September 28, 2020

Google for Nonprofits: A Short and Sweet Guide to Google Grants


Back to Blog

Want to change the world? Google Ads can help!

You heard that right. Google can give your non-profit organization up to $10,000 to spend on Google Ads each month. It’s $120,000 a year and it can be yours if you apply. The question is whether you know how to use Google Ads to raise donations for the cause your nonprofit is serving.


Google Ads is the world’s biggest advertising platform, but it’s also one of the most complicated ones as well -- and that can put people off, especially in the not-for-profit sector.  But If you have a registered charity or nonprofit, you’ll probably qualify for Google Ad Grants. So that creates a problem.

This short guide will tell you how to get approved for the grant and give you an overview of how to make the best of it. Read on and feel free to contact Josh Meah at any time if you need assistance with your Google Ads NonProfits advertising.

How to Get Approved for Google Ads Nonprofits Grant

Your nonprofit can get approved for Google Ads grant if you fit Google’s eligibility requirements. Here’s a quick roadmap of how to proceed.

Check if Your Nonprofit is Eligible

  • Your nonprofit must be registered as a charity with your government
  • Nonprofits based in the US need to have 501(c)(3) status
  • Note that hospitals or healthcare facilities don’t qualify for Google Ads Nonprofits
  • Check Google Ads Nonprofits eligibility guidelines for other countries to learn the criteria for your country; and make sure you are eligible before moving to the next step

Register with TechSoup

TechSoup is Google’s partner for the nonprofits grant. It’s a nonprofit that provides technology tools and other resources to nonprofits for a discounted price. Registration with TechSoup is mandatory for enrolling with Google Ads Nonprofits.

  • If your nonprofit is eligible for the Google Ads grant, the next step is to go to TechSoup’s sign up page, select your country and get registered.
  • Once your organization has been validated, a process that may take up to 30 days, you will receive a TechSoup validation token.
  • A token is simply a string of letters and numbers that typically ends with a part of the company’s name; for example 786a431@mynonprofit.
  • You’ll need this token to apply for the grant.

Enroll in Google Ads Nonprofits

Got your TechSoup token? Awesome! Now you’re ready to sign up for Google Nonprofits

  • You’ll need your tax ID number and TechSoup token to complete the enrollment.
  • Just head over to Google for Nonprofits registration site and click on Get Started.
  • Agree to Google’s non-discrimination statement.
  • Enter your TechSoup token.
  • Fill out your personal contact and organization info.
  • It typically takes a few days and most nonprofits qualify.

Apply for Google Ads Nonprofits Grant

After you get accepted as a Google Nonprofit, follow the step-by-step process as given in Google Ad Grant activation guide for beginners or the activation guide for advanced marketers, depending upon your skill level. Now would also be the time to create your Google Ads account

  • You don’t need to set up a campaign at this stage. Just provide your website and email address and fill in the details about your nonprofit.
  • Pro Tip: Always provide your preferred payment currency as US dollars regardless of which region you’re in.
  • When you’re done, sign in to your Google Ads for Nonprofits account and click the ‘Activate’ tab under Google Ads Grants.
  • Submit your account for pre-qualification review by clicking ‘Enroll’..
  • Google will get back to you with (hopefully) an approval of your account within 5 business days
  • Upon qualifying, you’ll also get access to Google for Nonprofits tools including G Suite for Nonprofits, Google Ad Grants, YouTube Nonprofit Program, and Google Earth and Maps.

Once approved, you’re all set to set up your first campaign and start spending up to $329 per day on free Google Ads. Before that, however, you’ll need to set up your Google Ads account, which is still an empty shell.

Getting Started with Google Ads Campaigns for Nonprofits

Google Ads is quite a beast when it comes to features. The first login to your Google Ad Grants account can be a little overwhelming. But don’t worry. You’ll get better with time and with the following concise guidelines.  You can always consider hiring a Google Ads expert if you’re not sure you can do it yourself.

