Free advertising. Who doesn’t love that?

Did you know that Google has given away hundreds of millions of dollars in free advertising to nonprofits through its Google Grants program? More than 10,000 nonprofits have joined the program, but with nearly two million nonprofits in the U.S. alone, 10,000 is a relatively small percentage.

Nonprofits must manage donor funds wisely and that includes being prudent about how they manage advertising funds. Google Grants is definitely worth looking into as you map out your marketing and advertising strategy for the year.

First off, just what is Google Grants?

Google Grants is an in-kind advertising program that offers qualifying nonprofits up to $10,000 a month to spend on Google ads (they show up in the top or side bar under the paid advertisers). According to Media Cause, they’ve seen Google Grants result in 40,000 new website visitors per month.

Ads appear based on an automated real-time auction where you bid on keywords. If you bid high enough relative to other bids, your ad is displayed.

There are a few limitations:

  • Ads must reflect your organization’s mission and not be too commercial.
  • There is a $2 per keyword maximum bid.
  • Google allows a maximum “spend” of $329 per day.
  • Ads are text-only.

To get started, you'll want to set up a Google for Nonprofits account here, then view the Google Grants guide to find out if you're eligible and how to apply.

If your application is approved, you can then submit an initial AdWords campaign for review and approval, which may take a few weeks.

You’ll also need to follow specific guidelines as you develop campaigns:

  • Link Properly  – All the ads in your account must link to the URL that was approved in your application process.
  • Be ActiveYou must login to your account regularly, otherwise it is subject to being cancelled without notification.
  • Support Your Mission – Your ads must reflect your nonprofit’s mission. Advertising products is OK as long as the proceeds support programming.
  • Adhere To Proper Linking – Your ads can’t solicit donations in the form of large goods such as cars or property.
  • No Affiliate Advertising  – Your website cannot display ads from Google AdSense or other affiliate advertising links.

We hope you take advantage of this extremely valuable resource. Stay tuned for more information about how to make the most of your AdWords, or contact us to work directly with an AdWords specialist.

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