Google Ad Grant Management: Make the Most Of Your Org’s Ads

Marketing your mission is an important part of running a successful nonprofit, and there are dozens of ways to do so, from mailing out flyers to posting frequently on social media. But one of the most effective and exciting ways for nonprofits to spread the word about their causes is by using the Google Ad Grant!

The Google Ad Grant offers an incredible opportunity for nonprofits around the world to tap into the power of Google Ads for free. To make the most out of this opportunity, you need to have a solid approach to Google Ad Grant management. This involves keeping your account active, consistently refining your ads and campaigns, and more—which is all easier with the help of Google Ad Grant experts.

In this guide, we’ll explore some ways you can get better results from your Google Ad Grant. Here’s what we’ll cover:

The right Google Ad Grant management strategy can make all the difference in raising awareness for your mission, inviting people to get involved with your work, and converting them into committed supporters. Let’s begin!


Google Ad Grant Management Basics

Before we dive into some specific ways to successfully manage your Google Ad Grant, let’s cover some essentials.

What is the Google Ad Grant?

As explained in our full guide to the Google Ad Grant, the Google Ad Grant is a grant from Google that gives your nonprofit a $10,000 Google Ads budget each month, which you can use to bid on keywords and create ads to promote your mission.

Google has been offering the Ad Grant since 2003. According to the program website, they’ve given over $10 billion in free advertising to over 115,000 nonprofits across 51 countries.

The ads nonprofits create through this program appear at the top of the search results page for their respective keywords, so they’re a great chance for your nonprofit to get more general visibility on the web or to encourage specific actions, like donating, signing up to volunteer, or registering for an event. Here’s an example of what an ad looks like on the search engine results page:

This is an example of what a Google Ad looks like.

Here are a few things we love about the Google Ad Grant:

  • There’s plenty to go around. Unlike other grants, Google offers the Ad Grant to any qualifying nonprofit organization that wants it. To qualify, you simply need to have a valid charitable status, register with Google for Nonprofits, sign up for TechSoup, and agree to the Program Policies. You’ll also need to maintain a functional website that offers a good user experience. (Note that educational institutions, schools, government organizations, and healthcare organizations are not eligible for the grant.)
  • As long as you maintain your eligibility, you can keep receiving the grant for as long as you want. You can use the Google Ad Grant continuously, from month to month. Check out the Ad Grants Policy Compliance Guide for a fuller picture of everything that goes into maintaining your eligibility.
  • You can easily track your ad campaign progress and make improvements. The Google Ad Grant program will provide you with plenty of data you can use to monitor your ads and adjust them for better results. Plus, you can easily use Google’s other tools, like Google Analytics, to get more insights related to your ads, such as what users are doing on your landing pages once they click through an ad.

We also love the Google Ad Grant because it gets nonprofits results! Watch the video below to hear from some Google Ad Grant recipients and how they’ve found marketing success through the program:

YouTube video

While it will take some time and effort to apply for the Google Ad Grant and get your campaigns up and running, using the Ad Grant to get the word out about your mission is a no-brainer!

What is Google Ad Grant management?

Google Ad Grant management is the process of overseeing and optimizing your Google Ad Grant account to remain eligible for the program and create ads that help your organization connect with people looking for your nonprofit online. 

This involves, among other things:

  • Conducting keyword research
  • Creating ads
  • Tracking performance
  • Optimizing your landing pages
  • Staying compliant with Google’s program policies

These management tasks can quickly become overwhelming, especially if your team is smaller or new to the Ad Grant program. That’s why it’s best to invest in working with Google Ad Grants experts, who can handle the management of your account for you! (More on this below.)

Why is strategic Google Ad management important?

