Google Grants Application for AdWords: A Step-by-Step Tutorial for NGOs

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08. December 2016

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If your nonprofit organization has not heard of Google for Nonprofits or Google Grants yet, it is missing out on a huge opportunity to reach out to the audience. Google would give you 10.000 US Dollar monthly AdWords budget, and we show you how to get your hands on that.  

What Is Google Grants? 

Google for Nonprofits is a membership program for nonprofits that gives access to free versions of Google products like G Suite, Google One Today, YouTube Nonprofit Program and Google Ad Grants. The last one mentioned, more often referred to as Google Grants, is the way to interact with internet users searching on Google. To a certain extent it is Google AdWords for free, as it gives your organization a monthly budget of 10.000 USD for search campaigns. Although your maximum CPC is limited to 2 USD, your daily budget is not allowed to exceed 329 USD and you cannot use the Google Display Network, there is a lot you can do. 

How Do You Apply for Google Grants? 

To apply for Google Grants and make your cause found, follow the steps below:

1. Check your eligibility for Google for Nonprofits

The first step to enjoy Google Grants is to be admitted to the Google for Nonprofits program. In order to be eligible, the organization has to be registered as a charitable organization in one of the countries Google for Nonprofits is active in. Governmental entities or organizations, hospitals or organizations related to health care are excluded from the program. Also, educational organizations like schools, childcare centers and universities are not eligible. For those organizations, there is Google for Education.

2. Obtain a validation code and submit membership application

If your NGO is not registered in the United States, you will have to use a TechSoup validation code in order to start the process. For Swiss non-profits this for example means they have to be registered at Stifter Helfen, TechSoup Global’s regional arm. Once you have this code, you can move on to submit your Membership Application

Google for Nonprofit Membership Application at a glance

3. Create AdWords Account

The review of your application should be done by Google within ten business days. If you want to use your time wisely and want to be ahead of the game, you can make first steps in Google AdWords to ensure enrolment to Google Ad Grants (step 4.). It is very important to realize that, should you have any, your existing AdWords account is not going to be accepted by Google for Nonprofits. You will have to create a new account. There are four crucial requirements that will allow you to get Google Grants:                                         

  • The currency of your AdWords account is set to US Dollars, regardless of where your organization is located.
  • No billing information has been added to the account ever. If you click the settings icon in the top right corner of your account and choose “Billing”, you should not see a payment method.
  • At least one campaign, one ad group, one ad and one keyword are added in the account. It does not matter if you for example name your campaign "test" or use "test" as a keyword.
  • The campaign is set to the Search Network only. 

4. Enrol in Google Ad Grants

Once you have been admitted to the Google for Nonprofits program, it is time to enrol in Google Ad Grants. Log into your Google for Nonprofits account and click "enrol" under Google Ad Grants. Make sure you can tick all the boxes under "Check for Errors", add your account information and submit the form. It will take one or two business days for your enrolment to be processed. 

Google Ad Grants Enrolment.

How Do You Use Google Grants? 

As soon as you are Google Ad Grantee, you can start enjoying your free AdWords advertising on Google search results pages. You can delete your test campaign and start using your free monthly budget. In order to keep enjoying Google Grants it is important to know that:

  • Your daily budget cannot exceed 329 USD
  • You can only target the Google Search Network
  • You must login to your AdWords account at least every 30 days
  • Changes to your campaigns will have to be made at least every 90 days
  • You can use manual bids only 

Should the process be a little bit overwhelming, or you feel like being lost in the forest in AdWords, then don’t hesitate to contact me.

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