If you read our previous post on paid online advertising, work for or with a non-profit, or are considering the pros and cons of the Google Adwords grant for non-profits, look no further. Google AdWords can be a great platform for non-profits to use to direct search traffic to their website or to engage in targeted online fundraising campaigns. If you’re considering the platform, but are unfamiliar with how it works, you should probably also read this post that gives you a complete rundown.
Below we discuss all the pros and cons of the Google AdWords grant for non-profits (it’s actually called the Google Ad Grant, which is a bit confusing). The grant is a special feature of AdWords only available to non-profit organizations that provides $10,000 a month of Google Ads to eligible organizations. There are also some tips included below if you’ve received the AdWords grant and have been unsuccessful with your ad campaigns.
Pros and Cons of the Google Adwords Grant for Non-Profits in a Nutshell
The Google AdWords Grant is a special program only available to non-profit organizations who are registered as 501(c)(3)s. In order to sign up for it, you just need to fill out the free application available via the homepage for the grant, which includes entering all your organization’s information so that Google can verify it is actually a legally registered non-profit.
Google doesn’t disclose its selection criteria and reserves the right to deny any organization the grant, but based on the feedback of clients who have received the grant, it seems fairly easy to get. There are a few requirements before you hit that “sign up” button, however. Your organization must:
- Be currently registered as a 501(c)(3)
- Acknowledge and agree to Google’s required certifications regarding how to receive and use donations obtained from the grant
- Have a functioning website for your organization that provides adequate detail on your nonprofit
After you apply for and receive the grant, however, the real work begins. Just because you’ve received the grant doesn’t mean that AdWords will automatically work for your organization. You need to follow best practices and optimize your ad campaigns just like any organization to be successful.
So, the benefits and drawbacks of the Google AdWords grant for non-profits can be summed up as follows:
- The same tools available to all AdWords users to help you create campaigns, minus one (see below)
- Lots of available documentation to help you learn how to create better campaigns
- High learning curve (it can actually be difficult to spend all that free money)
- No display ads
Below we discuss each of the pros and cons of the Google Adwords grant for non-profits in-depth.
Pro/Con: The Same Great Tools as For-Profits, Minus One
For the most part, the service you receive as a non-profit on Google AdWords is the same as the service that paid users receive, minus one difference. Non-profits working under the Google AdWords grant can only advertise on the search network. This means that users will only see your ads next to search engine results, but not on partner websites. This may seem like a small drawback, but the display network can display your ads to a lot of people in a short amount of time. In fact, the display network can serve your ads to over 90% of global internet users across two million websites!
Other than that, however, Google Adwords grant recipients receive access to the same suite of tools as paid users, including the all-important Keyword Planner that helps you create keyword lists for your campaigns.
Pro: Same Great Documentation
Just like the paid service, Google has created a wealth of documentation for non-profits who advertise on AdWords. This includes success stories, a blog dedicated to non-profit topics, and an online community of non-profits who have received the grant. If you need ideas about how to launch a successful campaign after receiving the grant, all this information will certainly help you on your way.
Con: High Learning Curve
If you are like most non-profit managers, however, you are probably unfamiliar with AdWords and how it works. After receiving the grant, you may find yourself overwhelmed with account setup, finding keywords, and creating and managing campaigns. If you’re anything like our clients, you saw a chance to get $10,000 a month for your favorite cause and jumped at it (which you should have), but now the real work begins as you try to learn how to be an effective pay-per-click (PPC) marketer for your organization.
Will people donate to your non-profit online? Can you use the grant just to direct new website traffic to your organization to help build awareness? What keywords and overall strategies should you use to maximize your $10,000 a month?
The answers to these questions will depend highly on what type of non-profit you are, who your target donor is, and what you’re trying to accomplish as an organization.
It’s Worth It to Apply
Though it can be difficult for non-profits to create winning ad campaigns, there’s really no reason not to apply for the Google AdWords grant. Like most grants, you can always put the money to good use, namely creating awareness and additional fundraising opportunities for your non-profit.
The best thing is to get someone from your organization to spend a few hours a week working with, and learning about, AdWords once you get the grant. If you need a boost to get going, don’t be afraid to reach out to neighborhood friendly digital marketer. $10,000 a month in ad revenue is a good chunk of change, and it may be worth a small investment of time and/or money to ensure you’re maximizing every dollar you’ve been awarded.