Google Ad Grants, free advertising for NGOs

Antoni Saurina

Written by Antoni Saurina

Surely if you are part of an NGO this article is very interesting for you. The Google Ad Grants program provides nonprofit organizations with the ability to obtain a Google AdWords account with up to $10,000 USD per month to use for running ads. With this amount in the form of advertising, NGOs can promote donations or advertise events or campaigns they organize.

Google Ad Grants provides NGOs with a Google AdWords account with a maximum of $10,000 USD.

Ad Grants for non-profit organizations

Which organizations can apply for Google Ad Grants and how to do it

First check that the program is available in your country. These countries can be consulted through the following link.

In the case of Spain, the program is available. The following are the requirements to be met by the organization as such:

  • They must be registered at the time of application with Ilunion Consulting, the regional division of TechSoup Global.
  • They must be classified in one of the categories listed below:
    • Organizations that have been granted a declaration of public utility by the Ministry of the Interior
    • Organizations with one of the following legal forms:
      • Non-profit entities, as defined by law no. 49/2002
      • Foundations, as defined by law no. 50/2002
      • Cooperatives, as defined in law no. 27/1999, which carry out non-profit activities for the public benefit

The only requirements for the organization are to be a legally recognized NGO and to be registered with Ilunion.

In addition, a request for participation must be sent to Google for Non-Profit OrganizationsThe company must be aware of and accept the certifications required by Google with respect to non-discrimination, as well as the receipt and use of donations and have a functioning website with a significant amount of content.

Google for Non-Profit Organizations

It should be noted that government organizations and entities, hospitals and medical groups, educational centers, day care centers, academic institutions and universities are not eligible to participate in the program.

Once the request is made, it will be reviewed in about 30 days at the latest and the Google team will report on the outcome.

Google AdWords account for Ad Grants

Now we can create the AdWords account, for which we must consider certain important details to avoid any problems when the application is accepted.

Among them are:

  • Choose USD as currency
  • Do not set up any form of payment
  • Create a search campaign

It may be complicated not to configure the payment method, since by default the platform forces us to include it before creating a campaign. To do so, click on the “Skip configuration instructions” link that can be found on the first configuration screen. In this way, the platform will only request essential data without requiring billing data.

AdWords account setup without billing

You can find more information in the following official link.

Once the account is approved, we will define the campaigns. To do this we must take into account that we will only be able to use keyword oriented search campaigns, this means that we will not be able to use the Display Network, nor the Video Network and that the only ads available will be text ads. This limitation has a very simple explanation, and it is that Google uses only their system, which allows them to offer this type of accounts with a cost for them almost free of charge.

Campaigns may only be keyword targeted search campaigns.

In addition, the cost per keyword click is limited to $2 USD. As far as the daily budget is concerned, with US$10,000 available, it is limited to US$329 per day.

Example of Google AdWords ads

Maintenance in the program

Once we have the campaigns running, Google forces us to meet certain requirements to continue with the program. The idea is that the account is not left unattended, that the account is managed efficiently and that the support is not used for purposes other than those intended for the program.

For this purpose, the following requirements are defined:

  • The ads must point only to the approved domain, and not to others.
  • The account must be managed frequently, logging in at least once a month and making a change every 90 days.
  • Campaigns should contain ads and words that match the content, products or services offered by the organization.
  • Advertising cannot be used for commercial purposes, which means that income must be reinvested directly in the organization.
  • The content of the web pages to which the advertisements link cannot contain links to other websites.
  • You may not advertise financial products such as mortgages, loans or credit cards, or solicit donations of cars, boats or other real estate.
  • The website cannot have Adsense or other affiliate program ads.

Organizations that are included in the Google Ad Grants program may be audited at any time to verify their compliance with the above requirements. Failure to comply with them may result in the cancellation of the advertising account by Google. Therefore, it is of vital importance to be aware of the policies indicated so as not to violate them and not to have problems in the future.

Google can check at any time whether the specified requirements are met and if not, cancel the program.

In most cases, the strategy of NGOs in advertising campaigns is based on attracting donations. Keep in mind that these types of keywords are highly competitive, so the results may not be entirely satisfactory. Therefore, we can diversify the strategy and try to enhance other aspects of the organization.

Branding is very important and with campaigns we can publicize the organization to make it known and improve its image. This will make more people aware of the NGO and will make it easier to obtain donations and other benefits.

Volunteers are one of the pillars of NGOs. Thanks to their work, they can more easily carry out their social actions. Recruiting volunteers through campaigns is a way to diversify advertising and make a profit with them.

These are just some of the advantages that can be obtained with the campaigns. Depending on the characteristics of the NGO, other customized strategies can be proposed to help the organization achieve its social objectives.


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Antoni Saurina
Antoni Saurina
Former Head of the Online Advertising Department at Human Level. Graduated in Technical Engineering in Computer Management. Specialist in web development and PPC/SEM with certification in Google AdWords and Bing Ads.

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