Do you work for a nonprofit that strives to amplify a worthwhile cause and make the world a better place? If so, you need to know about Google Grants! This program is designed to empower eligible nonprofits to get the attention they deserve online in a financially practical way. By receiving a monthly grant of $10,000 to spend on Google Ads, your nonprofit can spike its web traffic via Google Search. But first, you need to meet the necessary Google Grants eligibility criteria.
While Google Grants are a valuable nonprofit resource, not all nonprofits are eligible to receive the funds. The process to determine your Google Grants eligibility can appear daunting, as can the next steps once you’ve figured out your organization is indeed eligible. That’s what this guide is here for! We’ll help you clear up any confusion or misconceptions surrounding the Google Grants eligibility verification process and the application process.
At Getting Attention, we devote our time to helping nonprofits just like yours secure Google Grants and strategize how they’ll allocate their funds. We’re constantly checking the Google Grants requirements, and we’re happy to help you understand exactly what you need to know. In this guide, we’re going to cover the following points to help your nonprofit verify its eligibility for the program:
- What is the Google Grant?
- Why are there Google Grants requirements?
- Which nonprofits are eligible for Google Grants?
- How do I start the Google Grants eligibility verification process?
- Can my nonprofit lose its Google Grants eligibility status?
- Are there experts that can verify my Google Grants eligibility?
Google Ad Grants are without a doubt one of the most beneficial marketing opportunities that nonprofits can leverage. Confirming your eligibility and then applying doesn’t have to be complicated.
Continue reading and we’ll give more program details, help you determine your nonprofit’s eligibility, and provide some information about the application process.
1. What is the Google Grant?
Google Grants (also called Ad Grants and AdWords Grants) is a Google-sponsored marketing grant program that awards eligible nonprofits with $10,000 in Ad credits each month. These funds can be used to bid on different cause-related keywords. When allocated effectively, these credits provide nonprofits with a free way to advertise their most important pages at the top of Google search results.
For instance, let’s say you’re a philanthropic individual with a strong passion for ending elephant endangerment. In this case, you might visit Google and search a query like “end elephant endangerment” or “save the elephants”. A wildlife rescue charity or world conservation organization might use their Google Ad Grant to bid on these terms and direct you toward their donation page or ‘Involvement’ page.
Unlike most nonprofit grant programs, the Google Grants program is not constrained by available funds. In other words, all nonprofits with Google Grants eligibility can receive the $10,000 per month — there is no limit to the number of nonprofits who can participate.
What does free advertising on the world’s largest and most popular search engine mean for your nonprofit? When you confirm your Google Ad Grants eligibility, you’ll have:
- Increased digital visibility and reach
- More interactions with your nonprofit’s website, particularly with your most important content
- Free and amplified promotion to potential donors, volunteers, advocates, and other supporters
- Complimentary analytics to determine your campaigns’ performance
- The ability to market multiple digital campaigns at once
- The potential to increase conversions, including online donations, event registrations, volunteer sign-ups, advocacy participation, and more
Each of these six benefits comes together to drive more awareness for your nonprofit, and in turn, garner more donations (or whatever your conversion goals are). All you have to do is confirm you’re eligible, apply for the program, and start creating your campaigns.
2. Why are there Google Grants requirements?
When it comes to corporate philanthropy programs, companies aim to support organizations whose missions align with theirs. After all, their name is attached to however the nonprofit spends those funds. That’s why — just like for any other grant — there’s a handful of Google Grants eligibility rules you must meet.
While you might not have to compete for the funds, Google still wants to make sure you’re promoting a trustworthy cause and exercising proper security precautions. Otherwise, one of the following situations might occur:
- Untrustworthy groups might gain access to the program and trick unsuspecting users into compromising sensitive information, like their credit card details or home address.
- An organization, even if it’s pursuing a worthwhile cause, might not meet the minimum site security requirements, so if someone donates or signs up to volunteer, any of the information they provide can be intercepted by a hacker.
- The organization doesn’t have any content on its website that would be valuable to users. It’d be awfully difficult to provide users with what they’re looking for when they search certain terms on Google, resulting in unfulfilled users and a poor experience overall.