Efficient Ad Grant management can help you:

  • Maximize your ROI for all the effort you put into creating ad campaigns
  • Make the most of your Ad Grants budget
  • Achieve specific goals, like achieving a certain number of volunteer sign-ups or meeting a fundraising goal
  • Reach the right audience that is interested in your cause and wants to get involved
  • Create high-quality ads that will catch internet users’ attention
  • Stay compliant with the Ad Grant program
  • Stand out from nonprofits with similar missions or focuses

Google Ads are not something that your nonprofit can just set and forget. To get people clicking on your ads, exploring your web pages, and—most importantly—taking action for your cause, you need to be actively involved in how your ads are performing. Once your organization is up and running with the Google Ad Grant, it’s up to you to make the most of it to see the results you want!

7 Ways to Manage Your Google Ad Grant Effectively

Now that you know the importance of careful Google Ad Grant management, you’re likely ready to start designing your management strategy. Let’s walk through seven ways you can manage your Ad Grant account and make the most of your ads:This image and the text below list seven strategies for managing the Google Ad Grant.

  • Maintain your eligibility and compliance. To ensure you can keep using the grant each month, stay active in your account, actively monitor your performance, follow the appropriate ad structure (more on this below), choose high-quality keywords, maintain a 5% CTR each month, and complete Google’s annual performance survey when you receive it.
  • Follow the right account structure. The Google Ad Grant ad structure follows a nested approach, where ads are contained in ad groups and ad groups are contained in campaigns. Your campaigns should be geared toward your most important goals, such as securing more volunteers, enrolling more people in a certain program, or growing your email list. Within those campaigns, your ad groups are focused on specific keywords and contain individual ads that use those keywords. For example, say your environment-focused nonprofit has a goal to get more registrations for an upcoming event. You could then create a campaign focused on the event, with different ad groups focused on keywords like “Earth Day celebration” or “Earth Day volunteer activities.” Within those ad groups, you could create ads using the respective keywords.This image shows the correct account structure for a Google Ads account.

 

  • Choose keywords carefully. The keywords you choose should be specific, more than one word (with an exception for branded terms), and tailored to your nonprofit’s unique audience. When possible, they should also be tailored by time and geography. To continue with the example of the environment-focused nonprofit, the keywords “donate to plant trees in New York” or “volunteer for summer beach clean-up” will be much more specific and effective than “donate” or “volunteer.” Keep tabs on keyword metrics with Google’s Keyword Planner, conduct regular reviews of your keyword list (and make edits as needed), and add negative keywords to ensure you don’t show up for irrelevant keywords. For instance, the environment-focused nonprofit would likely want to avoid showing up for keywords like “environment-focused internships” or “environmental science jobs” if it isn’t currently hiring.
  • Pay attention to ad wording. The wording of your ads can make all the difference in getting an internet user to click through to your landing page! Use short, eye-catching sentences and wording that encourages users to act with urgency. Don’t worry about getting your ad copy perfect the first time, though. One of the great things about Google Ads is that it will automatically rotate the headlines and descriptions within each ad that you create, giving you the chance to see which performs best. This means you can continually refine the wording of each ad over time, experimenting with what does and does not work with your audience.
  • Optimize your landing pages. Your ads can’t do your nonprofit much good if the landing pages linked to them aren’t ready to receive visitors. Make sure your pages are up to par by including the ad keywords in the page copy, an image, and a contact form to capture information. You can go the extra mile by incorporating multimedia into the page (such as a video or photo slideshow), adding social sharing buttons, and including testimonials or case studies that show how your work has impacted people.
  • Leverage targeting and ad extensions. Targeting allows your organization to narrow its ads even further to more easily connect with your target audience. You can target your ads by location, day of the week, and even device type to ensure you’re reaching the right people in the right places. You can also tap into ad extensions, which add different elements to your ads like sitelinks (mini-ads that link to additional pages on your website), images, your address and phone number, prices of services, or callout extensions (which allow you to include extra details, like stats about your organization’s impact). Google requires you to use at least two sitelink ad extensions in each ad, so make sure you familiarize yourself with them!
  • Track performance. To get the full picture of how effective your Google Ads are, actively track your performance metrics. For example, you’ll want to track your ads’ click-through rate (CTR) to see how many people are drawn in by your ads enough to click on them. You’ll also want to track conversion information on your landing pages. This will tell you how many people completed the desired action after clicking on your ad, whether that’s joining your mailing list, donating, signing up to volunteer, or something else. Additionally, you can look at cost per conversion, examining how much your nonprofit spent to bid on individual keywords and the conversion results that keyword got you. This can inform how you bid for keywords in the future.

