The Easiest Grant You’ll Ever Win: The Google Ad Grant for Nonprofits

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If you’ve ever written a grant application, you know just how long it can take.

The most complex federal grants may take upwards of 100 hours. And while usually less cumbersome, foundation grants require a significant time commitment.

That’s why you’re really going to like what we have to tell you.

We’re going to tell you how to win a grant in 60 minutes or less.

We rarely promise a sure thing, especially one that’s quick and easy. But when it comes to nonprofit grants, this is as close as it gets.

What is a Google Ad Grant?

Google Ad Grants provide $10,000 per month to buy Google search ads.

Why is that important? Because your agency can’t grow donors and volunteers if no one knows about the good work you’re doing.

The ability to advertise on Google will help likeminded people find your organization. Statistics say you’ll grow targeted impressions by 60,000 a year by using the Google grant to its full advantage.

How many nonprofits use Google Ad Grants?

Since the program was founded in 2003, some 100,000 nonprofits have received a Google Ad Grant. With an estimated 1.6 million nonprofits in the U.S., that’s a relatively low figure. It tells us more organizations should be taking advantage of this opportunity.

Many nonprofit veterans are likely aware of the Google Grant for Nonprofits. You may have shrugged it off as insignificant since it’s not a direct cash donation.

But don’t overlook this grant. It’s a value-ad for your nonprofit. Think of it as an in-kind donation.

Why should you apply for a Google Ad Grant?

It’s extremely easy to get. There are few program rules to follow, but many 501(c)(3)s are eligible. A few categories don’t qualify including:

  • Hospitals
  • Public or private schools, including higher ed institutions and childcare centers
  • Government entities

Additionally, there are no application period and no end date to the grant. That means you can apply when it’s convenient, and you don’t have to reapply to keep the grant. There are some program parameters that you’ll need to follow.

Like we said – it’s easy to get.

Second, a $10,000 per month stipend most certainly has a dollar value associated with it. It just doesn’t come as a check you can deposit in a bank account.  

A note: the program does limit your ad spending to $329 per day, but that’s more than enough to move the needle.

How do Google Ad help nonprofits?

What makes a $10,000 monthly Google Ad budget so attractive to nonprofits? Let’s talk basic digital marketing.

Nonprofit organizations need donors, supports and often volunteers to deliver services. But most smaller nonprofits’ expertise lies in service delivery, not search engine optimization and content marketing. And they usually can’t afford to spend big bucks on a marketing firm or full-time employee to execute a marketing communications plan.

We can hear you saying it now.

  • “We send direct mail solicitations to 15,000 supporters.”
  • “We have 1,000 Facebook followers and 200 on Twitter.”
  • “Our monthly email newsletter goes to 5000 people. We’re all good.”

Chances are your organization may be doing just fine. But audience growth leads to sustainability.

This grant could help you turn those 1,000 followers into 2,000. It could help you capture 15,000 more addresses. It could help you increase your email audience to 10,000.

And all those additions represent potential donors or volunteers who will help you do more, better.

How does pay-per-click advertising work?

The concept is simple. You design an ad campaign. You set key words, a geographic area and a host of other demographic information that ensures your ad reaches to the right people.

When people search for something that triggers your campaign, your ad appears at the top of the search results. If the searcher clicks on your ad, you pay Google.

Depending on how many people click on your ad, pay-per-click advertising can get expensive quickly and easily drain your annual marketing budget.

But paid ad campaigns on search engine and social platforms are precisely how many businesses get found by customers. Research shows that people are four times more likely to click on a Google ad than any other type of advertising.

Those ads at the top of a Google search page? They appear because a business paid for them to appear when a searcher types in a certain set of key words.

Nonprofits can use the same strategies as the for-profit world to attract donors, volunteers and even service recipients.

Let’s say a person wants to make a donation to a nonprofit but doesn’t know where to start. They type “best nonprofit” into the Google search bar.

You know what comes up?


Is St. Jude the best nonprofit? We’re not here to debate that, but people looking for reputable nonprofits may assume it to be true. And that assumption happened because of a Google Ad campaign.

The same thing happens when you search for a particular service. Let’s say you’re looking for an afterschool program for your kid.

Guess what comes up in the results? A New York City-based foundation whose mission is to “foster equity and improvements in learning and enrichment for young people, and in the arts for everyone.” If you weren’t aware of that philanthropy, you are now.

As you can see, Google Ads help your organization get found by people looking for similar organizations, and Google Ad Grants help you pay to run campaigns. That’s why applying for a Google Ad Grant is really a no-brainer for any size nonprofit.

How can nonprofits use Google Grants?

There’s really no limit to how you can use your Google Grant dollars. You can create campaigns related to any number of needs, such as:

  • Soliciting donations.
  • Offering newsletters, white papers and other content that helps you collect email addresses to build a donor base.
  • Advocating and educating about the issues your nonprofit champions.
  • Reaching your target audience for service delivery.
  • Providing general information about your nonprofit.
  • Recruiting volunteers to support your mission.
  • Advertising events such as meetings, galas, fundraisers, etc.
  • Driving social media engagement.
  • Encouraging people to sign petitions or take some sort of action.

How to apply for a Google Ad Grant

We said that getting a Google Ad Grant is easy. And it is.   

But it requires several steps that can be a little tedious.

You don’t have write much. You just have to navigate and input information into a few platforms. Depending on your level of comfort with online submission engines, you may not find the process straightforward.

But fear not. We’re here to walk you through it.

Is your nonprofit eligible for a Google Ad Grant?

We’ve already established that schools, hospitals and government agencies aren’t eligible for Google Ad Grants. There are a couple of other criteria.

Your organization must be a registered 501(c)(3). You’ll need your EIN number to apply.

Your organization own its domain name. It can’t be a site that ends in .weebly or .wix or .squarespace or another variation.

Your website must be updated regularly and not contain broken links. A broken link goes to a webpage that can’t be accessed by the user.

Your organization must have an SSL certificate to ensure security. Short for Secure Sockets Layer, this is a security feature that creates an encrypted link between a web server and a web browser.

What are the steps to apply for a Google Ad Grant?

We’ve tried to make this as simple as possible.

  1. First, set up Google Analytics on your website. It may seem complicated, but it’s not. Learn how from Google.  
  2. Next, register your nonprofit with TechSoup. Click on My Account, then Join for Free. This is where you’ll need your EIN number. After verifying your nonprofit status, TechSoup will send you a token or a number you’ll use to prove you’re a 501(c)(3).
  3. Then, sign upfor Google for Nonprofits. You’ll add your TechSoup token on the sign-up page.
  4. Finally, applyfor Google Ad Grant.

If you’re relatively tech savvy, these steps will be pretty easy. If you're not, this step-by-step guide will help.

We truly believe that Google Ad grants help your nonprofit do more, better. That’s why we want to help as many organizations as possible access this grant.

Apply for a Google Ad Grant today

Applying for a Google Ad Grant is one of the easier things you can do to help your nonprofit. We’ve made the process easy for you. When you’re ready to tackle bigger, more complex grants, we can help with that, too. Our self-paced grant writing course is packed with tips and tricks to help you win grants. Check it out and let us know if we can customize an education package for your organization.

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