Mastering Google Ads for Google Grants: A Non-Profit's Guide to Success

June 13, 2024

5 Minute Read
Getting Started With Google Grants as a Non-Profit

For non-profit organizations, Google Grants is a game-changer. If you’re unfamiliar with Google Grants, the program grants eligible organizations up to $10,000 per month in Google Ads credit. google ad grants logoThis allows nonprofits the opportunity to reach a wider audience and amplify their organization’s mission and impact. But simply having access to free Google advertising isn’t enough. To truly succeed with Google Grants, you have to know how to properly manage your campaigns.


Getting Started With Google Grants

Before reading any further, check to make sure your organization meets eligibility requirements, as well as apply for your Google Grant here

You got approved? That’s great! Now let’s talk strategy: What is your goal? 

  • Do you want to drive awareness of your brand and increase site traffic? 
  • Are you fundraising? 
  • Are you looking for new members or recruiting volunteers? 
  • Are you selling something? 

All of these things can be done with Google Grants, and they all start with keywords.


Attracting the Right Audience With Keywords

The cornerstone of successful campaigns is keyword research. Thankfully, Google makes it easy using their Keyword Planner. Keyword Planner can be used to discover relevant keywords, as well as get search volume forecasts.

Tip: Don’t forget to add negative keywords to your campaigns to exclude irrelevant searches!


Crafting Ads that Drive Clicks (and Conversions!)

You want your ads to resonate with your audience. Write clear and impactful headlines and descriptions, and don’t forget to include a strong call to action that drives your desired outcome (donations, volunteer sign-ups, purchases). Going back to ads that resonatenon-profit audience targeting handshake meme with your audience, if your nonprofit is aimed at making the world a better place, use your brand’s voice to share that in your copy. Now is your time to tug at heart strings and let users know how they can help.


Compliance and Impact With Google Grants

In order to continue running ads via the Google Grants program, it is essential to avoid account suspension. Google requires you maintain KPIs to remain compliant, so be sure to track key metrics like click-through rate, as well as make sure your ad copy complies with program guidelines.

In addition, you want to:

  • Continuously monitor campaign performance
  • Refine your keyword strategy
  • Leverage conversion tracking to understand what's working. 

In the past we’ve seen nonprofit advertisers who weren’t getting enough “hard conversions,” so we created “soft conversions” for them. This could be something like a video view, time on site, or even landing page visits. No matter what conversions you’re tracking, you want to optimize your campaigns to maximize conversions and drive efficiency through your keywords and ad copy.


Managing Your Google Grants Campaigns

Be sure to test multiple ad variants as well as landing pages for your campaigns. Build out all of the extensions that you can in your account, and make sure you include images and logos as well. This isn’t just a “set and forget” scenario because you got free Google bucks. Keep an eye on your keywords, and routinely review searchmission control meme for digital advertising management queries to develop new keywords, as well as add negatives to block junk traffic. In utilizing tools like Google Analytics, you’ll gain a better understanding of your audiences, how people spend time on your site, and how your Google Grants campaigns are working with your other marketing initiatives (such as email, social media).


Grant Me The Serenity

As great as Google Grants is, there are some disadvantages:

  1. Bidding - If you’re doing manual bidding Google limits Grants users to a maximum bid of $2. This might seem like a lot, but when your nonprofit is trying to sell coffee or cookies (true story) you’ll be outbid every time, and your ads won’t serve. 
  2. Competition - Like I mentioned with coffee and cookies, competition can be fierce. In addition to stiff competition, Google always places paying advertisers’ results above Google Grants accounts. Thus, you might have the best copy and greatest organization in the history of man, but the advertiser who is one above you may get the majority of clicks.
  3. Budget - Despite having a monthly budget of $10,000 it’s nigh impossible to spend it all. The first Google account I worked on was a Google Grants account and, in the 15 years since I started using Grants, I’ve never seen a client hit their full $10,000 budget.

Please keep these things in mind when running your Google Grants account. In the past, some clients have utilized Google Grants for awareness and branding, while running a “paid” Google Ads account for more conversion-focused and competitive campaigns. Another solution is to supplement your grants account with campaigns in Meta or LinkedIn (based on your industry) as these can be more targeted and less competitive than the Google SERP.


Driving Non-Profit Success With Google Grants

In implementing these strategies, you'll be well on your way to mastering Google Grants for your non-profit. Remember, continuous learning and improvement are essential to the effectiveness and success of your campaigns. With Google’s vast network of resources, you can enhance your skills and add more tools to your marketing tool belt.

Until next time!

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Curtiss Gulash - Director, Paid Media

Curtiss Gulash

When Curtiss is not being a Brewmeister, brewing amazing craft beers at Big Cat Brewing Company, in Cedar, Michigan, he is BFO’s Paid Media Team Lead with a specialty in marketing automotive brands. Curtiss is known for his super-human energy and loves taking a project from start to completion. He understands the world of digital media through and through and manages to juggle multiple curveballs, be a terrific team player, and a super coach to his staff.