In any of these scenarios, the outcomes will ultimately taint Google’s reputation and result in unhappy users. In short, the Google Grants eligibility requirements exist to ensure that the program delivers value to users, nonprofit participants, charitable beneficiaries, and Google itself.
3. Which nonprofits are eligible for Google Grants?
Luckily, Google is very straightforward in the standards it requires nonprofits to meet. Bear in mind that exact Google Grants requirements vary from country to country, but they generally follow the same structure. To be eligible for the program, your nonprofit must:
- Hold current and valid charity status in your country. In the U.S., that means being registered as a 501(c)(3) organization with the IRS.
- Be registered with TechSoup and Google for Nonprofits. If you’re not already registered, we’ll walk you through both of these processes later on. (Or, you can check out our Google Grants application guide!)
- Agree to the application’s required certifications regarding nondiscrimination and donation receipt and use.
- Have a functioning website that features a substantial amount of valuable content. Read on to learn more about the website quality requirements.
To help you better understand these requirements, let’s walk through some of the main categories that Google will look at when determining a nonprofit’s Google Grants eligibility:
1. Type of Nonprofit Organization
Not every nonprofit will be awarded a Google Grant. For instance, we mentioned that in the U.S., only 501(c)(3) nonprofits are eligible. 501(c)(3) means the Internal Revenue Service recognizes the nonprofit as an official charitable organization and thus exempts it from any federal tax obligations.
A nonprofit’s specific industry matters, too. While the Google Grants program is an excellent way to bolster your online presence, the following three sectors are ineligible to participate:
- Government: Government-affiliated organizations and entities
- Healthcare: Hospitals and other healthcare organizations
- Education: Schools, academic institutions, and universities
It’s important to note that these eligibility requirements are specific to Google Ad Grants. There are other programs offered by Google, such as Google for Education, which offers support to educational institutions and is designed for different purposes.
2. Website Quality
In its official Website Policy for nonprofits, Google also looks at the attributes and quality of a nonprofit’s website to determine the organization’s Google Grants eligibility. This is because the advertisements purchased via Google Grants will send search engine users to the nonprofit’s website, and Google doesn’t want to direct people to ineffective content. This will negatively impact the user experience and lead to unfulfilled search intent.
When evaluating a website, Google looks for:
- An owned website: Your organization must own the domain that a Google Ad would direct users to when they click on it.
- A clear and detailed description of the organization, its mission, and its activities: There should be no mystery as to what your nonprofit does and stands for.
- Unique website content: Materials on your site should be exclusive to your nonprofit and not found elsewhere on the internet.
- No broken links: Broken links no longer direct to their previously intended destination. If someone clicks a broken link, it will lead them to a 404 error page. Avoid this by constantly checking your linked materials and updating them as necessary (such as implementing a redirect to a relevant piece of content).
- Sufficient loading time: There are many factors that contribute to slow loading time, and therefore many ways it can be avoided. For instance, opt for smaller and compressed images as opposed to larger ones to keep your site running quickly.
- HTTPS security: An HTTPS-secured website is encrypted and therefore offers users greater protection and privacy during their browsing.
- Noncommercial in nature: Your website must serve the general public, not just those who provide financial contributions. Commercial activity (e.g. product sales, consultation offers, lead generations, etc.) should not be the sole purpose of your website. If anything commercial appears on your website, you must clearly describe how it supports your mission. In certain cases, you must provide an annual report detailing how your organization used the commercially-obtained funds.
- Limited advertisements: All ads must be relevant to your mission and not obtrusive to site users.
In short, your website simply needs to be high quality. While all these Google Grants eligibility requirements might seem daunting, a well-maintained website will already meet many of these qualifications without needing substantial updates.
3. Compliance With Program Policies
To become Google Grants eligible and remain so, your nonprofit must comply with various program policies set by Google.
This includes following the Google Ad Grants terms and conditions, standard Google Ads policies, Google’s general terms and conditions, and account management policies. Some of these policies include:
- Not using ads, keywords, or landing page destinations that promote hatred, intolerance, discrimination, or violence.
