I’m sure that the headline of this article seems too good to be true, but it’s not. Surprisingly, many nonprofit organizations still are unaware of the Google Grant and its potential for them.
What is the Google Grant?
The Google Grant provides up to $10,000/month in free advertising on the Google AdWords platform. To qualify, your organization must be a non-profit [501(c)(3)], as well as meet other eligibility requirements. The account can be used for a variety of purposes, including outreach, fundraising and volunteer recruitment. There is no set end date to the grant. As long as you continue to use it, the account will remain active. The Grant is fairly simple to apply for, and I’ve not yet seen a qualified applicant be turned down.
How can I determine my eligibility?
As previously mentioned, your organization must first hold 501(c)(3) status, as determined by the IRS. However, certain types of organizations are not eligible, such as:
Only one membership is allowed per organization. So, for instance, if you are a branch or local office of a larger organization, you may not be eligible.
What do I have to do to apply?
To apply, your organization must be a member of the Google for Nonprofits program, which provides access to multiple opportunities for nonprofits in addition to the grant. To apply, go to https://google-for-nonprofits.appspot.com/application and fill out the application.
After you fill out the application, be patient. Google may take up to five months to approve your application, although I’ve generally seen approvals in one to two months.
How can I qualify for more?
After you qualify for the Google Grant, there’s even more good news -- you can qualify for even more free advertising! Grantees can also be approved for a larger grant amount through the Grantspro program.
To qualify, you first must attain the Google Grant and reach $9,500 in total ad spend in that account for two months during a 12-month period. That may not seem difficult, but certain restrictions applied to the Google Grant do make that goal challenging.
First, the maximum cost per click in a Google Grants AdWords account is limited to $1. As anyone with AdWords experience will tell you, that’s not always a very high bid. Sometimes that bid limit holds your ad back, pushing it to the second page of search results, where there is much less visibility and often leads to lower click-through rate. Without a substantial amount of clicks, it will be difficult to meet the $9,500 goal threshold.
Additionally, unlike daily budgets in regular Google AdWords accounts, accounts in the Google Grant have a set limit of $333.33 as a daily budget. To reach the $9,500 goal in a given month, your account must spend nearly all of the daily budget every day with little leftover. However, there’s often a decrease in click on the weekends, sometimes making it challenging to approach the $333.33 daily budget limit and thus sometimes making it difficult to reach the full $9,500 monthly goal. According to Google, the average monthly grantee is only about $300/month, or a mere 3% of the full potential.
Once you achieve the spending goals with your Google Grant, you must then take a quiz to qualify for a higher grant level (Grantspro), worth $40,000/month -- $480,000 in free advertising with Google per year. Impressive.
So what are you waiting for? If you’re a nonprofit, get started today! You’ve got nothing to lose –- only clicks, traffic, donations and volunteers to gain.