Google for Nonprofits: An Introduction to Google Adwords Grants

google grant management tips

Google for Nonprofits: An Introduction to Google Adwords Grants

If you are a nonprofit organization that has not heard about Google’s Nonprofit Grant program yet, let me catch you up to speed:

What are Google Grants?

The Google Grant program allows qualifying 501c3 nonprofits to utilize up to $10,000 in the Google Adwords platform at zero cost to the organization. This allows nonprofits of any size to create online advertising campaigns that will appear in Google’s search results when users enter similar keywords to the ones you target.

Google lays down a few simple ground rules on how you may use your Adwords Grant (I’ll touch on that later), but there’s no catch here. You really can “spend” up to $120,000 every year in free advertising on the world’s most popular search engine.

How does a nonprofit receive their Google Grant?

The Grant program is set up for the organizations that truly want it and value Google’s services, which is great news for those who are serious about being noticed online. Google offers some resources for how to apply, but don’t expect too much hand-holding. They’re giving you $10K a month, the least you can do is put in a little time to research, right?

First you need to apply to be a Google Nonprofit. Joining the program is fairly simple – you provide your EIN and certify that you adhere to Google’s policies. This application is sent to Google and you typically hear back in a day or so. The Google for Nonprofit program has some great tools even without the grant, making it worth signing up regardless.

Once you’ve become a Google Nonprofit, it’s time to enroll your organization in the Google Grant program. This requires a bit more work as you you need to not only describe how you plan to use the grant through campaigns, but you also need to create an Adwords account that is correctly configured for the grant. This account has a customer ID number that get’s submitted in your enrollment. Like I said before, don’t expect a babysitter!

Once you click “enroll,” you await a decision from Google. I’ve seen this take as little as 24 hours.

What makes a nonprofit eligible for a Google Grant?

There are a few eligibility requirements when attempting to enroll for the Google Nonprofit program, which would get you access to enroll in a grant:

    • Your nonprofit must be a 501(c)(3) organization.
    • Your nonprofit must be registered in the IRS database with an Employer ID (EIN)
    • Your organization needs to be based either in the United States, or one of Google’s other eligible countries.
    • Your organization needs to have a website (don’t have one? shoot us a line)
    • Your organization cannot be 1) a government entity, 2) an academic institution or childcare center, or 3) a hospital or medical group.
    • And or course, your nonprofit cannot be in the business of discriminating or campaigning violence and oppression against a group of people. So, if you represent the National Coalition Against Redheads or have anti-cute puppy language within your bylaws, it’s in your best interest to look elsewhere for advertising dollars.


What’s the best place to start?

Before you even begin the process towards securing a grant from Google, you need to ask yourself: Will we be able to manage this grant? If you don’t have the bandwidth to regularly login, update, and create new campaigns, Google will suspend or cancel your grant and you will have wasted a lot of time and energy.

If you know your nonprofit would benefit and grow from a Google Grant but need help securing it and managing your campaigns month after month – give our team a call or email us at to join our Google Grant Management program. You’ll not only receive an Adwords expert to manage your grant, you’ll be getting expert help and opinions on designing landing pages, keyword research, performance reports, and how to draw in online donations.