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Paid Search (PPC)

Google AdWords Grants: How Non-Profits Can Get Ahead

Google AdWords Grants are a great opportunity for non-profit organisations to increase awareness for their great causes.

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What is Google AdWords Grants?

Google AdWords Grants is Google’s PPC program for non-profit organisations. It’s completely free: Non-profits can receive up to $10,000 (Google Grants works in dollars) per month for PPC advertising in the Google Search Network, allowing them to reach a large number of potential donors or volunteers with $329 per day to spend!
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How to Apply for AdWords Grants

  1. Check that you are eligible here. You must be a non-profit organisation and a registered charity.
  2. Apply for the non-profit program here. This should be approved within a few of days.
  3. Apply for the AdWords Grant Program and make sure you skip the billing process. This then can take a number of weeks to be approved.
  4. Set up your AdWords account.
  5. Submit your account for review.

Deciding your Objectives for your Google AdWords Account

Once you’ve set up your account you should think about what you want to achieve. Creating objectives can help you to decide what ads you want to develop, and how to structure your PPC campaigns.

  • The most obvious goal would be to increase brand awareness, which is achievable with such a large budget
  • To measure an increase in newsletter sign ups
  • To measure an increase in donations

To measure these increases you can set-up goals in Google Analytics to track newsletter sign ups or donation thank you pages.

AdWords Tips for Google Grants

The majority of  non-profits fail to spend the $10,000 budget each month. As the maximum click is $2, spending $10,000 is even harder. The $2 restraint on clicks means that you can’t bid higher for the phrases that mean the most to your organisation.

Running an AdWords Grant account is different to a regular account. As the budget is free, you do not need to be as strict as you would be with a normal PPC budget. You can experiment and target various keywords and locations while boosting awareness of the different aspects of your non-profit’s services.

Broad Keyword List

Based on the products and services that you wish to build awareness of, you can use Google’s keyword planner to develop keyword lists and find new opportunities. With a CPC of $2 you may struggle to rank for popular terms, but the Keyword Planner can help you to find new phrases to rank for at $2 or less per click.

With a normal PPC account you would probably stay away from “broad match” type keywords, as this would chew up your budget in no time. But using broad match or broad match modifier is a good strategy for AdWords Grants as your ads will appear for a wider range of phrases related to your organisation, which can only be a good thing.

Think Long Term

Think of your long term business goals and develop ads based on those. Do you have a major seasonal event that you need to promote? Are you planning a fun run next year? With such a large budget you can create ads based on your future events and fundraisers – and it’s absolutely free!

Location Targeting

Whether you’re a local charity or national charity, location targeting can help. If you’re a local organisation you can ensure that you spend all of your budget by targeting your ads in your city, town, or the wider area.

For instance, a Nottingham based charity could target Derby, Leicester and other areas in the East Midlands to develop brand awareness. Similarly, national charities can use Google Analytics to see which are the most popular towns and cities for your cause.

You should also think about location targeting for specific events, or for fundraisers that are location specific.

Negative Keywords

Even though you have a lot of money to spend, you still need to add negative keywords so that your ads do not appear for irrelevant or detrimental search terms. But you can be more relaxed than you could with a normal PPC account. Browse through the search term report to see if there are any negative keywords that you need to add.

Search Term Report

Once you have your ads running, you can use the search term report for ideas for new ads and campaigns. If your keywords are “broad match” you’re going to appear for a wide range of unrelated phrases, and the search term report and identify these for you to adds to your negative keyword list.

Organised Account Structure

Even though you’re essentially spending free money, ensuring that your account is organised is still important. See this blog post for tips on how to set up your AdWords Campaigns.

Landing Pages

Thanks to Google Grants you might be getting hundreds of new visitors a month. But if you are sending your users to a bad landing page, you’ll be missing out on converting those users to new donors. Update the landing pages that you are sending your new visitors to. Ensure that they’re engaging and that they clearly communicate your key messages.

Quality Score

Quality score is still an important factor for Ad Grants. Develop highly relevant landing pages that are based on the keywords you are bidding on. This will be increase the quality score of your ads and increase your ad rank in the search engine results.

Do’s and Don’ts for AdWords Grants

Here’s some Google Grants housekeeping rules:


  • Check your account every fortnight to ensure your campaigns are running smoothly
  • Send users to the website that Google has approved in your application
  • When promoting products and services, all proceeds must go to your program


  • Don’t send your users to an unapproved domain
  • Commercial advertising is prohibited
  • Don’t send users to landing pages that have a number of links to other websites
  • Do not offer financial products or request donations of vehicles or property
  • Your website cannot display Google AdSense or adverting links


AdWords Grants is a great opportunity for any non-profit. Once you are spending the $10,000 each month, Google has even been known to increase the budget with Google GrantsPro.

Read our previous blog post on Google Grants here. Read the Google grant success stories from Google here.

If you would like help running your Google AdWords Grants account, please get in touch today.

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