Google Grants Eligibility: Is Your Nonprofit Eligible?
The Google Ad Grants program is designed to empower eligible nonprofits to get the online attention they deserve without straining their marketing budgets. Receiving a monthly grant of $10,000 to spend on Google Ads can allow your nonprofit to boost its web traffic via Google Search. But first, you’ll need to meet the necessary Google Grants eligibility criteria.
While Google Grants are a valuable resource for nonprofits, not all nonprofits are qualified to receive the funds. To facilitate the process of determining your Google Grants eligibility and applying for this program, we’ll walk through everything you need to know about verifying your Google Grants eligibility.
At Getting Attention, we’re devoted to helping nonprofits secure Google Grants and strategize how they’ll make the most of their funds. Since we’re always up-to-date on the latest Google Ad Grants requirements, we have all the necessary experience to help you understand how to maximize this marketing opportunity.
In this guide, we’ll cover the following points to assist your nonprofit in verifying its eligibility for the Google Ad Grants 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. In a rush? Watch this overview video to take you through everything you need to know about Google Grants eligibility:
1. What is the Google Grant?
Google Grants, also called Ad Grants or AdWords Grants, is a Google-sponsored marketing grant program that awards eligible nonprofits with $10,000 in ad credits each month. Grant recipients can use these funds to bid on different cause-related keywords. When allocated effectively, these credits provide a cost-free way for nonprofits to advertise their most important web 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. With this in mind, you might visit Google and search a query such as “end elephant endangerment” or “save the elephants.” To attract potential supporters like you, 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.
Unlike most nonprofit grant programs, the Google Grants program is not constrained by available funds. In other words, all nonprofits that meet Google Ad Grants requirements can receive the $10,000 per month—there is no limit to the number of nonprofits who can participate.
What are the benefits of qualifying for Google Ad Grants?
Free advertising on the world’s largest and most popular search engine can revolutionize how your nonprofit reaches supporters online. When you confirm your Google Ad Grants eligibility, you’ll benefit from:
- Enhanced online visibility and reach
- More interactions with your nonprofit’s website, particularly with your most important content
- Complimentary analytics to measure campaign performance
- The ability to market multiple digital campaigns at once
- The potential to increase conversions, including online donations, event registrations, volunteer sign-ups, and advocacy participation
These five benefits add up to driving more awareness for your nonprofit, and in turn, achieving your conversion goals. 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?
Most companies that offer corporate philanthropy programs aim to support organizations whose missions align with theirs. After all, their name is attached to however the nonprofit chooses to spend their funds. That’s why, just as with any other grant, there are several Google Grants eligibility rules you must meet before qualifying for ad credits.
While you might not have to compete for the funds, Google still wants to ensure that you’re promoting a legitimate cause and exercising proper security precautions online. Having Google Grants requirements in place prevents the following scenarios from occurring:
- Dishonest groups might gain access to ad funding and trick unsuspecting users into revealing sensitive information, such as credit card details or home addresses.
- An organization, even while pursuing an honest cause, may not have sufficient site security measures in place, so information provided by donors or volunteers can be intercepted by hackers.
- An organization might send users to a website without any valuable content, resulting in a poor user experience for those looking up certain terms on Google.
Google Ad Grants requirements proactively address these potential situations before they can occur, ensuring that the program delivers value to users, nonprofit grant recipients, charitable supporters, and Google itself.
3. Which nonprofits are eligible for Google Grants?
Fortunately, Google is very straightforward in its eligibility standards. While exact Google Grants requirements vary from country to country, they generally follow the same structure. To qualify for the program, your nonprofit must:
- Currently hold 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 go over both of these processes later on.
- Agree to the application’s required certifications regarding nondiscrimination and donation receipt and use.
- Have a functioning website with substantial, valuable content. Read on to learn more about the program’s website quality requirements.
To help you better understand these requirements, let’s discuss some of the main criteria Google will look at when determining a nonprofit’s Google Grants eligibility:
Type of Nonprofit Organization
In the U.S., only 501(c)(3) nonprofits can receive ad funding through the Google Grants program. 501(c)(3) means that the Internal Revenue Service recognizes the nonprofit as an official charitable organization and thus exempts it from any federal tax obligations.
The Google Grants program factors in a nonprofit’s specific industry as well. Note that these three sectors are ineligible to participate:
- Government: Government-affiliated organizations and entities
- Healthcare: Hospitals and other healthcare organizations
- Education: Schools, academic institutions, and universities
However, these eligibility requirements are specific to Google Ad Grants. Google offers other programs, such as Google for Education, that ineligible organizations can take part in.
According to the official website policy for Google Ad Grants, Google also evaluates a nonprofit’s website to determine its eligibility for the program. Since ads purchased via Google Grants will direct search engine users to a nonprofit’s website, Google wants to be sure that the content is both valuable and fulfills users’ search intent.
When assessing a website, Google looks for:
- Website ownership. Your nonprofit must own the domain that users would be directed to when clicking on your Google ad.
- Clear and detailed descriptions of your organization, its mission, and its activities. Your website should have updated, high-quality content providing essential information to users about your nonprofit.
- Unique content. Your site should feature content that is exclusive to your nonprofit and not found elsewhere on the internet.
- No broken links. Broken links no longer lead to their intended destinations. Instead, they send users to a 404 error page. Be sure to frequently check your links and update them as necessary, such as implementing a redirect to a relevant piece of content.
- A quick load time. There are many ways to optimize your website’s load time. For instance, keep your site running quickly by using smaller, compressed images as opposed to larger ones.
