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Search Marketing for Non-Profits with Google Ad Grants

March 7 | Posted by: | Search Marketing

search marketing for non-profits

Running a successful search marketing campaign for a non-profit organization is full of challenges. Limited time, limited staff, and often limited technical experience are common roadblocks. But perhaps the most challenging: making an impact with limited financial resources. How can your non-profit compete when paid search campaigns can drain your modest marketing budget? Luckily, Google offers a wonderful solution to this dilemma with Google Ad Grants.

Google Ad Grants: the solution to your search marketing for non-profits woes.

Google Ad Grants provides up to $10,000 a month of free advertising dollars in their paid search program, AdWords, for approved non-profits. That’s $10,000 to reach new donors, volunteers and visitors each month, without touching your already tight budget. Sound like a great solution? It is — but there are a few things you need to know before you jump in.

First, you have to apply for the Google for Nonprofits program. To be approved, your organization must be located in one of the 50 participating countries, recognized as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization by the IRS, and registered with TechSoup, an international network that provides technical support for non-profits. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t accept applications from government entities, hospitals or healthcare organizations. And if your non-profit is a school, childcare center or other academic institution, there is a separate Google for Education program you must apply to instead.

Once approved for the Google for Nonprofits program, you can begin creating your new Google Ad Grants AdWords account. There’s a specific process to set up your account for Google Ad Grants, which Google outlines here. Once done, you submit your account for review — which can take up to 5 days for approval.

As soon as your new Google Ad Grants account is approved, you can start creating your campaigns. Here’s a few helpful tips to keep in mind as you start to reach out to your new, fuller audience:

  • While Google provides you with $10,000 a month, they only allow you to spend a maximum of $329 a day — even if your daily budget is set higher than that. So if you begin your Google Ad Grants account on the 15th of the month, you’ll only be able to spend $5,000 of that allotted $10,000.
  • All ad group and keyword bids are capped at $2.00. While this won’t cause many issues in most cases, if you want highly competitive terms that typically cost more, it’s time to rethink your keyword strategy. For those with broader marketing budgets, it’s smart to segment more expensive terms into a separate, non-Google Ad Grants AdWords account. That way, you can bid above the $2.00 cost per click and place more effectively against your competition.
  • In order to keep your Google Ad Grants account active, it needs to to be edited every 90 days. This shouldn’t be a problem since you’ll likely be doing regular maintenance. But if the account is paused extended period of time, such as an off-season, you’ve got to go into your account regularly, make a change or two, and keep the program eligible.

Ultimately, the Google Ad Grants program is an easy, effective and — best of all —  free way to reach a large, targeted audience. Search marketing for non-profits can be a challenge, but with the right tools and know-how you can succeed without breaking your marketing bank.