What is a Google Ad Grant?

Google Ad Grants is a program that provides qualifying nonprofit organizations with an in-kind donation for (free) Google Ads search advertising, with a budget of $10,000/month. This is a wonderful program that allows nonprofits to have enhanced visibility within the world’s most powerful public information tool – the Google search engine.  



How Can Search Advertising Benefit Nonprofits?

Search is a highly effective public outreach tool that can help mission-based organizations of all types reach target audiences, communicate their message, and promote services and programs within the communities they serve.

With search advertising, your nonprofit organization can conduct public outreach efforts and raise awareness for a number of purposes, including:

  • Promote Programs and Services
  • Promote Your Message
  • Recruit Volunteers
  • Promote Events
  • Increase Donations
  • Elevate organizational/brand awareness

Requirements for Managing Your Google Grant

Once you’ve gone through the Grant application process, you will essentially have a donated search advertising budget - Free money! Google provides up to $10,000 a month in free advertising dollars – but there are definitely some strings attached. Google has developed criteria you need to meet and maintain to avoid deactivation of your account.

First and foremost, you need a live website. Once you have that down, here are the rest of Google’s requirements for keeping your Ad Grant in good standing:

Ad Groups & Ads

You’ll need to have at least two ad groups, each containing at least two ads. This is not too much of a challenge for most advertisers. For the unfamiliar, ad groups are groupings of ads that share similar targets. Most active and healthy campaigns should easily meet this goal. Google also requires you to have two unique sitelink ad extensions – these are links that take people to specific pages on your site.

Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are an advertiser’s way of weeding out irrelevant searches, and Google wants you to use them. A common example that applies to most accounts is “free.” Once added to an account’s (or campaign’s) negative keyword list, no searches including the word “free” will trigger an ad. This is Google’s way of forcing Grant recipients to tighten the net a bit and keep their keywords and ads relevant.

Location Settings

This is another way Google forces Grant recipients to narrow their reach. You must be geo-targeting locations relevant to your nonprofit organization. To quote Google: you should be advertising “in locations where users will find your nonprofit’s information and services useful.”


Here is where campaigns can lose their Grants more easily. A couple of years ago, Google added the required metric of meeting at least a 5% account-level click-through rate (CTR) each month. After two months of failing to meet this metric, your account will be temporarily deactivated. This forces recipients to really tailor their accounts to make sure they’re targeting relevant leads. Due to the lack of financial constraints, here is Google’s incentivization for recipients to genuinely target appropriate searchers - as opposed to casting as wide a net as possible. 5% is not an insignificant number, so whoever is managing the account for your Ad Grant really needs to keep an eye on keywords and metrics.

Conversion Tracking

You must have conversion tracking set up to demonstrate that you are using the Grant program to further your organization’s purpose. Goals could be sign-ups, donations, information requests, phone calls, etc. You need to accrue at least one conversion a month to keep your organization’s Ad Grant in good standing with Google.

Should I run my Grants account myself?

Over the last few years, as Google has developed and refined its Grants program, the requirements have been a bit of a moving target. More than a few nonprofits have logged on to find their accounts deactivated due to missed changes in the program policies and requirements. Additionally, given all the constraints in place, it is highly unlikely you will spend even close to the full grant amount of $10,000/month. A trained professional can help you make sure to retain your grant and take as much advantage of it as possible.

Get Help with Google Grant Setup and Management

Many nonprofits can benefit from a qualified agency to assist them with proper setup and management of their Google Ad Grant account. Learn more about Google Ad Grant management services to see if it could help your organization, or feel free to contact us with any questions.

To learn more, simply complete the form below and we’ll be happy to follow-up with additional information, including:

  • Needs Assessment
  • Cost Estimates
  • Questions & Answers