Free Google Ad Grants for Non-Profits

Posted by David Lipten

Did you know that it’s possible for non-profit organizations to receive free advertising on Google and have their ads appear on the Google search results pages? Grantees build and manage their own campaigns, just like paying advertisers would, though with some restrictions, including:

  • A daily budget set to $329 USD, which is equivalent to about $10,000 per month
  • A maximum cost-per-click (CPC) limit of $2.00 USD
  • Only run keyword-targeted campaigns
  • Only appear on Google search result pages
  • Only run text ads

GrantWorks has successfully secured these grants for clients. The process takes a lot of form filling and some time. But, the grants are easy to obtain and, if awarded, advertising on Google is absolutely free. It does take some time to manage your account on a quarterly basis. But, I think you’ll find that it’s worth the time and effort.

According to the Google site (, Ad Grants:

“…is the nonprofit edition of AdWords, Google’s online advertising tool. Google Ad Grants empowers nonprofit organizations, through $10,000 per month in in-kind AdWords™ advertising, to promote their missions and initiatives on Google search result pages.”

Also, from the Google site, your organization is eligible the Google Ad Grants program, if it:

    • Holds current and valid charity status;
    • Acknowledges and agrees to the application’s required certifications regarding nondiscrimination and donation receipt and use;
    • Has a functioning website with substantial content.

Some organizations won’t be eligible, though. These include:

    • Governmental entities and organizations
    • Hospitals and medical groups
    • Schools, childcare centers, academic institutions and universities (philanthropic arms of educational organizations are eligible).

In order to maintain your eligibility in the program:

  • Your ads must only link to the ONE nonprofit website domain that was approved in the application.
  • You are required to actively manage the AdWords account by logging in monthly and making at least one change to your account every 90 days, based on review of your account performance. Your account is subject to automatic pausing or cancellation without notification should you fail to make any changes in your account for over 90 days.
  • Your ads must reflect the mission of the approved nonprofit organization and your keywords must be relevant to the nonprofit’s programs and services.
  • Strictly commercial advertising is not allowed through this program. If you intend to promote products or services, 100% of the sales and/or proceeds must support your program.
  • 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 also stipulates “Ad Grantees may only promote mission-based ads and keywords in their…account.” So, no over selling of goods and services, unless, again, you tie these to words associated with you mission.

Check out Google’s generous offer of free advertising yourself or, if you have questions or need someone to apply and set up your account for you, contact GrantWorks and I’ll be happy to help.



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