Select The Keywords

Keywords are simply words that people use when they search for a cause like the one you are promoting. For example, if you have a nonprofit to save rhinos in Africa, one of your keywords can be ‘save rhinos donation’. But how will you know the keywords related to your organization that people are using to make searches? 

There’s a bunch of tools you can use, starting with Google Keyword Planner, which is a free resource, to paid tools such as AHREFS, Wordstream, MOZ, and others. 

  • Start by searching for the main keyword that relates to your nonprofit, such as ‘save rhinos’.
  • Google or the other keyword tool you’re using will show you a list of keyword suggestions, along with the volume, competition and other data for each keyword.
  • For example, the following list pops up when you search for ‘save rhinos’ on AHREFS.
  • Select the keywords that have a high volume, and preferably low competition
  • Be mindful of the user intent behind each keyword when shortlisting.
  • Do not select keywords that don’t relate to what you do.

Set Up Ad Groups

Ad Groups are the building blocks of your campaign. Each Ad Groups contains a bunch of keywords that are related to each other. For example, you can have an Ad Group for collecting donations and another one for collecting subscriptions for email marketing. A third Ad Group may be targeted at people who are looking to sponsor ‘save baby rhinos,’ and so on.

Google Ads Keyword Grouping: How to Group Your Keywords in AdWords |  WordStream

Source: Wordstream

Pro Tip: Do not duplicate keywords in an Ad Group to avoid competing against your own ads and paying more than you should.

Create Your Ads

Google Ads allows many different ad formats, but the ones that a nonprofit can use include text ads, responsive ads, image ads, video ads, and call-only ads. There are ten types of campaigns you can run. Here’s a look at which ad formats can be used in different types of campaigns:

  • A nonprofit is likely to find search only, search network with display, and display only campaigns most suitable for fundraising and donations 
  • You’ll need to write great copy for text ads and create high-quality videos and visuals for video ads and display ads
  • You can create several ads per Ad Group, but we recommend using no more than two ads per Ad Group
  • You don’t need to worry about ad creative if you’re working with a marketing agency like Josh Meah & Company.

Design Landing Pages

For best results, each ad should lead to a dedicated landing page. A landing page is where you ask for donations or memberships or try to achieve other campaign objectives. The essential elements of a landing page can include:

  • A clear headline stating the main selling point
  • A high-quality hero image
  • Several sub headlines and small paragraphs or bullet points stating your key selling propositions to persuade your visitor
  • Testimonials, reviews, memberships, and other data to build trust
  • Frequently asked questions

Landing pages should be optimized for conversions. A conversion is an action that you’d like your visitors to take, such as clicking the ‘Donate Now’ button. 

Track and Manage Your Campaigns

Effective campaign management is essential if you want to continue using the grant. Google may suspend your account if you violate its account management policy.

  • Your Google Ads Grants account must have at least two Ad Groups, each containing a set of closely related keywords.
  • Each Ad Group must contain at least two active, unique ads.
  • Most importantly, you must have a high click through rate, the percentage of viewers who click on your ads. Google will suspend a nonprofit account that has an account-wide CTR of less than 5% for two consecutive months.

To keep advertising free, you should keep an eye on Google Ads as well as Google Analytics. Review your Ad Groups and weed out weaker keywords. Test and optimize your landing pages for conversions. And design compelling, highly relevant ads that get clicked.


This brings us to the end of our short and sweet guide. As you may have noticed, it’s easy for a legit charity to apply for Google Ads grant for nonprofits and get approved. But running effective advertising campaigns and maintaining an active Google Ads Nonprofits account, that’s not easy. 

There are many details that we have left out, simply because it may become overwhelming for a nonprofit to run successful campaigns consistently without the assistance of an expert or an agency. Investing some money on outsourced advertising services can pay you back many times by using your grant more effectively. Ten thousand dollars a month is a lot of money for Google Ads if you know how to use it.

latest post

The art is building the right growth campaign. The science is in the results.

Ready to get started?

Let's Talk     +