Google Ads for Charities

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  • Google Ads for Charities

    22 Nov 2021

    If you are a charity and are looking into Google Ads, take a look at Google Ad Grants. What is it? Read on to find out more.


    What are Google Ad Grants?


    Google Ad Grant accounts let you advertise on Google search for free (up to a generous ~£6,500 monthly limit) if you are a charity or non-profit organisation.

    Whilst that is great news for most charities and Non-Profit Organisations, many find that the Ads they are running are not performing as well as they would like, or find themselves unable to use certain features of Google Ads that would like to. 

    Being aware of the process of getting a Google Ad Grants account and the limitations, as well as the benefits, of the account, will help you to make the most out of the budget provided by Google. 


    How Do You Get a Google Ad Grant Account?


    It is a bit of a long-winded process to get approved but it doesn't require much more than filling in some forms.

    So you would be crazy not to do it.

    But before you jump in, take a read of this article to make sure:

    • - you know the requirements
    • - you understand how to set up your campaigns



    Google Ad Grants - Key Facts


    - You must be a registered charity or not-for-profit organisation

    - Grants for up to $10,000 (approx £6,500) per month of free advertising, if your qualify

    - You can only run Search Campaigns - these are the text ads you see on the top and bottom of the Search Results pages in Google

    - Your ads will appear below people who are paying for their ads

    - There are some key criteria you must adhere to when setting up and running your campaigns

    - You must be able to demonstrate that these ad campaigns will help your organisation reach its mission


    What You Can't Do With A Google Ad Grants Account


    - You can only advertise in the relevant locations. For example, if you offer humanitarian relief in Zaire but your donors are in the UK you should only show your ads in the UK

    - Bidding is limited.  You can only bid around $2 (approx £1.30) per keyword, so you may struggle to get on the top of the search results pages for popular search terms (Smart bidding strategies can help with this)

    - Specific target search terms. You cannot target search phrases that are too generic or single words (eg Charity)

    - Ads must get clicks. Your ad campaigns should maintain a click-through rate of 5% so you have to write great ads

    - You have to set up conversions - there are various guides on how to do this - but we recommend setting up Goals in Google Analytics and importing these into your Google Ads Grant account

    - Ads must deliver conversions. You must have at least one conversion per month for your campaigns. This signals to Google that your ads are useful to people

    - Your website must be secure. This means your URL must start with HTTPS, i.e. you have to have an SSL certificate set up for your website.  Talk to your website developers about this if you are not sure what this means

    - Only for your verified domain. Your ads can only take people to the approved domain for your account (eg your ads cannot take people to other websites)


    These are all pretty fair restrictions. But you should take note of them and make sure you comply, otherwise, your campaigns/account could be suspended.

    Are Google Ad Grants Worth It?


    It may take a bit of time to receive the grant and set up your campaigns. However, your campaigns are set up well they are an amazing way to:

    - Build awareness of your Charity

    - Increase donations

    - Promote fund-raising events/ticket sign-ups

    - Increase volunteer sign-ups

    - Increase social media sign-ups

    - Increase sign-ups for your newsletter 

    - Increase website visitors

    - Increase engagement on the key pages of your website 


    Why Using Google Ad Grants Can Fail


    Whilst your campaigns will be free, it does take a bit of experience to make these work well for charities, particularly small/medium-sized charities.

    Common problems we see are:

    • - Poorly set-up campaigns
    • - Google criteria not met
    • - Targeting the wrong keywords
    • - Intent of the user not met


    Any one of the above would mean that the campaigns and account would not perform well.


    What to do next?


    1. Read up about Google Ads Grants

    2. Make sure you understand the qualifying criteria

    3. Make sure you understand the restrictions and rules

    4. Set up campaigns that meet your organisational mission

    5. Make sure to use the keyword research tool within Google Ads

    6. Make sure you set up good Conversions and import these into your Google Ads account

    7. Use Smart bidding or Smart Campaigns



    In summary, if you are a charity or a non-Profit organisation then it is definitely worth taking the time to set up a Google Ad Grant account.

    What is even more worthwhile, is getting to grips with how best to utilise these accounts, to make sure that your target audiences are seeing your ads and visiting your website.

    If you are not confident, or want someone to help set them up, talk to an expert.

    We provide half-day and one-day training courses for charities using Google Ad Grants.

    To find out more go to our contact us page - and make an enquiry. Don't book a standard Google Ads course as setting up Google Ad Grants is quite different.

    If you are a charity that is happy to pay for your Google Ads (many are) then click here to book a standard Google Ads course. It will save you a lot of money.


Martin Woodfield is a Digital Marketing Trainer, running courses for M Training and various universities. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and has worked for some of the UKs leading companies. He has 20 years experience in digital marketing and has worked in senior marketing roles for over 30 years.

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