4 Things Nonprofits Need to Know About the Google Grant

Many nonprofits are intimidated by the process of getting and maintaining the Google Ad Grant, which provides $10,000 of Google Ad money to the benefit of your nonprofit organization. However, acquiring the Grant is simple enough, and to maintain the grant, your organization must only meet Google’s basic requirements. However, to make the most of the grant, you’ll need some more information. 

As an agency that specializes in the Google Ad Grant and its management, Nonprofit Megaphone has expertise useful for any nonprofit. Our clients are diverse, representing all kinds of missions from across the country. 

Based on our wide range of experience, we’ve identified the top ways in which any nonprofit can use the Google Ad Grant successfully. Whether you’re an animal advocacy organization or a food bank, consider using the Ad Grant to expand your reach and build your organization for future success. Keep the following tips about the Grant: 

  1. Keyword Research Is Essential
  2. Clicks Are The Main Goal
  3. It Requires Maintenance
  4. Suspension Is Possible, But Reversible

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about the Grant! Let’s dive in. 

Keyword Research Is Essential 

Much of the Google Ads infrastructure is governed by keywords. Ads will only appear if they’re attached to relevant keywords that people are searching for. Therefore, one of the most important aspects of Google Grant management is keyword research.

The first thing you’ll need in order to do keyword research are the right tools. Since so many organizations are working in digital space, there are now a plethora of free and paid tools you can use. At Nonprofit Megaphone, we often use sites like Spyfu and Moz to determine what people are searching for and how. In addition, sites like Answer The Public help spur your creativity and inform how keywords fit within various search queries.

As you’ll learn once you begin your Grant management, not all keywords are equal. Some will perform much better than others. Part of Grant management is modifying your ads so that only the successful keywords are used. Too many impotent keywords will drag down your statistics and threaten your compliance. Keep track of your data and analytics in order to stay compliant.

Finally, when you’ve found keywords that work well, it’s important to integrate those keywords into the ads and the ad copy. This ensures that both the searcher and Google know that the ad is relevant to the search.

Clicks Are The Main Goal

By running ads on Google, your organization will be able to reach a whole new audience. However, this won’t translate into anything meaningful if that audience doesn’t engage with your organization in any way. Therefore, one of your early goals with the Google Ad Grant is to generate clicks. Clicks are a basic metric that demonstrate whether your advertisements are successfully drawing people to your website. Further, clicks are integral to ensuring that you are compliant with the Google Ad Grant standards.

Google requires that all accounts maintain at least a 5% Click Through Rate (CTR). CTR is a metric calculated by the number of clicks divided by the number of times the ad appears. So, if your ad appears 100 times on searches, you’ll need at least 5 people to click on the ad in order to remain compliant. Doing this is one of the keys to proper grant management. In general, a good CTR is maintained by managing your keywords and ensuring that they are relevant to the queries that users are making in Google.

It Requires Maintenance 

One of the reasons why many nonprofits choose to outsource their Google Ad Grant management to an outside agency is because of the maintenance. Maintaining Google’s minimum standards isn’t complicated, but it does require that one person or team diligently manage and keep track of the organization’s Google Ads account. Regular maintenance is required to stay compliant, but also to achieve the goals you want with the Ad Grant. 

There are few strategies that don’t require at least some maintenance, and any organization will benefit from responding to the data in their Google Ads account. Whether you’re simply trying to stay compliant or achieve ambitious goals, here are some essential facts about account maintenance:

  • Login Requirements. One of Google’s simplest compliance standards is the login requirement. Google requires that you log into your account at least once a month. This is done to ensure that your organization is using the Google Ad Grant in a minimally-effective way. After all, if your account is dusty and floundering, Google may decide that their grant funds are better utilized with another organization. As such, ensure that whoever is in charge of your Google Grant management is taking some time once a month to log in and do some maintenance. 
  • Tracking. Tracking involves using the various data points within the Google Ads interface to make informed decisions. Using tools like Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, you can directly link aspects of your website to your Google Ads. The most important metric to track are conversions, which largely determine the success or failure of an ad. A conversion is an important action that a user takes on your website. As long as it’s not trivial, you’re free to make a conversion out of nearly anything on your website. Most often, highly sought after conversions include donations, newsletter sign-ups, and video plays. With conversion tracking, you can regularly see which ads are performing well and which need to be modified.
  • Tweaking. Tweaking is a general term that describes the process of responding to the data you’ve collected and making changes in order to improve the performance of your Google Ads account. Regular tweaking involves things like removing or pausing low-quality keywords. This ensures that your keywords are always relevant to your ads. Further, too many low-quality keywords will affect your CTR and your overall compliance. Tweaking also involves making changes to improve your ads, swapping out words, trying new things, and evaluating trends.
  • A/B Testing. Related to tweaking is the concept of A/B testing. This approach gives you a proven way to evaluate whether your ads are working or not. A/B testing is the process of creating two similar ads for the same page and keywords and evaluating their performance. If one clearly outperforms the other, then you’ve learned valuable information about that ad. You can then tweak the underperforming counterpart and see if it performs better over time. This aspect of maintenance requires diligence and attention to detail, but is part of what sets expert managers apart from amateurs.

