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Google AdWords Grants for Nonprofits

November 17, 2015
Paid Search

We get it… as a nonprofit, you probably don’t have time to read this entire post, so I’ll cut to the chase: Google AdWords is a highly effective marketing tool that can help your organization reach its goals online. Google offers $10,000 per month in free AdWords advertising to eligible 501(c)(3) organizations. This is a huge deal.

Google AdWords Overview

If this is your first time on our blog, you might not be familiar with Google AdWords. To summarize, AdWords is an advertising service offered by Google in which individuals, businesses, and nonprofit organizations can display ads on Google and its network by participating in keyword-bidding auctions. An auction takes place every time someone searches for something on Google. AdWords follows a Cost-Per-Click model, whereby advertisers are only charged when a user clicks on their ad, not just when their ad is shown. 

Typically, individuals or businesses will deposit funds into their AdWords account and bid on keywords within their campaigns. If a keyword in your account closely matches to a search query, your ad has the potential to show. Where your ad appears on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), if at all, depends on a few factors. The first of which is the Maximum Cost-Per-Click (CPC) that you are willing to bid on a given keyword. While the actual amount that Google will charge you for that click will vary, account managers will want to manually set this number as the maximum they are able to pay for a single click that will enable them to stay profitable. Nonprofits with Google Grants will follow a slightly different rule, as we’ll discuss later.

The second factor in determining your Ad Rank is called Quality Score. AdWords Quality Score is a complicated metric that goes beyond the scope of this post, but you can find more info by checking out The Ultimate Guide To AdWords Quality Score Training Video.

So What Are Google Grants? 



$120,000 A Year in Free Advertising for Nonprofits… on the World’s Most Popular Search Platform

Since 2003, Google has offered grants in the form of $10,000 per month in FREE AdWords spend to eligible nonprofit organizations.

I want to make it clear that people are generally not searching Google to find places to give money to. So while Google Grants are certainly an opportunity for you to drive donations to your nonprofit, there are limitless marketing opportunities that could add value to your organization through this platform. As Kivi Leroux Miller, author of The Nonprofit Marketing Guide puts it:

“Marketing is not fundraising, but it is essential to it. Good nonprofit marketing has many possible outcomes, and raising dollars is one of them. But nonprofits also use marketing to find and galvanize volunteers; to persuade decision markers; to change public policy; to raise awareness; to encourage behavior changes; to converse with clients, supports, and partners; to foment social change – and more.”

From an overall marketing perspective, we would recommend that your website has Call To Actions (CTAs) that go beyond a single donation button. These might include an email subscription, an event signup, or a PDF download that outlines statistics about your cause.

These Donor Cultivation techniques are all marketing goals that can be achieved through a thoughtful Google AdWords campaign.


Google Grant Accounts differ from a traditional, paid AdWords account in a number of ways, including a restriction to the Search Network and Max CPC limit of $2. Traditional, paid AdWords accounts can leverage both Google’s Search and massive Display Network. The Display Network consists of more than 2 million websites within which individuals and businesses can display their ads. Nonprofits, however, are not able to do this if they are participating in the Google Grants Program. Additionally, a Max CPC limit of $2 levels the playing field for all nonprofits participating in the program while giving Ad Rank preference to traditional, paying advertisers. 

These are two 

Who Is Eligible For Google Grants?

Organizations must:

  • Be a registered 501(c)(3), or hold current and valid charity status as determined by your country
  • Acknowledge and agree to the application’s required certifications regarding nondiscrimination and donation receipt and use
  • Have a functioning website with substantial content

Certain organizations are not eligible for Google Ad Grants:

  • Governmental entities and organizations
  • Hospitals and medical groups
  • Schools, childcare centers, academic institutions and universities
  • This is because Google supports educational institutions through their Google for Education Program
  • Philanthropic arms of educational organizations are eligible

How Do I Apply For Google Grants?

Don’t worry, this is not your typical grant application. The following steps can be completed within a matter of minutes and you should be approved within 2-3 business days. Google offers a variety of services to nonprofits that goes well beyond Ad Grants, and therefore you will technically be applying for eligibility to their nonprofit program from which you can access Google Grants.

Step 1

Go to and click “Join The Program.”

Step 2

Review the eligibility requirements and double check that your organization qualifies. Then select “Apply to Google for Nonprofits.

Step 3

Login with your Google email account or create a new one that you will use for your Google for Nonprofits and Google Grants activities.

Step 4

Fill out the application. The following text boxes are required:

  • Employer ID (EIN)
  • Organization Name
  • Mailing Address
  • Phone Number
  • Organization Website
  • Nonprofit Type
  • Mission Statement

Step 5

Sit back and wait for Google to approve your application! This normally takes a few business days. Once a decision is made, you will receive communication from Google via the email address that you applied with.Step 6

Woohoo… You’re approved! Now it’s time to log into Google for Nonprofits and register for Google Ad Grants.

Great… But I Still Don’t Know Anything About AdWords

We gotcha covered. Click the following link and download The Ultimate Guide To Google AdWords Grants For Nonprofits.

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