Google Ad Grants have to be one of the easier grants to qualify for. It’s especially easy for a grant that pays out $120,000/year in ad credits, indefinitely.
However, that doesn’t mean that it’s a breeze either. In order to qualify, you have to first meet website eligibility, be a specific kind of non-profit, and stay in compliance with their standards.
1. Be A 501(c)3 or equivalent in your country, with exceptions
First off, you have to be a non-profit and have official status in your country. In the United States, you must be a registered 501(c)3 with the IRS. Other countries have different non-profit distinctions. You can check those on Google’s eligibility page.
However, not all organizations that fit the distinction qualify. There are exceptions for each category, though.
- You can’t provide medical services. So if you’re a hospital or a clinic of some sort, then you don’t qualify. If you’re doing research or awareness campaigns, then you still do. Charitable arms or foundations associated with healthcare organizations are eligible. The rules are a little ambiguous here, so if you’re not sure, it’s often worth applying anyway, because it’s not that bad of a process.
- Government organizations don’t qualify.
- Schools don’t qualify. Your organization can offer classes but that can’t be their primary function. Philanthropic arms of schools, like sports booster programs, qualify though. Once again, pretty ambiguous.
- Religious organizations qualify, however, they need to be certified with their country. For instance, in the US, churches aren’t required to incorporate to be recognized as a 501(c)3 but have the option to do it officially with the IRS. To qualify for Google Ad Grants, you must-have status with the IRS.
2. Meet Website Eligibility
There are some website eligibility requirements for Google Ad Grants.
- Own your website. This means no free Wix, free Squarespace, yourname.wordpress.com, or anything like that. It must be a defined site, like unitedway.org.
- It must be a decent website. Nothing too fancy, but it has to clearly define your mission, and provide a good experience for people to learn everything they would need to know about your non-profit. Preferably, it will already have pages that work well for ads, like a donation page or a page that describes the services you offer with an easy way to contact them about it. Ultimately, this is so your ads actually perform.
- Your site must have HTTPS encryption.
- Your site must have unique content. No plagiarism.
- Limited commercial activity. All services offered must tie in with your mission and describe how you use the funds from the sale of services and/or products to support it.
- Any site that resembles a for-profit business won’t qualify, or eventually, have their ad grant revoked.
- You have to serve the public and have very limited gatekeeping.
- There must be limited ads on your site. Any ads on the site must tie directly into your mission, and they must not be Google AdSense ads.
3. Remain in compliance
In order to keep the grant, you must maintain your account. Google offers a full list of requirements, as well as instructions for how to stay in compliance, on its site. Some of the Ad Grant requirements include:
- Making a change to the account every 2 months.
- In Google Analytics, you have to set up at least one goal to measure the impact of Adwords traffic to your site. You must also set up at least one conversion event.
- You can only send traffic to the site you applied with.
- Keep the overall clickthrough rate (CTR) of the account at 5% and the quality score at 2 or higher.
- No single-word keywords are allowed unless it’s the name of your organization. We recommend running an ad for your organization’s name since clickthrough rates (CTR) will be high if they’re looking specifically for you. This will help keep you above a 5% CTR.
- Don’t use overly generic keywords, like TV, e-books, charity, etc. This is meant for targeted advocacy.
- Complete any surveys that Google sends you. These are semi-annual surveys and are not that bad.
Keep in mind that just because you get $10,000/month, does not mean that you are immediately able to spend $10,000/month. Google charges based on interaction and if nobody is interacting then there is nothing to charge. Therefore, you have to set up enough ad campaigns and target enough keywords in order to hit that spending threshold. We can help you with that.