Suspension Is Possible, But Reversible 

While employing these tips will help your organization avoid having its Grant suspended, it still may happen to you. Many organizations don’t have the time or resources to commit to the Google Ad Grant which can lead to a temporary or long-term suspension. Whether it’s a slight lapse or a revival, suspension is reversible and easier than applying in the first place.

Reversing suspension first involves identifying which policies were violated. Perhaps your CTR was too low. In that case, you’ll need to go back into your account and do some maintenance. Once you think the problem has been addressed, you’re free to petition Google for reinstatement. Just make sure you learn from your mistakes and integrate your knowledge into your new maintenance routine!

Getting the Google Ad Grant is a fantastic opportunity for any nonprofit organization that wants to jumpstart their digital marketing efforts. While acquiring it can be a time-consuming process, it’s important to remember to utilize it effectively. Maintaining compliance is easy enough with routine maintenance, and even a monthly management plan can help you achieve some of your organization’s goals.

Consider all of the effort your nonprofit puts into its web presence. Having a top-notch website is important and will help nearly anything you do online. But having great web content doesn’t reap any benefits if no one sees it. Using the Google Ad Grant is a great way to affordably share your organization with a wider audience.

Beyond pure exposure, resourceful organizations can use the Ad Grant to jumpstart their programs. Whether you want to drive donations, get volunteers, or increase attendance at your event, the Google Ad Grant has a part to play in reaching your goals successfully.

About the author: Grant Hensel

Grant Hensel is the CEO of Nonprofit Megaphone, an agency focused 100% on Google Grant Management for nonprofits. NPM is honored to manage the Google Grant for 370+ leading nonprofits worldwide and to be an inaugural member of the Google Ad Grant Certified Professionals community.

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Strategic Partnerships for Your Nonprofit

Many hands make light work! We’ve all heard the saying before, but have you ever thought about applying that philosophy within your organization? Volunteer program – check – right idea. Now what other areas of your organization can be better supported and strengthened with that philosophy in mind?

Take a look around you. Specifically, take a look around your community. What are other businesses or organizations that are positioned with complementary missions, teams, or resources?

If your organization is seeking a partnership, chances are that your organization is not the only one! Even if it is, partnerships are usually formed to be win-win for everyone involved, meaning that people within your community will likely be happy to discuss your proposition.

Where should I start?

Already have ideas bubbling for a no-brainer partnership? Well good news, that’s exactly where you start! Outline a partnership proposal and get crystal clear on the benefits that both your organization and theirs would receive. Come up with “the pitch” so to speak.

Then, schedule a chat with the person you’d likely be collaborating with in the partner organization. Next steps will likely reveal themselves by the end of that initial call. Rinse and repeat for any other partners you have in mind.

For most, however, first steps might require a bit of reflection and brainstorming. You’ll need to asses where your organization shines and where it need extra support. This will reveal what benefits you could offer in a partnership and what you’ll need extra support with from partners.

To identify your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, pull out the good old SWOT Analysis rubric! If your organization has already conducted a SWOT Analysis, ask for a copy. Otherwise, draft up a quick one yourself. Take your time, but there’s no need to spend more than 30 minutes on this speed draft.

When you’re done, compare your strengths and opportunities to your weaknesses and threats. Your strengths and opportunities will shed light on what you have to offer in a partnership, and your weaknesses and threats will suggest who to seek out in a partnership. Leverage their strengths to support your weaknesses.

Volunteer Programs

Would you consider your volunteer program well established, or does it need some help getting off the ground? If there is another organization that is known for their growing, highly engaged volunteer base, consider reaching out to their volunteer coordinator to explore a volunteer exchange initiative, where volunteers are somehow introduced to the other organization’s volunteer program, fostering more volunteer interest for both organizations. (Check out what Stoneleigh Natural Garden did!)

For example, you might organize a joint event between your organizations. When large gatherings are safe and permitted once again, a collaborative volunteer appreciation event could be a great idea for a handful of partner organizations. Volunteers would feel the love while also becoming more familiar with other volunteer programs (and fellow volunteers!) across the community. (Relevant: “How to Move Your Volunteer Appreciation Week Event Online“)

Most organization’s volunteer programs also come with volunteer coordinators, volunteer program supplies, volunteer management software, and more. Discover which resources could be shared between/among organizations, then bask in the efficiency of many hands making light work.

Services & Programming

Most likely, your organization has some kind of service or programming offered. Once you’ve mentally identified those services, think about other nonprofit and for-profit businesses that offer services complementary to the ones your organization offers. This is where the opportunity lies to collaborate.

Your respective programs could continue running independently, if that works best for all parties. In which case, you’d collaborate with marketing and raising awareness of said programs. This usually becomes what’s known as a “referral program“. Similarly, you can also tout each other’s services as an “expansion” of the services your organization already provides. Both organizations gain a stronger presence in the community as a result.

If there is more in common than not between the respective programs, consider weaving them together in a few small ways that make sense. This will help to reduce spending on resources and scale the impact of the program. Celebrate that saved spending!


