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The Google Ads grant for not-for-profits

11 January 2020

Google Ad Grants

Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords, is an easy way to achieve awareness, website clicks and conversions. These ads tend to pop up when we're doing a Google search for products and services.

Many not-for-profits think they can’t afford to run a Google Ads campaign. But thanks to the Google Grant, they can!

Funding is limited in the not-for-profit sector, which makes both offline and online marketing difficult. It is disheartening that the organisations who need the most attention, often go without vital advertising. While it is not realistic to prioritise marketing over providing life-changing services, advertising is key in finding supporters and donors. 

The Google Ads Grant is a lesser-known, but a very generous source of in-kind funding for NFPs. Google donates US$10,000 a month in advertising credit for eligible organisations. This credit can be used on Google Ads that will appear in the search engine results.  

With a Google Ad Grant Account, NFPs can set up ads to increase online visibility and drive people to their website. They can also track click-through-rates (CTR) and other metrics to understand how the ads contribute to organisational goals. 

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Applying for the Google Ads Grant

Once not-for-profit organisations are registered and verified with Google, they can apply for the Google Ads Grant. Google also provides discounted rates to G Suite for nonprofits. 

To qualify for a Google Ad Grant, an organisation must first:

  • Apply to Google for Nonprofits. 
  • Hold valid charity status. 
  • Acknowledge and agree to Google's required certifications regarding discrimination and donation receipt and use.
  • Have a high-quality website that meets the Ad Grants website policy. 
  • Get approved through the Ad Grants pre-qualification process after enrolling in Google for Nonprofits

Organisations based in Australia must be a non-government, tax-exempt and not-for-profit. You might be registered with the Australian Charities and Non-Profits Commission, or tax-exempt according to the Australian Tax Office. 

Google Ads can create a significant increase in awareness and website visits which is monumental for not-for-profits. It can also play a vital role in supporting other digital marketing efforts.

The only drawback of this grant is that you can't target the Google Display Network. However, US$10,000 worth of search ads can still make a significant impact on a small not-for-profit. 


Understanding how to work with Google Ads

Learning how to create Google Ads is relatively simple, but will take some time and research to master. In addition to writing persuasive ads to encourage people to click on your ad, you also need to consider the landing page. The landing page is where people will enter your website. It’s here that you get to engage with your audience and convince them to contribute to your cause. 

But first you need to understand what terms people search for when targeting your ads. Including the right keywords in the ad and landing page will influence your ad’s quality score. A higher quality score is likely to secure a higher ad position.

Targeting engaged audiences with well-written ads increases your chances of increasing your ROI. Even though the ad spend is in-kind, you'll still need to commit time for staff to run your campaigns. If you can’t, you can pay an agency like us to manage your campaigns for you. So return on investment is still important.

If your organisation doesn’t have the budget to hire an ads professional, you will need to consider the cost of training someone. This is due to the grant's guidelines which dictate your ability to keep the funding. 

Unfortunately, you can't 'set and forget' these ads. If you’re not actively working to get the most out of your Google Ad Grant, it can be revoked. 

To retain access to the grant, Google requires recipients to show they are active participants. You have to frequently update your ads, assess their performance and utilise the funding as much as possible. You must also maintain a quality score of at least 2. This score is based on the quality of your ad copy, keywords and landing page experience. High quality scores are important in making sure your ads appear more often, and to keep your Google for Nonprofits account.

Refuel Creative offers discounted service rated to not-for-profit clients. As Google Partners, we’re confident we can achieve ideal results for your organisation. We have a strong history in the not-for-profit sector and helping organisations maximise their Ad Grant.


Getting results with Google Ad Grants

Over the past year, we’ve been helping The Animal Rehoming Service with their Google AdWords Campaigns. The results have made a big difference to this small not-for-profit.

The Animal Rehoming Service

“The best thing about working with Refuel is that they were aware of our budget. They ensured that the work done was providing us with the best value for money. The results were visible right away.

Our website traffic increased, social media following grew quickly and our newsletter subscriptions rose from 2-3 per week to 15-20. 

Overall, we had a wonderful experience with Refuel. The service was personalised, our questions were always answered, calls were returned within an exceptional time frame.

The team has excellent customer service and genuinely care about their clients’ results. Our results truly speak for themselves! I would 100% recommend Refuel!”


Key takeaways 

  • The Google Ads Grant is a worthwhile program for NFP's
  • Is great for creating awareness and achieving organisational goals
  • Google Ads can be affordable and easy to learn

Funding doesn't have to come from government departments or corporate sponsors; there are more options available. The Google Ads Grant is an excellent example of technology providers helping to make a difference. We help NFP clients all over Australia to manage their Google Ads account to guarantee results. 

Our agency specialises in assisting not-for-profit organisations. Many of our team have worked in or volunteered for not-for-profits. The team at Refuel are always willing to help a good cause. If you'd like to discuss the potential of working together, feel free to book a free exploratory call with us.


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Ryan Jones

Ryan is the Founder & CEO of Refuel Creative. He's a HubSpot certified marketer and SEO expert.