You’re Leaving Money on the Table. How to Apply for, Set-up and Keep Your $10,000 Google Ad Grant


Are you a nonprofit organization? Do you have a website? Well, then it’s time to apply for some free money from Google Ad Grants. Free money doesn’t exist, you say? Au contraire, my friends. Google Ad Grants awards up to $10,000 per month in in-kind AdWords advertising. I’m not sure you were paying attention – that’s $10,000 per month. You can’t leave that money on the table.

Google Ad Grants has proven successful for many nonprofit organizations, driving clicks to websites, volunteer sign-ups, and resource downloads, to name a few. Science Buddies, an early adopter of Google Ad Grants, has seen exponential growth from the program.

Google Ad Grants Results for Science Buddies:

Image of statistics from site analysisImage from Google Success Stories

So, now that I have your attention, the first step is ensuring you’re eligible.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Become a member of Google for Nonprofits (There are lots of benefits, just do it!)
  • Be a registered 501(c)(3)
  • Have a current TechSoup registration
  • Have a website with substantial content

This grant program is not for organizations already backed by a large amount of government funding. Moreover, the following types of organizations are not eligible for Google Ad Grants: governmental entities and organizations, hospitals and medical groups, schools, childcare facilities, academic institutions and universities.

If you meet the above criteria, then we strongly recommend you start this process today. What do you have to lose?

4 More Steps to Your $10,000 Google Ad Grant

  1. Apply for Google for Nonprofits
  2. Enroll in Google Ad Grants (using your new Google for Nonprofits account)
  3. Create your Google AdWords or AdWords Express account
  4. Submit your account for review

Once your Google for Nonprofits account is approved (this should only take a few days), the next step is enrolling in Google Ad Grants. You can choose to enroll in the full AdWords account or AdWords Express, which is a simplified version of AdWords.

After enrolling through your Google for Nonprofits account, it’s time to set-up your AdWords account. I’m partial to the full version, so I’d recommend setting up AdWords using Google’s step-by-step guide here. Depending on your skill set and experience, this can take anywhere from 2-4 hours, so plan accordingly. Follow Google’s steps exactly and check your entire set-up before submitting it for review.

Here are the key factors to keep in mind while setting up AdWords:

  • The currency must be set to US Dollar.
  • You need at least one campaign, one keyword and one active ad in your account.
  • You can only link to one website. (It should be your website, if that wasn’t obvious, so no Facebook pages or third-party blog sites.)
  • You can only run text ads (no videos or display campaigns).
  • Ads can only appear on Google search results pages, or the “Search Network” in AdWords.
  • All campaigns must be keyword-targeted.
  • The maximum cost-per-click is $2.
  • The total daily budget for all of your campaigns cannot exceed $329.

Before you’re approved for the $10,000 grant, Google will automatically send you notifications to add your billing information to your account. DO NOT ADD YOUR BILLING INFORMATION. With all that funding on the line, I know it’s tempting to do what you’re told, but this will interfere with your application and create a paid account.

Google is efficient, so you should receive the results of your application via email in about a week. While you wait, continue reading this article below to learn how to keep that new funding that could be rolling in soon.

Hooray! You’ve been accepted. Now what?

I wish I could tell you that the hard part is over, but you do have to put that grant money to good use through a variety of ad campaigns. There are a few things you will have to do (or avoid) in order to remain in good standing with Google.

Criteria for Staying Qualified:

  • You must login to your account at least once a month and make at least one change every 90 days.
  • You can only link to ONE website, and it should be the one you signed up with. (That’s the only site Google approved for use in the program.)
  • All of your ads and keywords must match your programs.
  • 100% of the proceeds for any paid products or services that you promote must go directly to your program. (Promoting donations of property is not allowed.)
  • Your website cannot use Google Ad Sense or any other advertising links.
  • You also need to stick to the approved ad budget and parameters that you met during your account setup (listed above).

You’ll get a great sense of satisfaction from successfully earning your organization funding for your Google AdWords campaigns. Take a moment to relish in it, but then get cracking on building up your account. The day-to-day management of your ads does take skill and patience, but with practice, you’ll be well on your way. In the meantime, do let me know if you have any questions or would like assistance applying for or managing your grant. I’m always happy to help.

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