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Google makes changes to it's AdWords and Ad Grants policies in 2018. Here's how to stay compliant.

Are you a nonprofit or charity with a Google AdWords or Ad Grants account? You should know that Google recently updated its policies for these accounts, and organizations that are not compliant with the rule changes will have their accounts canceled. The policy changes are intended to help preserve quality and bring clarity to their advertising grants.

Google serves over 35,000 nonprofits and charities, and AdWords and Ad Grants benefits nonprofits by greatly expanding awareness of their missions.

Policy changes went into full effect in January 2018. Be sure your nonprofit stays in compliance with these policy changes and avoid account deactivation.

Keywords and queries

Certain keywords and queries are no longer permitted:
  • Branded keywords you do not own, such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook
  • Names of newspapers
  • Single-word keywords
  • Generic keywords like place names or historical names. Keyword phrases such as "download games" or "free videos" are also no longer permitted
  • Keywords with a quality score of 2 or less


Specific geo-targeting to display ads relevant to your nonprofit is now required. Location targeting means your ads are served up to users in a particular area and it should be one that is relevant to your organization.

Ad groups and extensions

Google ad accounts must also have:

  • Two active ad groups per campaign, including two text ads.
  • Sitelink ad extensions. Sitelink extensions allow you to add more links to your ads and even take users directly to particular locations on your site. Read more about the benefits and flexibility of sitelinks.

Click-through rate

  • All AdWords and Ad Grants accounts must maintain a five percent click-through rate per month. Click-through rates will help you gauge the effectiveness of your ads.
  • Not maintaining a rate of 5 percent for two months consecutively will get your account canceled. You will need to adjust your keywords to be compliant. After you've done that you can request your account be reactivated.

Survey participation

  • Google's Ad Grants survey โ€” you must participate. Your account will be deactivated if you don't complete the survey. Tip: be sure the email address you use for notifications is also opted-in to receive the survey email.

If you're still unsure on how to proceed, Google wants to help! They offer webinars, an online forum and extensive help documentation.

Read more about changes to Google Ad Grant policies on Media Cause.



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