In order to provide some support for philanthropic initiatives, Google provides a grant system that many nonprofits can make use of. This amounts to a monthly allotment of search advertising grant dollars for organizations that qualify. For some nonprofits this is a significant opportunity, for others it is not a game changer but it is a perk that is still worth utilizing. Here are 9 things you need to know.
- You May Not Qualify – The qualification process is robust but not excessive. Among other things, you will have to prove your non-profit status and agree to a number of Google policies. These policies are where the fine print can break the deal as not all ministries will find they can affirm all of the values and employment practices that Google does. More information is available here and here.
- There Is Not A Finite Number Of Grants Available – The number of grants available is not currently limited. If you qualify and complete the application process you should be approved.
- There Are Two Tiers Of Grants – The first tier provides up to $10,000 per month in advertising grant money. The second tier provides up to $40,000 per month for those who demonstrate that they can make good use of their $10,000. While those numbers sound great, most organizations find it is impossible to spend $10,000 per month due to limitations. In fact most struggle to spend 10% of what is allotted, more on that next.
- These Funds Cannot Be Used For All Google Advertising – Google Ad Grant funding can only be used to buy search ads. They cannot be used for display ads, image ads, video ads, etc. They are good for text only search ads on Google. No search partner sites can be engaged with these funds. This also means that the only users that can be reached are ones who are searching for your organization and related services. This quickly restricts how big your potential audience can be.
- There Are Limitations For Utilization – Google will not allow you to bid more than $2.00 for a click. This ensures that you will not be able to compete against other organizations who are paying for search advertising out of pocket. It also gives all grant holders equal footing when competing for the same audiences. Due to grant saturation, almost every possible keyword you could imagine is already being targeted by many organizations. This makes it difficult to be able to reach your target audience and spend your available budget.
- Quality Score Matters Here More Than Ever – Your ad text will need to resonate very well with the text on your landing page and with the text in the keywords you are targeting to get a good quality score. This means that no blanket or broad approaches will work. If your quality score is low then your ad will not show if others are trying to buy the same ad space. Paying users can augment poor quality score by bidding more for clicks so their ads get seen, but grant users do not have this luxury.
- You Can Only Use One Domain – If the website of your organization is bestnonprofitorganization.org then you can only send web traffic to pages on that site. You cannot use vanity URLs, microsites, or any other domain for landing pages unless you are able to qualify for an exemption. This limits the options you have for grant usage.
- Search Ads Do Not Work Well For Raising Funds – Not many people are searching for new ways to give money, while a great many organizations are buying search ads trying to snag them. Your strategy for using an AdWords grant needs to be unique. Think about ways to get awareness out there, ways to connect with people around non-gift actions, ways to start a conversation with someone who might be interested in your mission. This will enable you to use Google Grants effectively
- The Benefits Outweigh The Limitations – Yes a Google Grant will not be a marketing panacea for most organizations and utilizing it requires some creativity and expertise. But it is very much worth going through that process to make use of this resource if you qualify. Even if you only manage to utilize 10% of the funds available, those are free resources inside of a free sandbox that you can leverage for your cause.
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