As you adopt these seven strategies into your approach for managing your Google Ad Grant account, you’ll see more success with your ads and get closer to reaching your goals!

Your Key to Success: Working With a Google Ad Grant Expert

As you can imagine, managing your Google Ads can quickly become difficult to handle all on your own. To get the most out of the program, you may want to work with a Google Ad Grant expert.

Someone with extensive experience in Google Ads can help you fully utilize your $10,000 monthly budget, stay compliant with the program requirements, and create ads that catch internet users’ attention. Plus, they’ll stay up-to-date on the latest trends in Google Ads and adjust your strategy according to current best practices.

If you think working with a Google Ad Grant expert or agency is the right move for your nonprofit, follow these steps to hire the right fit:

This image describes the process of hiring a Google Ad Grants expert to help with Google Ad Grant management.

  • Determine your budget and needs. Start your search by deciding how much you’d like to invest in Google Ad Grant management services. Also, define what you need from an Ad Grant expert. For instance, you may need someone to help you with applying for and getting started with the Grant, or you may just need someone to jump right into helping you with account maintenance.
  • Consider your options. Get recommendations from trusted nonprofit colleagues or start with a simple Google search to find potential agencies to partner with. Narrow down your list of potential partners by considering each agency’s services, pricing model, and reviews.
  • Book consultations. Once you’ve made your shortlist of potential experts to work with, reach out to get a consultation. This is your chance to ask the agency questions, explain your goals, and gauge how well you would work together.
  • Hire your expert! After your consultations, you’ll have all the information that you need to choose a partner. Sign a contract and get to work!

As you consider which experts your nonprofit would benefit from working with the most, remember that you’ll want someone who is knowledgeable about Google Ads and is confident in their ability to help your organization maximize its ROI. You should also pay attention to each expert’s communication style—you want to be sure you’re working with someone who will be ready and willing to answer your questions and adjust their strategy according to your nonprofit’s needs.

5 Top Google Ad Grant Agencies

To help you kickstart your search for your Google Ad Grant management partner, we’ve compiled a list of some of the top Google Ad Grant agencies:

1. Cornershop Creative

This is a screenshot of the Cornershop Creative website.

At Cornershop Creative, we specialize in nonprofit web design and help organizations like yours make the most of the web.

We have an entire team of Google Ads experts who can assist you with applying for the Google Ad Grant and creating ads that help move your mission forward. In addition to account setup and ad creation, we can maintain your account according to Google’s requirements, apply best practices to each of your campaigns, and ensure that your whole Google Ads strategy aligns with your nonprofit’s larger goals.

Plus, because we’re also experts in web design, development, and maintenance, we can ensure that your website and individual landing pages are fully prepared to welcome visitors and encourage them to take action for your cause.

With a Google Ad Grants strategy that integrates other forms of web marketing, we can get your nonprofit real and lasting results. Take a look at one of our clients, Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley (HFHEBSV):This is a screenshot of the HFHEBSV website, which Cornershop Creative supports with Google Ad Grant management services.

 

Our retainer with HFHEBSV is focused on helping the organization achieve its marketing and growth goals by making the most of the Google Ad Grant. Each month we meet to set goals and priorities for HFHEBSV’s Ads account and then work to achieve those goals by building new ad groups, optimizing ad content and landing pages, researching high-value keywords, and more.

