The Quick Guide to Google Ad Grants

By Mario Marhx

What Is Google Ad Grants?

Leaders of nonprofit organizations are usually focused on one thing, the mission. Whatever that mission may be, nonprofits exist to provide services or resources for a community. With that said, digital marketing is not usually at the forefront of thought. A well-executed online strategy can help boost a nonprofit’s donor yield by ensuring their message is being heard by the right people. But how do you put together an online marketing effort for a nonprofit if funds are thin? The answer is Google Ad Grants.

Google Ad Grants is a program that provides qualified nonprofits with up to $10,000 in monthly ad spend on Google’s ad platform for free.


Eligibility Guidelines

To qualify, the following criteria must be met:

  • The organization must hold a valid 501(c)(3) status
  • Have a live website with substantial content
  • Register with TechSoup and acquire a Validation Token
  • Register with Google for Nonprofits
  • Acknowledge and agree to Google’s required certifications regarding nondiscrimination and donation receipt and use

Some types of nonprofits are ineligible for Google Ad Grants such as:

  • Government entities and organizations
  • Hospitals and medical groups
  • Schools, childcare centers, academic institutions, and universities


Your Nonprofit Organization Is Qualified. What’s Next?

Your nonprofit is now ready to register for a Google Ads account. After registration, start researching to build the organization’s ads and keyword structures. A PPC or Pay-Per-Click professional can do these things for you, although you can brave it alone. A word of caution, if you do, setting up a Google Ads account is one thing, but maintaining and optimizing is another. If the account does not meet Google Ad Grants standards, it will be suspended.


How do you avoid account suspension?

In order to keep the free $10,000 monthly ad spend, the Google Ad Grants rules must be followed to avoid suspension. The rules are as follows:

  • Can only spend $329 daily
  • The $2 keyword bid cap can only be lifted by using Maximize Conversions bid strategy
  • Can only promote text ads (no photo or video ads)
  • Ads must lead to the organization’s website
  • Must maintain a 5% or higher account CTR
  • 2 consecutive months below 5% results in account suspension
  • Each campaign must contain 2 active ad groups
  • Ad groups must contain more than one keyword and two active ads
  • Account must feature two sitelink extensions
  • No bidding on generic keywords (“best bike” or “free music”)
  • No bidding on single non-branded keywords
  • No bidding on keywords that aren’t affiliated with the brand (no bidding on “google”)
  • Keywords must have a quality score of 2 or higher
  • No ads, keywords, or URLs that promote: hatred, intolerance, discrimination, or violence



$10,000 in monthly ad spend on Google’s ad platform is a huge boost to any nonprofit’s online marketing efforts. The qualification process is straightforward enough to complete with little effort. Setting up the Google Ads account is as easy, but maintaining it is a different story. If your organization lacks the experience to manage the account, a suspension is likely. Consider finding a professional to take care of your organization’s PPC needs.

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