Nonprofit Marketing and Google Ad Grants

Google logo on roof

Marketing for nonprofits can be difficult – difficult to find a budget, to find the right people, and to find the time. Luckily, Google offers up to $10,000 per month in free AdWords click spend for nonprofit organizations – that’s potentially $120,000 a year in advertising grants. Additionally, specially qualifying nonprofits can receive up to $40,000 per month. This is a critical service to take advantage of for nonprofit marketing.

A Google AdWords Campaign can be relevant to just about any strategic objective(s) a nonprofit organization might be working towards, such as:

  • Increasing awareness
  • Raising money or building a donor network
  • Growing the volunteer base
  • Boosting attendance at events

Google AdWords logo

What is AdWords?

AdWords is an online advertising service provided by Google that helps organizations reach their target audiences. It’s worth noting that the bulk of Google’s revenue in 2015 ($74.5 billion) was generated through their AdWords program. It works like this:

  • An organization identifies keywords and keyphrases that: 1) properly describe their organization and 2) they expect their audience to search for – these keywords can be specific to target specific customers (volunteers, donors, etc.) or more general to reach more customers to increase awareness.
  • The organization then creates ads relevant to those keywords and their organization.
  • When a user searches Google, or visits a related site in Google’s Display Network (GDN) – the ad will appear. The GDN includes Google Searches, YouTube, Gmail, Google Finance,, and more than 2 million other publishers.
  • When the user clicks the ad, they land on the organization’s selected landing page and the organization’s AdWords account is charged.

 Nonprofit Marketing and Google Ad GrantsThe major element to pay attention to is the keyword. The cost of the keyword defines the cost-per-click of the ad, and the price of the keyword is based on an auction-like system. In other words, the cost of your target keyword is based on how frequently the keyword is searched for, who else is competing for that keyword, and how much they’re willing to pay (the average cost of a keyword is $1-2 but can reach $50+).

Who uses AdWords?

While the most prolific users of AdWords are insurance companies, mortgage and loan groups, almost any organization that is seeking revenue, donations, or increased awareness should strongly consider investing in AdWords. Whether that investment is time to learn how to use it, or utilizing some of your own funds to hire someone who does. The $10,000 monthly pool available from AdWords grant should encourage all nonprofit organizations to trial the program.

Anyone can create an AdWords account, but keep in mind that AdWords campaigns require know-how and continuous maintenance. If you don’t have a dedicated, on-staff person, consider hiring a partner who will typically charge 10% of your overall spend – if your campaign is optimized correctly, the more you spend, the more relevant traffic you get to your site, and the more goals you fulfill. It is important to have your campaign set-up properly to avoid irrelevant site traffic that can increase your bounce rate and decrease your multi-page visits.

Why include Ad Grants in my nonprofit marketing plan?

  • More website traffic leads to more awareness and more transactions.
  • It supports your SEO efforts, or lack thereof.
  • Don’t leave money on the table.
  • Compete for market share of donors, volunteers, etc.

When should I start?

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese proverb

The longer your campaign is in effect and the longer you have a well-performing set of keywords, the healthier and more successful your campaign will be. Get going now. But make sure you put in the effort to understand what a good nonprofit marketing campaign looks like, or consider hiring someone who has already spent years perfecting the process.

How do I get started?

  1. See if you qualify for the program – it’s a quick and painless process: Google Nonprofits
  2. Determine whether or not to do it yourself or work with a partner

Have questions about nonprofit marketing or want to learn more about a partnership? Read up on services we offer to nonprofits