How to sign up for Google Grants for Nonprofits

Imagine what your nonprofit organization could do with $120,000 a year in free advertising.

Nonprofits are some of our favorite clients and we love to evangelize about the benefits of free money in the form of Google Grants. Google helps nonprofits get the message out with the Google Grants program. If your organization is a 501 (c)(3), non-governmental nonprofit, then you may be eligible to receive up to $10,000 per month of FREE advertising through the Google Adwords Search network.

We helped one of our favorite clients,, apply for and receive a Google Grant. We manage the grant by maintaining CUE’s adwords account. We’ve seen an increase in CUE’s paid search traffic by 1,000% since the grant has been in place.

So, how do you apply for the Google Grants program? It’s much easier than you think: just follow the 5 steps below and you’ll be well on your way to growing your nonprofit organization with free advertising on Google.

1. See if You’re Eligible.

Google Grants are only available to 501 (c)(3) non-profit orgs in the US, and any organization with charity status in 50 different specified countries. In order to be eligible with Google, you have to first register with Google for Nonprofits (see step 2) and be a valid charity that meets Google’s eligibility requirements. You must also be operating a live and functional website, which a basic prerequisite for running an ad campaign in any case.

Please note that the following types of organizations are not eligible for Google for Nonprofits: governmental entities and organizations, hospitals and healthcare organizations, schools, childcare centers, academic institutions, and universities. However, philanthropic arms of educational organizations are eligible. To learn more about Google’s programs for educational institutions, visit Google in Education.

2. Apply for Google Nonprofits

Make sure your organization is eligible.

If you are a US-based nonprofit with 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt status, that should qualify you to apply for Google for Nonprofits. Review the full eligibility guidelines. If you’re not based in the US, you have to register with the local TechSoup partner in your country. To apply with Techsoup use this co-sponsored portal.

3. Enroll in Google Ad Grants

Once your organization has been accepted into the Google for Nonprofits program, then you need to choose between Adwords or Adwords Express.


This is the top-of-the-line option, allowing you access to all of the tools available in the Adwords suite. But with great power comes great responsibility, and with that, a time commitment is required. If you choose this option, it will require you or an Adwords professional to manage and optimize your campaigns on a fairly regular basis. When done correctly, this option can provide vastly greater results than Adwords Express.

Adwords Express

If you are pressed for time create, implement, and manage a conversion strategy, nor the money to hire an Adwords Specialist or in-house marketer, then Adwords Express is the better option. In three simple steps you can select your target audience, write your ad, set your daily budget, and boom –  you’re advertising on Google. The interface is cleaner and more intuitive, which makes it easier for novices, but offers limited functionality for optimization.

4. Create Your Account

Once you’ve decided whether Adwords and Adwords Express is the right option, you’re ready to create the account. Before you start, keep in mind that you should ignore all requests for billing information. Any issues should resolve themselves, and set USD ($) as your currency no matter where you are or your target marketing audience’s locations. Google grants are always a standard $10,000 per month, so your budget will be $329/day ($10k over 30.4 days), and your cost per click (CPC) will be $2.00.

Now, using the Google account you used for your Google for Nonprofits, go to this signup link. If you’ve chosen Adwords Express, you can get started right away following the steps to describe your services and make your ad. Take some time to review all of the options and ensure that your ad(s) best represents your mission and will reach your target audience.

If you’ve chosen Adwords, it’s time to get your hands dirty and make your first ad. Google Grants only works for Search Network Only ads, which means all of your ads will be text ads showing up in Google Searches for related keywords. Keyword targeting is an essential piece to any Adwords campaign and, as with much of the adwords suite, is a necessary component to optimize your ad spend.

No matter which one you choose, always aim to create ads that will speak effectively to your target audience. You can create as many ads and campaigns as you want, so the results will be better if you create various ads that target different slices of your audiences. In other words, specific ads will perform stronger than generic and general ads.  Make sure your corresponding landing page(s) matches your ad(s). This will increase your Ad Quality score, which in turn will boost your ad ranking.

5. Submit Your Account for Review

Congrats, you’ve made your first ad! Once you’ve created and submitted your account for review, you should receive an email (to the account you created the grants account with) within 5 business days. Now is the perfect time to explore the many various tools that Adwords and Adwords Express has to offer, because when that email comes you can start creating ads like crazy.

If you maximize your ad spend to $9,900 in 2 months out of 6, and follow best practices, your organization may be eligible for Google GrantsPro which bumps your monthly budget up to a whopping $40,000. 

If you’re interested in getting Google Grants started, Executionists can help. Call (424) 245-5472 or fill out our inquiry form for more info.

by admin
Posted: October 11, 2016