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Google Grants for Charities: An In Depth Guide

Around the world, there are billions of individuals with the means to support charities. Although these numbers provide sky-high possibilities for support, the difficulty is in reaching a large group of this population. For non-profits, reaching a large portion of the population can be very difficult through the traditional advertising platforms.

Google grants tablet screenAs non-profits complete with for profit companies for visibility and search engine rankings, it can be very difficult for non-profits to get the exposure that they deserve. For many charities, marketing and advertising can be prohibitively expensive.

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Thankfully, for non-profits, there are alternative solutions to traditional paid marketing. As a non-profit charity, one great resource for advertising are Google grants for charities. With over 20,000 non-profits involved in the programme, the Google Ad Grants Program  is one of the largest and most inclusive grant programmes for non-profits. The Google Ad Grants Program provides free Google ads for charities.

What is the Google Ad Grants Program?

The Google AdWords Grant for charities offers a suite of free services to non-profits. With the programme, Google provides up to $10,000 (approximately £8100) of 100% free advertising on Google AdWords monthly.

The $10,000 of free advertising on Google AdWords is used for keyword searches on Google. This is known as pay per click advertising, abbreviated as PPC. Most charities then work with a PPC agency, who then run the non-profit’s Google PPC marketing strategy.

PPC marketing is one of the most flexible forms of advertising. Although it can be expensive, charities can be used to target specific keyword searches. PPC marketing, if targeted correctly, can be incredibly effective in reaching potential volunteers, potential donors, and plain information seekers.

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Does my Organisation Qualify for the Google Ad Grants Program?

Google grants charity team 1In order to qualify for the Google Ad Grants Program, your organisation must first hold valid charity status. While certain groups of non-profits such as government organisations, academic institutions, and hospitals do not qualify for the programme, most other types of charities are accepted into the programme. In order to qualify, your charity must be based in one of the following countries:

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Belgium, Botswana, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Macau, Malaysia, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Polish, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam, United Kingdom, United States.

The main requirement to qualify for the Google Ad Grants Program is a high-quality website. Your site must include the following in order to qualify:

  • Clear and Coherent Mission Description:  The site must provide a description of the charity’s mission and outline the charity’s activities, summarise any recent events, and provide a high-quality experience for the user.
  • Original Content:  The content on your organisations site must be unique. This also means that the content on the website cannot be sourced from a different website or platform.
  • Functional:  The website must be functional and should not contain any dead links. The domain should also use HTTPS.

In addition to these requirements, Google also places certain restrictions on commercial activity. Your site must include the following in order to qualify:

  • Purpose of the website:  The website should not exist to drive sales. The website also shouldn’t resemble a for-profit blog. Instead, the website should strive to be informative, and any products or services should accompany the informative content.
  • Transparency:  Any organisation that sells any products or services must disclose the amount of funds generated and where the funds were used.
  • Serve the Public:  The goal of the organisation must be to serve the greater public.
  • Ads:  Use of Google AdSense ads is prohibited. Any ads on the website should not inhibit the user experience.

Using Google AdWords

The first step when using Google AdWords is to register as a charity on Google’s non-profit platform. After your organisation is verified on Google’s platform, your organisation will quality for Google funding for charities. Google Ad grants for charities total up to $10,000 per month.

The Google AdWords experience for charities is very similar to the traditional Google AdWords experience. There is only one significant difference: the maximum price per click that you can bid is $2 (£1.65).

When advertising using Google AdWords, it is important to keep in mind that any advertisement cannot be used to promote any commercial activity. While Google wants to support charities, it does not want the free advertisement to be used to generate additional revenue through the sales of products and services.

Although advertising commercial activity is not allowed, there is an extremely broad range of uses that charities can take advantage of.

  • Volunteers:  Charities can advertise any programmes that they offer, encouraging any interested viewers to participate in any events as a volunteer. This can be an extremely effective way for charities to get the valuable manpower required to run its activities.
  • Raise Awareness:  Charities can use Google AdWords to raise awareness for their cause. By utilising Google AdWords, charities can ensure that they appear on the ad sections of certain keyword searches. Through this, charities can raise their awareness and hopefully bring in more donations or volunteers.
  • Donations:  Charities can ask for donations using the advertising from Google’s charity grant programme, as donations do not quality as commercial activity. By targeting searches with certain keywords, this can be an incredibly effective strategy to bring in potential donors who have searched for certain keywords.

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How to Create an Effective Marketing Campaign Using Google AdWords for Charities

An effective online marketing campaign, first and foremost, should be able to effectively targets users on both desktop and mobile platforms. By targeting both mobile and desktop users, a charity can reach a wider audience and increase the efficiency of their campaign.

When creating a PPC marketing campaign it is also extremely important to pick the keywords very carefully. Good selection of the keywords will lead to a more effective and cost-efficient campaign. Most importantly, good selection of keywords will allow you to advertise more effectively than your competition.

Hiring a PPC marketing agency is one option. A good PPC marketing agency will run the marketing side of your organisation in its entirety, allowing you to be hands off with the process. Hiring an agency brings professional experience to the table, and may lead to more effective results than what could be achieved internally. While working with an agency will likely lead to good results, it can extremely expensive for a charity to hire an agency to run the marketing side full-time. If there is nobody within the organisation that has experience with PPC, hiring an agency becomes a more reasonable option.

The alternative to hiring a PPC agency is running the marketing internally. By handling the PPC campaign internally, your charity can save a large chunk of money. When determining which keywords to use, it is recommended to search online to gauge the keywords used by your competition. Through this, you can gain an understanding of what forms an effective PPC strategy in your industry and formulate your own keywords for your PPC marketing campaign.

Due to the limitations in the max bid for cost per click, it is important to have quality content to accompany the PPC campaign. Your ad should use relevant keywords and should also focus on a concrete call to action (CTA). Make sure that you also have someone check the spelling and grammar of the page!

An effective PPC campaign is hard to build instantly from scratch. Many campaigns are built over several months, and rely on data feeds coming in to make adjustments to the campaign strategy. Try different strategies, and try to find out what ads and keywords work, and which don’t. When you find strategies that work, shift towards these strategies and focus on refining these strategies further to increase your campaign’s effectiveness.

It is highly recommended that you continue to monitor PPC data even after finding and implementing a successful strategy. As searches can change over time, it is important to stay on top of any trends and adjust your strategy as searches and clicks shift.


By implementing these steps, your charity should be well on its way to creating an effective Google AdWords Grant marketing campaign. Marketing is an extremely effective method for charities to increase their resources and impact, and the Google Ad Grants Program is both free and extremely effective. Although creating an effective PPC marketing campaign can be a long and difficult process, a strong marketing campaign can be an invaluable in bringing volunteers, donations, and awareness to a charity.

Once you have established a PPC campaign for your charity, it is still important to follow the guidelines and rules established by Google. By following the eligibility rules for the programme, you can avoid any situations where your non-profit status is revoked by Google and your marketing campaign is terminated.

Best of luck!

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