to 501(3)(c) organizations – a month!
What are the Benefits of Google Ad Grants for Nonprofits?
If you’re not familiar with Google Ad Grants, it is a paid advertising program run by Google. When you search for something in Google, paid results can be distinguished by the “Ad” logo within the result. Google displays paid ads first, which means that they are more likely to get a click from potential customers. Google Ads can overall improve brand awareness, increase traffic and lead to more conversions – which in this case means donations.
The main benefit of Google Ad Grants is obviously that it is free, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that means the product is somehow lacking in quality. On average, small businesses spend anywhere from $500 to $3000 a month on Google Ads. According to the Google Economic Impact Report, small businesses using digital tools like online advertising experienced revenue growth four times that than businesses not using the same tools.
An additional benefit of Google Ads to first time users is that it will help your organization identify your specific audience demographics and what they’re searching for in terms of keywords. Knowing who is searching and how they are searching is key to creating campaigns and ads that will reach the audience that will yield the most benefit for your organization.
Running Your Google Ad Grants Account
There’s no way around it – setting up and running your Google Ads campaigns is work, especially since there are some additional criteria for Google Ads Grants participants. There is a definite learning curve, but Google does offer free online training with Google Academy for Ads to help you learn, set up and maintain your ad campaigns.
Google Ads Campaign Types
The main concern of any nonprofit is to drive donations – but what are the moving parts to that as it relates to Google Ad Grants? This is where the nitty meets the gritty in Google Ads and campaigns are created.
There are several campaign types in Google Ads, such as Display campaigns, Video campaigns and Search campaigns, to name a few. When using Google Ad Grants, your organization is restricted to creating text only Search campaigns. These look like traditional search results in Google, but as mentioned earlier, they will have the “Ad” logo. Because the ads generated by Google Ad Grants are unpaid, they will display below the traditional paid ads, but before non-paid (organic) results.
Your Search campaign ads will be shown in the results when people are searching for terms similar to your ads chosen keywords. Occupying the real estate near the top of the page is key to driving traffic, so having the extra advantage from Google Ads can greatly increase the opportunity for your ad to be seen and drive traffic.
Creating Your Google Ad Campaigns
Learning how to create campaigns in Google Ads is a matter of taking the time to go through the online training, which is in-depth and comprehensive. You can even get different levels of certification, including certification specific to nonprofits! Google has really spared no expense in helping its customers get access to all the training and knowledge needed to run and maintain a successful Google Ads account.
One thing to think about while creating your campaigns are your objectives. While every nonprofit’s end goal is probably to get donations, there are different steps and approaches to that end goal. Google Ads does a great job matching your organization to its current and long term advertising goals, which may be:
- Building awareness for your brand – If your organization isn’t well known yet, getting your name and mission out there is the first step.
- Promote events – If your organization throws a great benefit, advertising it can not only increase attendance, but can increase general interest in your cause from the publicity.
- Driving traffic – Letting your audience know the interesting details of your programs can stimulate interest in your mission at large and drive more traffic to your site.
Qualifying for Google Ad Grants
Are you ready to give it a go? The first step is to make sure that your organization qualifies for Google Ad Grants. You can start the process by visiting the Google for Nonprofits signup page. More information about qualifying can be found on the eligibility page, but some major guidelines are:
- Holding valid charity status – Note that while government entities, schools, academic institutions, universities, hospitals and medical groups are not eligible, associated philanthropic organizations might be.
- Meet the Ad Grants website policy – Your organization’s website must meet a certain quality level as defined by Google.
- Acknowledge and Agree to Google’s required certifications – Certifications regarding nondiscrimination and donation receipt and use.
Google Ad Grants and Google for Nonprofits
In addition to Google Ad Grants, Google offers many other free tools to nonprofit organizations under the umbrella of Google for Nonprofits. While all the tools offered are powerful and no cost (other than your time investment), Google Ad Grants may be the most powerful. In a world where marketing competition is fierce, nonprofits often don’t have the resources or expertise to compete on the same level. Whether you roll up your sleeves or seek professional expertise, Google Ad Grants can level that playing field and get your nonprofit’s message to the right audience, so that audience can help affect positive change.