Not-for-Profit organisations could be missing out on free digital advertising from Google Grants Program. UK charities and non-profits can apply for these grants online and, if they qualify, could receive up to around £8000 worth of text-based advertising spend every month! This huge opportunity is available as long as you can meet the (fairly strict) criteria and set up and manage your ad spending.

Sound good? Read on for our tips and tricks on applying for a Google Grant and how not to lose it!


Why should charities and nonprofits advertise digitally?

Digital marketing is increasing in popularity, not just because of the evolution of technology but the pandemic has seen more people shopping online than ever before, so naturally, with more digital users, more businesses are advertising digitally to claim their slice of the digital pie. That means that there is even more competition than ever before for charities and not-for-profit organisations to reach target markets and more “noise” that their communications need to be heard through.


Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

PPC provides you with an opportunity to target specific keywords that you want to rank for on Google (still the industry leader by a mile). Keywords are words or phrases that are relevant to your brand and that are going to attract people to your website and then convert into donations, newsletter sign-ups, event registrations etc whatever it is that you are looking to increase. The average cost per action in AdWords across all industries is $48.96 for search. And $75.51 for display. A Google Grant would help cover this cost, for organisations that do not have a high marketing budget available or organisations that would do more for society by spending that money elsewhere.


Eligibility for a Google Grant

There are various steps to getting verified as a registered charity to be eligible for Google Grants.

  • Organisations must be currently registered with tt-exchange, TechSoup Global’s regional arm.
  • Organisations must be registered with or recognised by relevant authorities as: (1) registered charities; or (2) HMRC exempt charities or churches.
  • Organisations must acknowledge and agree to Google’s required certifications regarding nondiscrimination and donation receipt and use.
  • They should have a live website with a decent amount of content.
  • A Google account

Once you’ve done this – fill in a simple application form and wait for the confirmation email.


Who is not eligible?

It is important to note that some types of organisations are not eligible and will not be verified. Google will ask you to confirm that your organisation is:

  • Not a governmental entity or organisation
  • Not a hospital or healthcare organisation
  • Not a school, academic institution, or university (Google for Education offers a separate program for schools)


Tips for success with Google Ad Grants

Once you have been verified and approved, you need to set the account up. Fairly straightforward if you have experience using Google Ads, but if not, there are step by step guides provided by Google. In basic terms, it is to be true to your brand and to be relevant and genuine. Here are a few tips from Google themselves to help you make the most out of your ad grant.  Google Ads are also really helpful and will send you notifications to your account with customised tips and tricks, step-by-step suggestions and educational webinars hosted by the Google Ad Grants team. The tips for success are:

  1. Structure your account
  2. Create effective ads
  3. Choose the right keywords
  4. Target your audience
  5. Track what action people take after clicking on your ad
  6. Automatically set bids for your goals


How to keep your Google Grant

Google Ads is not a set it up and leave it programme, you need to manage it and be optimising it at all times, to minimise wasted clicks from unwanted traffic. If you are using Google Grants, you may not be risking physical money from wasted clicks but in order to make sure your ads remain relevant and useful for searchers, Google does require you to meet certain criteria to maintain your Google Grant credit.

Google Ad Grants accounts that are not exclusively using Smart campaigns must maintain a 5% click-through rate (CTR) each month (at the account level, not necessarily each keyword). If the CTR requirement isn’t met for two consecutive months, your account will be temporarily deactivated. 

You need to be running at least two active ad groups per campaign (if you are not exclusively using Smart campaigns), each containing a set of closely related keywords and two active, unique text ads. There should also be at least two unique site link ad extensions.

Quality scores must stay at 3 or above so your website should be highly relevant, and content should be appropriate and substantial. Your keywords should be specific to your website and your cause, otherwise again Google will remove those keywords, or your account could be suspended.


Help to secure your Google Grant

There is a lot to digest here, especially if you do not have experience setting up and managing Google Ad accounts This is where Sierra Six can help, our PPC experts can help with everything from verification, to set up to management. Contact our team of PPC Experts for more info.


Rachel Downes, Content Creator, Sierra Six Media.