- Not abusing the ad network. In other words, you cannot run ads, content, or destinations that attempt to trick the ad review processes.
- Handling collected data with care, including information like full names, email addresses, mailing addresses, phone numbers, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity, and so on.
If you’re unsure if your organization qualifies for the program, reach out to a professional who can verify your eligibility and keep up with compliance standards for you. As we’ll explore later, experts (like the team here at Getting Attention) dedicate their time to learning and staying up-to-date on Google Grants eligibility and compliance rules. That way, you can rest assured that you’ll become and remain eligible!
Takeaway: Google has quite a few eligibility requirements your organization must meet to qualify for the Google Grants program. However, the benefit of amplifying your mission is well worth the time you’ll spend checking into your Google Grants eligibility!
4. How do I start the Google Grants eligibility verification process?
So, you’ve determined your organization’s Google Grants eligibility. Great! What’s next? It’s time to start the verification process where you set up the relevant accounts and actually fill out the program’s application.
Luckily, the application process is the easiest part of managing your Google Grant account. So long as you’ve got everything squared away with your eligibility, you can start moving through the process as soon as you’re ready.
Here are three easy steps you’ll need to follow to be awarded eligibility into the program:
- Register with TechSoup. If you haven’t already, you need to authenticate your nonprofit through TechSoup. TechSoup works with companies (like Google) to provide nonprofits with discounted and free software, hardware, and services to help streamline their work. Verification typically takes anywhere from 2-14 business days, so be sure to factor this step into your timeline. Once you’re officially registered, they’ll give you a validation token that you’ll need to provide to Google.
- Sign up for a Google for Nonprofits account. To access Google Ad Grants, your nonprofit needs a Google for Nonprofits account. It’s a straightforward application process that involves providing your tax identification number, non-discrimination policies, and general contact and organization information. Plus, this account offers many other tools that your organization can take advantage of (like Google Workspace and the YouTube Nonprofit Program). While straightforward, this process could take several days. It’s best to get started as soon as possible.
- Apply for the Google Grant. Once your Google for Nonprofits application is approved, you can apply for the Google Ad Grants program. This is a multi-step process that includes: (1) signing into your Google for Nonprofits account, (2) clicking Activate under Google Ad Grants, (3) filling out the eligibility form, (4) returning to Google for Nonprofits, and (5) submitting your account for review.
Bear in mind that this process will take a bit of time since both TechSoup and Google will have to manually review your applications and confirm your accounts, so it’s best to start sooner rather than later. Otherwise, that’s it! In just three simple steps, you can be up and running with Google Ad Grants. From here, you can create your Google Ads account and configure your campaigns to best suit your goals.
If this process seems a bit overwhelming, relax! Getting Attention specializes in helping nonprofits apply for Google Ad Grants, so reach out today for a free consultation! We’ll confirm your eligibility and help you walk through each of the steps above.
5. Can my nonprofit lose its Google Grant eligibility status?
Yes, your nonprofit can absolutely lose its Google Grants eligibility! If your nonprofit doesn’t maintain compliance with the program’s policies, their team will revoke your eligibility and suspend your account. To avoid that outcome, abide by the following best practices:
- Maintain an active account. Google wants to see that you’re making good use of the grant, so log in at least once a month and update your account at least every 90 days.
- Target ads in a relevant way to a specific region. Make a recognizable effort to target your desired audience by both topic and region. You want your ads to accurately reflect your nonprofit’s mission as well as reach who your mission is relevant to.
- Evaluate keywords monthly. Check your keywords often to see what’s working and what’s not. Based on your evaluation, restrategize as necessary. Additionally, there are a few keyword rules to keep in mind. For example, no single keywords, overly generic keywords, or keywords with a quality score of 1 or 2 are permitted.
- Maintain a 5% click-through rate (CTR). Failing to meet 5% CTR for two consecutive months can result in account deactivation.
