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Google AdWords for nonprofits

The above title is a bold claim and you're probably already thinking, "What's the catch?" So, let's get right down to it. Google Ad Grants — known simply as Google Grants prior to 2015 — gives $10,000 a month in free Google advertising to registered nonprofits in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and more than 50 other countries worldwide.

However, Google Ad Grants are often forgotten or overlooked by nonprofits. In the U.S. alone, less than 20,000 of the more than 1.5 million eligible nonprofits take advantage of the grants.

To put it into perspective, imagine the impact that your charity could have if you bumped up your annual marketing budget by $120,000 and had the ability to drive anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 new visitors to your website each month.

Google AdWords — a nonprofit, in-kind donation to your charity

Google Ad Grants are in-kind donations delivered to each nonprofit inside a specially created Google AdWords account. (Google AdWords is Google's flagship advertising program and primary source of revenue.) The account comes loaded with $329 a day worth of advertising credit. Once you've got an account and been approved, you're ready to rock and roll. It's essentially a $10,000 monthly gift card from Google to help you reach more volunteers, add people to your email list and, of course, gather donations.

If you've worked in the nonprofit world for any length of time and are familiar with the Sisyphean task of applying for grant money, you're in for a pleasant surprise. You won't labor over the application and then wait months to find out if you've been awarded the grant. It takes about 15 minutes to register for Google Ad Grants and approval is straightforward. It's also perpetual. Once you've been approved, the free advertising money is yours forever — as long as you abide by the simple program rules.

The beauty of Google Ad Grants is that most nonprofits are eligible. Unless you're a government entity, hospital, medical group, school or childcare center, you're good to apply and will most likely receive the grant.

Google AdWords nonprofit eligibility for grants

Again, Google Ad Grants aren't available to government entities or organizations, hospital or medical groups, childcare centers or schools (including academic institutions and universities). However, philanthropic arms of educational organizations are eligible.

Aside from these exclusions, eligibility requirements are simple. Your organization must:

  • Be a registered nonprofit — a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the U.S., a charity registered with the Charity Commission in England and Wales, and so on
  • Be based in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia or one of more than 50 other eligible countries worldwide
  • Have a website

That's it. If your organization meets the eligibility requirements, you could have $10,000 a month in free Google advertising by this time tomorrow if you applied for the grant right now.

Apply for a Google AdWords grant?

To apply for Google Ad Grants:

  • Visit Google Ad Grants
  • Click the green sign up button on the right-hand side in the middle of the page
  • Check the three certification terms
  • Create a free TechSoup account (if you don't have one already), so that Google can verify your nonprofit status
  • Enter your TechSoup validation token
  • Provide the remaining information, such as phone number and representative information
  • Click submit

Or, watch this video to learn about Google Ad Grants and follow along with the application steps:

Then, celebrate because you're finished! Expect your approval within 48 hours. Some approvals are granted instantly.



MissionBox editorial content is offered as guidance only, and is not meant, nor should it be construed as, a replacement for certified, professional expertise.




Co-founder of Stallion Digital