Google Ad GrantThe world of nonprofits is diverse. Organizations all over the country do their best to make the world a better place. While some nonprofits have secure resources, most are keenly aware of the perpetual cycle of securing the materials they need for success. Whether it’s volunteers, donors, or grants, nonprofits require these necessary resources and must use them efficiently.

At Nonprofit Megaphone, we specialize in helping nonprofits acquire, maintain, and utilize a specific kind of resource: The Google Ad Grant. This grant is unlike most other grants and is often unknown and underutilized. The Google Ad Grant presents a cost-effective opportunity for nonprofits of all sizes to jumpstart their digital marketing efforts. Whether you’re looking for a temporary boost or a long-term strategy, the Google Ad Grant may be right for you.

It’s crucial to understand how the Google Ad Grant works. When acquired, the Grant gives your organization up to $10,000 every month that you can use to bid on Google Ad space. However, it’s important to know that this money is allocated automatically by the Google Ads infrastructure. Thus, this money is not liquid and is not counted as traditional revenue. While this may be strange to some organizations, it provides some distinct advantages, namely that it requires no upfront costs or cost-sharing. This makes it a prudent option as the returns are limited only by the time and expertise you’re willing to commit to it.

Knowing whether the Google Ad Grant is right for your nonprofit requires some careful considerations. While economical, it’s not without risks and requirements. We at Nonprofit Megaphone are here to share some of the most important questions you should ask yourself before applying for the grant: 

  1. Does Your Organization Meet the Eligibility Criteria?
  2. Would Your Nonprofit Benefit From Additional Traffic To Your Website?
  3. Do You Have A Person or Team Who Can Manage The Grant?

Even if you don’t have prepared answers to these questions, Nonprofit Megaphone is here to help. Let’s get started!

Does Your Organization Meet The Eligibility Criteria?

Most nonprofits are sensitive to the eligibility requirements for grants. While many grants have strict or complicated requirements, the Google Ad Grant’s eligibility criteria are very simple. Your organization is likely already eligible and can easily verify your status.

The Google Ad Grant is a program designed by Google to help nonprofits compete in their advertising marketplace. Organizations with the Grant are eligible to use Grant funds to compete with each other for ad space. However, this opportunity isn’t afforded to every organization, but is specific to those who meet the eligibility criteria.

Eligibility for the Google Ad Grant can be summed up by two simple criteria. Your organization is eligible if:

  1. Your organization is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
  2. Your organization is not a school, college, hospital, or government agency.

If both of these principles are true for your nonprofit, then you are eligible and can begin the acquisition process. In order to verify these criteria, you’ll need to register with Techsoup. Techsoup will then issue a token that can be given to Google to verify your eligibility.

Acquiring the Grant only requires meeting these criteria and following some basic onboarding steps with Google. However, maintaining the grant not only requires maintaining eligibility, but meeting further compliance standards as well. As we’ll discuss in more detail in the next sections, these compliance requirements can be met with some diligent management.

Would Your Nonprofit Benefit From Additional Web Traffic?

The primary function of the Google Ad Grant is to generate traffic to your website. By presenting ads for your nonprofit within a Google search, your organization will be introduced to a brand new audience. With smart grant management, this will translate into more visitors to your website and hopefully increase donations, newsletter sign-ups, and other valuable conversions.

You might be thinking “Why wouldn’t we benefit from additional web traffic?” There’s no doubt that your organization would benefit, but answering this question requires a more specific consideration. While traffic is certainly good, it’s only useful if you can turn that traffic into something valuable for your organization. This means you should think about what you want out of the Google Ad Grant and create a strategy to reach your goals.

First, you need to think about what you want visitors to do when they visit your website. Starting off, this should be a realistic and achievable goal. After all, it’s much easier to get email signups than donations from first-time visitors. The success of your Google Ad Grant can be measured by whether you meet these goals.

Second, think about how you can easily guide visitors to take your desired action. This should involve thinking hard about the landing pages you have attached to your Google Ads. A landing page is appropriately named: it’s the page a user “lands” on when they click on an ad and visit your site. One of the best things you can do to get the most of your Google Ad Grant is to optimize your landing pages. Using high-quality content, concise language, and effective Calls To Action, visitors will be more inclined to meet your desired goals.

