Google Ad Grants for Nonprofits - Say What?

By Lisa Hirst Carnes | April 2015

Last week, ArcStone was an exhibitor at the Nonprofit Technology & Communications Conference. It was a great opportunity for us to talk to dozens of people involved with lots of great nonprofit organizations. When we mentioned Google Ad Grants for Nonprofits, the conversation went something like this:

“Really? Wow, I had no idea this was out there? My organization could get $10,000 per month to advertise for FREE? Sign me up!”


“Yes, we have a Google Ad Grant but I don’t think we’re getting much out of it. No one is really paying attention to it. We don’t know AdWords and we’re not exactly sure what to do with it.”

If either of these scenarios sound familiar, keep reading.

Google Ad Grants Overview

Your nonprofit organization may be eligible to receive $10,000 per month of Google advertising for free through the Ad Grants program.


Harness the power of AdWords and create a custom marketing campaign that enables your organization to reach its goals.


The first step is finding out whether your nonprofit organization is eligible. To qualify your organization must:

  1. If you’re located in the United States, you must be a registered and recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

  2. Acknowledge and agree to the application's required certifications regarding nondiscrimination and donation receipt and use.

  3. Have a functioning website with substantial content.

You are not eligible for a Google Ad Grant if your nonprofit is:

  1. Governmental entities and organizations

  2. Hospitals and medical groups

  3. Schools, childcare facilities, academic institutions and universities. One exception of this rule is if your educational organization is philanthropic, you may be eligible.


Google Ad Grant recipients receive free AdWords advertising on Google search results pages with the following restrictions:

  • There is a monthly budget of $10,000 or $329 per day.

  • The maximum cost-per-click (CPC) limit is $2.00.

  • Ads run only on keyword-targeted campaigns (not location, language, device or audience targeting.

  • Ads will only appear on the Google Search results pages. Display, video & remarketing campaigns are not part of the program at this time.

  • Only text ads are eligible.

Even if you’re already taking advantage of Google Ad Grants, you may not be leveraging it to its full capacity. According to Google, most recipients only spend $330 per month. That’s $9,670 of advertising dollars that your organization could be using to reach its goals!

Don't miss out. If you’d like more information about Google Ad Grants, or need help optimizing your existing campaigns, contact us today for a free AdWords auditIf you're a nonprofit interested in receiving monthly updates on the latest marketing news, sign up for our newsletter, The Nerdy Nonprofit.

Topics: Nonprofit Help