Since working with us, HFHEBSV has seen its web conversions grow from the 300s to more than 500 each month, resulting in a 17% increase in the most important actions on its website!


2. Getting Attention

This is a screenshot of Getting Attention.

Getting Attention is a Google Ad Grant agency that aims to help nonprofits get attention on the web. This agency works to bring experienced former Google employees to its team. They can help your nonprofit with:

  • The Google Ad Grant application process
  • Ad account hygiene
  • Google Grant reactivation (for lapsed or suspended accounts)
  • Keyword research

To learn more about working with Getting Attention, visit their website to book a free consultation.

3. Nonprofit Megaphone

This is a screenshot of Nonprofit Megaphone.

Nonprofit Megaphone is dedicated to helping as many nonprofits as possible tap into the power of the Google Ad Grant. This agency can not only help you leverage the Google Ad Grant but also specializes in managing the Microsoft Ads for Social Impact Grant to help nonprofits level up their reach. Nonprofit Megaphone offers the following core services:

  • Google and Microsoft Ad Grant acquisition
  • Account reactivation
  • Campaign creation (including keyword selection, ad copywriting, and ad testing)
  • Live dashboard reporting to monitor progress

Visit Nonprofit Megaphone’s website to connect with their team and learn more about their approach to Ad Grant management.

4. Whole Whale

This is a screenshot of Whole Whale.

Whole Whale is a digital agency that uses data and tech to boost social impact organizations’ impact. Whole Whale takes a holistic approach to its client work, offering not only Google Ad Grant management services but also SEO and content marketing, web analytics, conversion optimization, A/B testing, and more.

In terms of Ad Grant management, the Whole Whale team can help you with everything from keyword optimization to fully leveraging your grant budget to get the most mileage possible. The agency also stands out for its online Google Ad Grant course, which empowers nonprofits to take a DIY approach to managing the grant.

Interested in learning more about Whole Whale? Check out their website to get in touch.

5. uluad

This is a screenshot of uluad.

uluad is a search engine marketing agency that specializes in all things Google Ads. In addition to helping nonprofits qualify for and manage the Google Ad Grant, uluad can help your organization manage its own branded YouTube channel through the YouTube Nonprofit Program, which is part of Google’s larger push to serve nonprofits.

If your nonprofit has an interest in leveraging both written search ads and a YouTube account to get its message out to the world, uluad may be a great partner for you. Contact them for an initial consultation through their website.


Applying for the Google Ad Grant is one thing, but managing your Google Ad Grant account and creating ads that get results is another challenge entirely. In this guide, we’ve covered some ways that your nonprofit can better manage its Google Ad Grant. Remember, one of the best things you can do to ensure you get results from the grant is to work with an expert on your ads. Though partnering with the right agency will require an investment upfront, it will pay off as you see more visitors landing on your website and taking action for your cause.

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By

Self-described as a “non-profit junkie,” Sarah has dedicated her career to serving the needs of the non-profit sector. Her project management experience spans a variety of non-profit management disciplines including strategic planning, community engagement, capacity building, fundraising and research. She has worked both in and for the non-profit sector at the Feminist Majority Foundation, the Sadie Nash Leadership Project, and the consulting firms The Lee Institute and The Curtis Group. With her ever expanding non-profit tool belt, Sarah joined Cornershop Creative to tap into her techie, creative side, while developing meaningful partnerships with her clients to help them more effectively achieve their goals. Along with her extensive training in facilitation, Sarah is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati DAAP School where she received a dual bachelors degree in Women’s and Urban Studies, as well as Wake Forest University School of Business’s Nonprofit Management Certification Program. Passionate about civic engagement, Sarah is currently a member of the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center’s Aquarium Connection and the Junior League of Norfolk-Virginia Beach. Sarah and her husband, Bryce, live in Norfolk, VA on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay where she moonlights as a mermaid and raises their daughter, Indigo, and menagerie of animals: their dogs, Daisy and Mokona, and cat, Nestle.