Google Grants: An Introductory Search Advertising Guide for Nonprofits
25 Jan, 2013
Did you know Google allows many nonprofit organizations to spend up to $10,000 per month in free AdWords advertising? That’s right, Google takes care of the bill via its Google Grants program.
It’s astonishing how many nonprofit organizations (or people in general) aren’t aware this program exists. So let’s look at what Google Grants is, and more importantly, some examples of how you can best take advantage of what’s available.
What is Google Grants and Why Should You Apply?
Google created the Grants program in 2003 to allow 501(c)(3) organizations, e.g., charitable health care centers, schools, etc. to advertise via the Google AdWords platform. Once accepted, these organizations have received up to $10,000 per month to spend on Search ads, and in some cases up to $40,000 per month for those who qualified for “Grantspro” (see bottom of this article for more information).
In terms of the process to get Google Grants up and running, you used to be able to apply directly in one step with a very simple form using your organization’s Employee Identification Number (EIN). But in recent months Google started requiring that you apply for the Google for Nonprofits program first and then to the Google Grants product once accepted in the overall program, now making it two steps. Over time, the approval time has shortened but can still take at least a month.
As you might have guessed there are some caveats and restrictions to the program as mentioned on the Program Details page:
- A daily budget must not exceed $330 USD, which is equivalent to about $10,000 per month.
- There is a maximum cost-per-click (CPC) limit of $1 USD.
- You can only run keyword-targeted campaigns.
- Your ads can only appear on Google.com search (even though AdWords typically enables you to run display, video and/or mobile ads, in addition to Google.com search ads, if you’re paying out of your own pocket).
Examples of How You Can Take Advantage of the Program
Let’s get to some use cases:
- Focus on brand.
- Really think about your goals.
- Use it for pilots to build data and justify bigger spend.
In terms of generally setting up and running your ads, you’ll want to use typical best practices (e.g., doing keyword research around your focus areas, having tightly-themed campaigns, ad groups and ads to your keywords, writing copy with clear call-to-actions). So if you don’t have the background and experience with pay-per-click advertising, then you can easily find a reputable agency to help you get your ads going and manage them for you.
Focus on Brand
As mentioned above, AdWords ads that are run through the Google Grants program have a $1 max CPC. Because of this, it means:
- As you figure out your target keywords, you’ll have to see if the average CPC in your target area for your ads is over/under $1. Using historical data out of a previous AdWords account is best for this exercise, but if you don’t have access to that information then you can use the AdWords Keyword Tool