- HTTPS security. An HTTPS-secured website is encrypted, offering users greater protection and privacy during their browsing.
- Noncommercial activity. Commercial activity, such as product sales or consultation offers, should not be the sole purpose of your website. If any commercial content appears on your website, you must clearly describe how it supports your mission. In certain cases, you must include an annual report detailing how your organization used commercially-obtained funds.
- Limited advertisements: All ads on your website must be relevant to your mission and unobtrusive to site visitors.
In short, your website simply needs to be a high-quality destination for search engine users. While all of these Google Grants requirements for your website might seem rigorous, a well-maintained website will already meet many of these qualifications without requiring substantial changes.
Compliance With Program Policies
To become and remain eligible for Google Ad Grants, your nonprofit must comply with various program policies set forth 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 enforce:
- 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, such as full names, email addresses, mailing addresses, phone numbers, sexual orientation, and race or ethnicity.
If you’re still unsure if your nonprofit qualifies for the Google Grants program, reach out to a professional who can verify your eligibility and keep your account up to compliance standards. As we’ll explore later, Google Ad Grants experts (like our team at Getting Attention) are dedicated to learning and staying informed on Google Grants eligibility and compliance rules, allowing you to devote your time to other priorities.
Takeaway: Google has quite a few eligibility requirements your organization must meet to qualify for the Google Grants program. However, 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?
Once you’ve determined your organization’s Google Grants eligibility, it’s time to start the verification process. This is where you’ll 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 the process as soon as you’re ready. Here are three easy steps you’ll need to follow:
- Register with TechSoup. If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to authenticate your nonprofit through TechSoup. TechSoup works with companies like Google to provide nonprofits with free and discounted software, hardware, and services to streamline their work. Verification typically takes 2-14 business days, so be sure to factor this into your timeline. Once you’re officially registered, they’ll give you a validation token to provide to Google.
- Sign up for a Google for Nonprofits account. Before you apply, your nonprofit needs to create a Google for Nonprofits account, which involves providing your tax identification number, nondiscrimination policies, and general contact and organization information. This account offers many tools your nonprofit can take advantage of, like Google Workspace and the YouTube Nonprofit Program. However, account approval could take several days, so 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.
Since both TechSoup and Google will have to manually review your applications and confirm your accounts, it’s best to start sooner rather than later. Once you’ve been approved, you can create your Google Ads account and configure your campaigns to best suit your goals.
If this process seems a bit intensive, consider turning to professional assistance. Getting Attention specializes in helping nonprofits apply for Google Ad Grants, so reach out for a free consultation! We’ll confirm your eligibility and take you through each of the steps above.
5. Can my nonprofit lose its Google Grant eligibility status?
Yes, it is definitely possible to lose your Google Grants eligibility. If your nonprofit doesn’t remain compliant with the program’s policies, Google will suspend your account. This, of course, can be easily avoided by following these 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.
- Make your ads relevant to your specific audience. Create ads that target your desired audience by both topic and region. Your ads should accurately reflect your nonprofit’s mission as well as reach relevant users online.
- Evaluate keywords monthly. Check your keywords often to see what’s working and what isn’t, then restrategize as necessary. Additionally, it’s critical to avoid using single keywords, overly generic keywords, or keywords with a quality score of 1 or 2.
- Maintain a 5% click-through rate (CTR). Be sure to maintain a 5% click-through rate each month. Failing to meet this standard for two consecutive months can result in account deactivation.
When Google first established its program, there weren’t any formal requirements in place. This often led to nonprofits advertising unhelpful content on their website and targeting keywords that didn’t align with user intent, thus connecting them with unqualified prospects. Because of this, Google launched its official compliance rules in 2018 to encourage nonprofits to develop thoughtful ad strategies that drive meaningful conversions.
Luckily, Google provides a number of resources to help you meet Google Grants eligibility criteria. For example, to improve CTR, you can pause keywords that are generic or high impression, low CTR.
If you’ve lost your Google Grants eligibility, there’s no need to stress. Google has a clear process for requesting account reactivation and they’ll often indicate where you fell short of the account requirements. A Google Grants consultant can direct you through the reactivation process.
6. Are there experts that can verify my Google Grants eligibility?
Oftentimes, nonprofits will look to traditional marketing agencies for their Google Grants needs. However, the Google Grants program differs quite a bit from standard Google Ads. Therefore, it’s best to look for agencies that specialize in Google Grants.
Getting Attention is qualified to help you every step of the way. Here are just a few of the many services we can provide your nonprofit throughout your Google Grants journey:
- Google Grant Application: Our experts can efficiently and effectively complete the application for you with a high success rate for acceptance. We’ll check your Google Grants eligibility and walk through all of the essential steps so 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 determine 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: Our research team can do the heavy lifting to make sure you’re using the most relevant and impactful keywords for your nonprofit.
- Grant Management:We’ll help you strategically allocate your funds and ensure you remain compliant with all program rules. We’ll also note valuable opportunities for improving your strategy based on our findings.
Our goal is to meet and beat your expectations with Google Ad Grants. If you’re interested in learning more, we’re happy to chat with you about your goals. Request a free consultation today and we’ll get to work on shaping up your Google Ad Grants strategy.
From improving your website to working with a specialized agency, we’ve covered the ins and outs of meeting 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 optimize 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 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 gained access to the program, configure powerful campaigns using the tips in this guide!
- Google Grants Agency: How To Hire an Expert & Our 5 Choices. If you’re thinking about outsourcing the work for confirming your Google Grants eligibility and managing your account to a professional, be 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 looking to understand more about the program, this guide offers some helpful advice.