Each organization is equipped with its own incredible resources. In some cases, resources are material goods: vehicles, food, gardens, space, etc. Other times, an organization’s best resource is its personnel: the well-connected founder, the savvy lawyer, or the wizardly grant-writer.

As part of your SWOT analysis, examine these resources. Are there any you could exchange? Are there any you could share? Sometimes an act of true goodwill goes even farther than a proposed partnership. So if your organization’s van is unused on weekends, consider sharing it with another organization that is active on weekends.

Brand Recognition & Credibility

This is less of a tangible tip and more of a rule of thumb. The more your name appears (in a positive light) across the community, the more it will be perceived as established and reputable. Community engagement starts at the front door of your organization, but it certainly doesn’t stop there! 🙂

Recruiting many hands to make light work starts with one hand reaching out in partnership. Get your plans ready, then take action! You’re sure to save money, better utilize resources, and raise organizational awareness across your community.

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5 Free Webinar Series Nonprofit Teams Won’t Want to Miss

It is fair to say that, back in January, no one expected the world would come to such a grinding halt in a matter of months. Yet, here we all are, doing our best to stay safe amidst COVID-19 and make the most of our circumstances. While many city blocks are quieter than usual, our virtual lives seem to be bubbling. Teams are embracing the tools that keep us connected from a distance, and as I’m sure you’ve heard time and time again, there’s a brand new webinar just about everywhere you look.

To make “looking” for webinars a bit more organized, we’ve compiled a list of 5 organizations that are hosting a whole series of webinars over the next few months – specifically for the nonprofit sector.

Without further ado, I present 5 free webinar series that your nonprofit teams can benefit from this summer. (Or winter, depending on your hemisphere!) Browse through these sources and load up your calendars.

Nonprofit Hub

Check out their webinar series here.

About Nonprofit Hub: The name says it all! This online community serves as a hub for all things nonprofits need to establish and grow their nonprofits. Resources vary from guides, blogs, e-courses, and (drum roll) webinars.

Upcoming webinars we’re excited about:

Navigating Your Nonprofit’s Challenges through Emotional Intelligence. Led by Stephanie Cory on Jul 15, 2:00 PM CDT

Virtual Donor Engagement During the Pandemic and Beyond. Led by Caliopy Glaros on August 19, 2:00 PM CDT

Nonprofit Learning Lab

Check out their webinar series here.

About Nonprofit Learning Lab: In case you were hungry for more resources, Nonprofit Learning Lab has your back! Although many of these resources are member-only, others are completely free, from guidebooks to activity sheets, and a plethora of nonprofit resources for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Upcoming webinars we’re excited about:

Equity vs. Equality. Led by Richard Leong on July 20, 1:00 PM CDT.

How Far Are You Willing to Go? Moving from Diversity & Inclusion to Anti-Oppression. Led by Richard Leong on August 17, 12:00 PM CDT.


Check out their webinar series here.

About TechSoup: This company introduces nonprofits to the technologies they can utilize to thrive in any climate (even a pandemic). TechSoup aims to empower impact. For members, a number of technology discounts are available. Furthermore, many of their free, public resources (including webinars and trainings) are pre-recorded, and therefore, available whenever you are!

Webinars we’re tuning into:

Crowdfunding in Our Climate: A Digital Fundraising Plan of Action. Led by Moshe Hecht.

Getting Started with Google Ad Grants for Nonprofits. Led by Rachel Clemens.

Network for Good

Check out their webinar series here.

About Network for Good: A hybrid nonprofit and B Corporation, Network for Good “powers more digital giving than any other platform”. For nonprofits, donors, and companies interested in giving, this platform points you in the right direction. Much like TechSoup, their webinars are available anytime after they have been recorded. Dig into their archives and stay tuned for new webinar releases!

Webinars we’re tuning into:

Staying Afloat: PPP Loan Forgiveness, Accounting, Tracking and Reporting For Nonprofits. Led by Network for Good.

The Burning Question: How Do I Find More Donors? Led by Kimberly O’Donnell.

IFEA (International Festivals & Events Association)

Check out their webinar series here.

About IFEA: A global nonprofit organization, IFEA serves to support festivals and events with the programming, resources, and guidance needed to be successful. Nearly every week through October 1st, the IFEA webinar series is hosting webinars on a variety of topics pertinent to event, festival, and nonprofit work. Although these webinars are not free, they are well worth the ticket price. If you are interested in a pair of free tickets for your team, please contact us at hello@volunteerlocal.com – we’ll make sure you’re taken care of!

Upcoming webinars we’re excited about:

The Winds of Change: Creatively Redefining Volunteer Programs in the Time of COVID-19. Led by VolunteerLocal’s very own VolunteerLocal President, Kaylee Williams, on September 10, at 12:00 PM CDT.

Cancelling Events Does Not Mean Cancelling Relationships. Led by Bruce Erley, on July 16, at 12:00 PM CDT.

Which webinars are catching your eye these days? Have you made weekly webinars a tradition yet? We hope you’re doing well during these unsettling times. While it lasts, make sure to soak up the abundance of industry resources!

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