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  • Google Ad Grants – A helping hand for Charities


    For me, search engine marketing is the Holy Grail of advertising. More traditional means of promotion, leaflets, free magazines etc., are often perceived as a nuisance by the very audience it attempts to captivate (I personally cannot stand leaflets through my door every day!). However, search engine marketing targets only ‘engaged’ users. Users who are actively looking for that particular product or service – at the very time they are looking for that product or service. It ultimately enhances their online search experience.

    Google is by far the most prominent, and dominant, search engine provider on the internet, covering over 88.8%* of the UK market and it is also the largest search engine provider in most areas of the world. If you are thinking of advertising, advertising online via the Google Search Network is a must!

    *Source – Experian Hitwise


    Google Ad Grants is good news for charity organisations

    For charity organisations, Google is offering a free helping hand. Not only is the Google Ad Grant the lowest of hanging fruit, but for most organisations it is also the juiciest; quite simply the potential ROI benefits are huge.

    “Google Ad Grantees receive free AdWords advertising on Google search results pages. Ad Grantees build and manage their own AdWords accounts similar to paying advertisers, but participate with [certain] restrictions” – Google

    Google are offering ongoing grants of $10,000 USD (roughly £5,890) per month for PPC (pay-per-click) advertising on their search engine. The grant is available to any charity that fits Google’s Grant criteria, regardless of size and for most people looking to promote a charity, it represents the quickest and easiest (and potentially most cost effective) means to do so. These grants are offered in USD only, so the exchange rate into your local currency may affect the month-on-month value of the grant received.

    Organisations must go through an on-line application process to qualify for the grant. Requirements differ slightly by country, a full list of eligible countries and their Google grants application process can be found here.

    For the purpose of this blog post I am going to advise on the eligibility criteria for UK organisations.


    To be eligible for the Google Ad Grants programme, organisations must:

    • Hold current and valid charity status, as determined by your country; please see your country’s charity status definition below.
    • Acknowledge and agree to the application’s required certifications regarding nondiscrimination and donation receipt and use.
    • Have a functioning website with substantial content

    Please note that the following organisations are not eligible for Google Ad Grants:

    • Governmental entities and organisations
    • Hospitals and medical groups
    • Schools, childcare centres, academic institutions and universities (philanthropic arms of educational organisations are eligible). To learn more about Google’s programmes for educational institutions, visit Google in Education.

    To maintain eligibility in the Google Ad Grants programme:

    • A daily budget set to $329 USD, or the equivalent of $10,000 (per month)
    • A maximum CPC limit of $2.00 USD
    • Your ads must ONLY link to the ONE non-profit website URL that was approved in the application.
    • You are required to actively manage the AdWords account by logging in monthly. Should you not log in to your account for 30 days, your account will be subject to pausing without notification.
    • Your ads must reflect the mission of the approved non-profit organisation and your keywords must be relevant to the non-profit’s programmes and services.
    • Strictly commercial advertising is not allowed through this programme. If you intend to promote products or services, 100% of the sales and/or proceeds must support your programme.
    • Your Google ads cannot link to pages that are primarily links to other websites.
    • Ads offering financial products (such as mortgages or credit cards) or those requesting car, boat or property donations and related keywords are not allowed.
    • Your website cannot display Google AdSense ads or affiliate advertising links while participating in Google Ad Grants.


    Google Grants Benefits

    Why you need an account manager in place

    Although you can run your Google Ad Grants account internally, I would certainly recommend employing the specialist skills of a PPC advertising agency. Raising the profile of your organisation via Ad Grants requires strategy, planning and expertise – and that’s where a PPC ad agency comes into play. The ad agency would ultimately be responsible for the continued optimisation of the account to increase ROI, but also to ensure the Ad Grant restrictions are adhered to ensuring that your Ad Grant is not rescinded.

    ‘But ad agencies are expensive’ I hear you say. It depends on what you class as ‘expensive’. If the agency provides you with a positive ROI, say 5/1, are they still classed as expensive? Remember, the Ad Grant provides you with $10,000 of FREE advertising per month. Yes, the grants are calculated by Google in $USD but in £GBP this equates to roughly £5,890* – still quite a considerable FREE grant I think you’ll agree.

    *Source – Exchange rate via XE.com 16/06/2014


    An example of a Google Ad Grant scenario

    Say you receive $10,000 (£5,890) ad spend each month from Ad Grants for free, the ad agency then turns this free investment into £29,450 in donations for your organisation and charge you £4,417.50 (15% of your return) in the form of a management fee leaving you with £25,032.50. Does this still look an expensive option?

    The Ad Agency also has the expertise to provide feedback on how donators navigate your site and ultimately reach the point of donation. This feedback allows you to optimise the site accordingly to potentially increase the conversion rate and ROI even further.

    The positive ROI gives you the opportunity to re-invest ‘x’ amount of the income back into advertising. The ability to run an Ad Grants account alongside a Paid AdWords account is possible. However, there are further restrictions in running both accounts side-by-side, the ad agency will have the best-practice knowledge here.

    Employing an ad agency also has another huge potential benefit. For charities and organisations that have successfully developed their grant, there is the opportunity to recieve $40,000 grants per month. This is an additional $30,000 per month added to the existing Google Ad Grants account of $10,000 per month, equalling a total of $40,000 per month in free advertising. To qualify, the account needs to have hit its monthly budget cap (at least $9,900) for at least two different months over the last six months (they don’t need to be consecutive months). Although this does take some skill there is no reason why it shouldn’t be reached via an ad agency.

    That’s potentially $40,000 worth of free online advertising each month!


    Are you utilising Ad Grants at the moment? Or perhaps thinking “why on earth aren’t we!?” I’d love to hear your feedback either way.


    Image credit to 5PhotosaDay.

    Jason is a PPC Consultant at White.net specialising in PPC & Online Marketing and joined the company in January 2014 with a proven background in PPC development. Jason was previously the Website & Marketing Manager at Extera Ltd, where he was responsible for all marketing activities and during a previous employment at GM Ltd he initiated and oversaw the creation of the company’s e-commerce business taking it to a £3million turnover in under 3 years. Jason has numerous qualifications in PPC, including Google AdWords, Google Analytics, Bing and Marin. When his PPC cap is off, he can often be found in the gym, at Franklins Gardens and Twickenham (if found please return to White.net), or with his head in a good book. Likes: Fine cheese. Dislikes: Drivers who do not indicate.

    4 Responses to “Google Ad Grants – A helping hand for Charities”

    1. Mary Geller says:

      Hello Jason,

      Thank you for sharing this wonderful information.

      This will help us to understand the eligibility in the Google Ad Grants.

      • Jason Denny says:

        Hi Mary,

        Thanks for your comment. You are more than welcome, I don’t think many charities are aware of this funding source.

        If there is anything we can help with please do not hesitate to reach out.


    2. Richard says:

      We’ve been using Goolge Grants Adwords for a while but confess am a little confused still over the daily budget of $329. Is this a maximum that can be set for each campaign, or the sum total across several campaigns?

      • Jason Denny says:

        Hi Richard,

        Thanks for your comment, great to hear that your organisation is making use of the Google Grants scheme. The $329 is a sum total across the account – all campaigns. You can either apply a separate daily budget to each of your campaigns (ensuring that the sum total does not exceed $329/daily) or alternatively to make things a little easier by creating a Shared Budget for your campaigns. The shared budget allows all of your campaigns to access the available daily budget, this can help you avoid situations such as ‘Limited By Budget’ on performing campaigns.

        Hope this helps, if you have any additional questions please do not hesitate to reach out.


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