When Google first established the program around 20 years ago, there weren’t any formal compliance requirements in place. This often led to nonprofits advertising unhelpful content on their website and targeting the wrong keywords that didn’t align with the searcher’s intent, thus connecting them with unqualified prospects. Nonprofits were more focused on spending as much of the grant money as possible to increase their search visibility, rather than connecting with likely prospects. This decreased the value of the program and probably impacted users’ satisfaction when their Google searches led to irrelevant content.
Thus, the official google Grant compliance rules were officially launched in 2018! These rules weren’t intended to exclude organizations from participating. Rather, they were created to help nonprofits develop thoughtful strategies and leverage the grant money to drive meaningful conversions.
Luckily, Google provides a number of resources to help you meet these Google Grants requirements. For example, to improve CTR, you can pause generic and high impression, low CTR keywords. You can also ensure geotargeting is set for each campaign. Don’t worry about having to figure it all out on your own — Google is here to help and so are dedicated experts like Getting Attention!
If you’ve lost your Google Grants eligibility, don’t stress about it too much yet. Google has a clear process for requesting account reactivation, and they’ll often tell you how you went against the account requirements. You can partner with a Google Grants consultant to work through the reactivation process.
6. Are there experts that can verify my Google Grants eligibility?
We know this is a lot of information to take in. Don’t worry, though— you don’t have to navigate Google Grants alone. There are professionals out there who can help you leverage the funding to its fullest potential, starting with confirming your Google Grants eligibility!
Oftentimes, nonprofits will look to traditional marketing agencies for their Google Grants needs. However, the Google Grants program is not the same as standard Google Ads. It’s best to look for agencies that specialize in Google Grants.
For example, Getting Attention is qualified to help you every step of the way. Here are just a few of the many services we can offer your nonprofit throughout your Google Grants journey:
- Google Grant Application: Our experts can complete the application for you efficiently and effectively, pledging a high success rate for your nonprofit’s acceptance. We’ll check your Google Grants eligibility first and walk through the essential steps so that your account gets approved on the first try!
- Google Grant Hygiene: While you focus on your nonprofit’s mission, we’ll take care of maintaining your campaign data, tracking conversions, and conducting tests to see which ads inspire conversions.
- Google Grant Reactivation: If your account is ever suspended, we can help get your account back up and running in no time.
- Keyword Research: The key to a successful Google Grants campaign is choosing the perfect terms to target. Our research team can do the heavy lifting to make sure you’re using the most relevant and effective keywords for your nonprofit.
- Grant Management: We’ll help you allocate your funds strategically and ensure you comply with all program rules. We’ll strive to keep your strategy fresh and your pipeline full by taking note of potentially valuable opportunities based on our findings.
Our goal is to meet and beat your expectations with Google Ad Grants. As you can see, confirming your eligibility and maintaining compliance are just one part of that.
If you’re interested in learning more, we’re happy to chat with you about your Google Grant needs. Request a free consultation today, and we’ll get to work on shaping up your Google Ad Grants strategy.
From improving the quality of your website to working with a specialized agency, we’ve covered the ins and outs of the Google Grants eligibility requirements. Hopefully, you’re now able to assess your own nonprofit’s eligibility and get started on the application process. If not, our team is always here to help!
Remember, confirming your eligibility is only the beginning! There’s so much to learn when it comes to managing a Google Ad Grants account, and the possibilities for inspiring new prospects through the program are endless.
If you’re interested in learning more about effective account management, review the following resources to help you take your nonprofit to the next level and meet your mission goals through Google Ad Grants:
- How to Optimize a Google Grant Account: 7 Top Tips. Once you’ve been awarded access to the program, configure powerful campaigns with the tips we share in this guide!
- Google Grants Agency: How To Hire an Expert & Our 5 Choices. If you’re thinking about outsourcing Google Grants eligibility confirmation and account management to a professional, make sure to check out this guide from Re:Charity first.
- Why Are Google Ad Grants Confusing? And How to Simplify Them. There’s certainly a lot you need to know to leverage Google Ad Grants effectively. If you’re confused by the program, this guide offers some helpful advice.