How to Get Your Nonprofit $40,000 in Google Advertising

By Heidi Smith | Jul 9, 2014
More Articles by Heidi

Google Grants logo with check mark and mouse arrowGoogle recently announced that their Google Grantspro program through Google Ad Grants is once again open for applicants, as long as they meet the new requirements. If your nonprofit is accepted into the Grantspro program (by meeting all guidelines and requirements asked of you, including an application process), your organization is granted the upper tier $40,000 monthly budget to utilize on the Google AdWords Search Network. This is an increase from the standard Google Ad Grants spend limit of $10,000 per month.

While Google may keep a tight rein on AdWords elements available through the Ad Grants program, it is still up to $40,000 in essentially free promotion – how could you not want to take advantage of this program for your organization’s mission and initiatives? To help you meet the new requirements and ensure your 501(c)3 organization is eligible for the Grantspro program, I’ve put together a few key points that should help you and your team form a strategy – and help your organization promote what is most important to you.


Dedicated Team Member

Google now requires an authorized representative of your organization to sign into and manage your Google AdWords account on a bi-weekly basis (at minimum). This is a change to the previous Grantspro stipulation and different from standard Ad Grant accounts, which only requires a user to sign in at minimum once a month.

If you don’t already have a dedicated member of your team managing your AdWords account, you should figure this out immediately. Adjustments may need to be made to accommodate what is expected of you from Google, and also what your team or team member expects of their work load for this particular initiative.

Required Click-Through Rate

Google now requires all Grantspro accounts to have and maintain a click-through rate (CTR) of 1% at the account-level. This is to ensure that if Google is giving you advertising money to spend, you are using it and managing your account.

If you don’t already have a 1% click-through rate, one way to increase CTR is to perform ad copy testing. Start with a few ads in each ad group, and make sure you have performance data to analyze before implementing new ad copy and determining which elements you should test. Also make sure you have a branded campaign included in your account. As you can see below, our average Ad Grants brand campaign has an 11.35% click-through rate compared to a 1.53% account-level CTR (though both are over the requirement), which would help raise your overall CTR and hopefully reach the prerequisite.

Google Ad Grants Marketing Mojo client accounts CTR

Reach Minimum Budget Cap

One of the most important factors, and possibly the most-challenging, is the minimum spend required for Grantspro program eligibility. Your Ad Grants account must hit the monthly budget cap of $9,900 at least two months over the last six month period (non-consecutive) from when you apply. This can be challenging depending on your organization’s market and initiatives, especially if you have been focusing on conversions over spend the last few months (or longer) when the Grantspro program was not open for applications. Here are a few key ideas that can help you strategically reach the budget cap minimum:

  • Bidding Adjustments
    • The Ad Grants program means advertisers are limited to a $2.00 maximum keyword bid. However, you may have been focusing on conversions and clicks over spend and have decreased certain keyword bids over the last few months. Make sure every keyword you are advertising on is set to the maximum.
  • Aim for Expansion
    • Have you been holding out on advertising for that new initiative because you didn’t want to take away from other AdWords campaigns or move around campaign budgets? Now is the time to get the ball rolling! Expand your account through new campaigns, adding more ad groups into existing campaigns, or by simply adding new, relevant keywords to existing campaigns.
  • Current Settings
    • Another area you don’t want to forget is your current settings. While your goals were different and you were aiming for conversions instead of spend, check to make sure that you didn’t make adjustments to your campaigns with gender, age, or device bid modifiers. Also make sure that you are advertising 24/7 to ensure your ads are showing whenever possible.
  • Location Targeting
    • Are you targeting everywhere you should be? Google doesn’t limit where you can advertise with the Ad Grants program, so see where you can expand your account – both globally and domestically.

Keep in mind it doesn’t hurt to try one change at a time. If you think you can reach the cap by adjusting your current settings and increasing all of your bids to $2.00, try that first. You still want to generate conversions and leads for your organization, and you don’t want to erase all of the work you have been doing to optimize the account. Take one step at a time and remember to let your existing data guide you as you work toward Google’s Grantspro requirements.

Are you already a Grantspro program member and have other tips of how your organization became eligible? Are you just getting started and have questions? Find me on Google+ or Twitter and share your thoughts!

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