Effective use of the Google Ad Grant requires constant consideration of questions like these. As a powerful marketing tool, you’ll benefit from making web design decisions with the Grant in mind. Optimizing various parts of your website for the Ad Grant will help you make the most of it while making your content more accessible to new and returning users.

Do You Have A Staff Member Or Team Who Could Manage The Grant?

No matter your nonprofit’s size, resources, or strategy, it’s a best practice to delegate management of the Google Ad Grant to one specific person or team. Designating a grant manager allows them to focus on compliance and develop the skills necessary to use the grant effectively. 

Splitting up these responsibilities can easily create problems as the skills of grant management require sound judgment, analytical skills, creative thinking, and attention to detail. With one designated grant manager or grant management team, they are able to cultivate these skills and better integrate the Google Ad Grant into the rest of your organization’s activities and strategies.

With a designated Grant manager, it’s easy for any organization to focus on their goals. Smaller organizations new to the Grant may focus only on compliance. With more resources or experience, your manager can focus more on specific goals and long-term success. Regardless of your focus, grant management involves the following:

  • Account Maintenance and Remaining Compliant – Google requires that you log into your Google Ads account at least once a month. This minimum requirement ensures that the Grant is not wasted. Account maintenance also requires that you “tweak” your account to maintain at least a 5% Click Through Rate (CTR). This metric represents the number of people who click on your ads divided by the number of people who are presented with your ads. A CTR that’s lower than 5% suggests that you need to alter  your ads or keywords. Successfully tweaking of your account requires that you pay close attention to trends and make appropriate changes.

  • A/B Testing – The Google Ads interface allows you to create multiple ads attached to the same landing page and keywords. This leads many grant managers to use A/B testing to constantly refine their ads and make them more successful. A/B testing is the process of designing two ads that differ in distinct ways and comparing their performance. Inevitably, one will perform better than the other. If ad “A” is doing better than ad “B” then the grant manager should tweak “B” in hopes of making it surpass its sibling. This process allows the manager to develop their skills while also honing their ads for better performance.

  • Keywords – Whether an Ad appears in a Google search depends on the keywords used in the search query. Grant managers attach various keywords that are relevant to the ad copy and its associated landing page. These keywords need to be frequently monitored as they directly affect the CTR of the ad. Sometimes, people simply aren’t searching for keywords. Other times, searchers using a specific keyword don’t see your ad as relevant to their search. In both of these cases, grant managers need to pause or modify these keywords or else their overall CTR will go down. By responding to the data, managers can learn how to remain compliant and achieve great success with the Google Ad Grant.


These basic elements of grant management can be done by any organization. However, depending on your size, resources, or goals you’ll have to devote considerable time and labor into grant management. This leads many organizations to outsource the service to experts. Not only does this ensure success with the Google Ad Grant, but it allows your team to focus on what you do best. Grant management is best done in tandem with a focus on optimizing your website. If an agency can focus on the former, you’ll have the time and resources for the latter.

The Bottom Line

The Google Ad Grant is a fantastic opportunity for any nonprofit. One of its greatest strengths is its flexibility, allowing organizations of various sizes and capacities to take advantage of it. However, like most grants, it requires some work to acquire and maintain. No matter what your organization’s goals are, it’s important to consider whether the Google Ad Grant is right for you and what resources you’re willing to put towards it.

At a minimum, your organization should be able to identify whether you’re eligible for the grant, if you can take advantage of the increased web traffic, and identify a person or team who can manage the grant for you. With these questions in mind, you’ll build a solid foundation upon which you can use the Grant successfully. As you get more familiar with the Grant and it’s capabilities, you’ll be equipped to integrate it as a permanent part of your marketing strategy.

About the Author

Grant Hensel is the CEO of Nonprofit Megaphone, an agency focused 100% on Google Grant Management for nonprofits. NPM is honored to manage the Google Grant for 370+ leading nonprofits worldwide and to be an inaugural member of the Google Ad Grant Certified Professionals community.