How to Make the Most of Your Google Ad Grant

What is a Google Ad Grant?

Ad Grants are a gift-in-kind from Google. It’s not a joke. It’s not a hoax. It is $10,000 of free Google ad spend every month, and if you’re a nonprofit and hold current valid charity status in your country, it’s all yours! Every...single...month!

So, if you’re a charity without a Google Ad Grant, what are you thinking?!

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I’m not a Google representative. I’m not trying to sell you anything. I am a digital marketer, with a background specifically with charities, and I have seen the incredible benefits that having a Google Ad Grant can create for a charity.

Of course, I totally understand that not all charities have the resources to manage an Ad Grant; and they do require some considerable amounts of ongoing management; but if you can set up an account that really reflects the vision of the organisation and targets relevant audiences, the results can be astounding!

Throughout my career as a Digital Marketing enthusiast, I have worked with countless charities, both large and small. What I’ve found out, is the size of the organisation is not important; what matters is the drive for success and the determination to achieve visibility, both of which can be achieved with a little strategy, a decent structure and some clear organisational goals against which to measure success.

So, where to start.


Apply for a Google Ad Grant

Well, of course, you need to apply. And be warned, it’s not a pain-free, immediate process. Be prepared to be patient…

In order to apply, you need to register and validate your organisation with Techsoup, and get yourself a ‘validation token’.

Once you have been validated, you need to copy your code and sign yourself up with Google for Non-profits.

You’re not there yet...

I know all of this sounds a bit faffy, but it’s all part-and-parcel to getting your hands on your free ad spend, so it’s totally worth it! Keep going!

You need to then agree to Google’s statements about non-discrimination, insert your validation token and organisational information, then wait for an answer

Once approved, you’re finally ready to apply for the Google Ad Grant!

Remember, this is a free account, so you should never have to enter any credit or debit card details. There are, however, a number of criteria that you have to adhere to in order to set-up and maintain your account. The first is to set your currency to USD, regardless of what your national currency is. It is a requirement of the Grant.

Then set up a campaign.

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Think carefully about how best to structure your account; based on your organisation and what makes sense:

The account refers to your organisation. Name it accordingly.

Campaigns are big topic areas, for example “Branded”, “Events”, “Symptoms”, “Brexit” etc. Campaigns are not specific - they cover the broad topic area.

Ad Groups then break down those broad topic areas into individual, targeted groups within which you bring together your keyword groups, ensuring that your keywords are reflected in your ad copy and that your ad copy is relevant to your Ad Group and your landing page.


Remember, keywords are given quality scores by Google, based on their relevance. The higher your quality score, the less you tend to pay and the more likely you are to have your ad displayed.

This is why it’s so important to group your keywords together tightly and to make sure each ad in your ad group includes those keywords and points to a landing page that is relevant to them.


Google Ad Grant Best Practices

There are a number of best practices when it comes to writing ads. These include:

  • Writing ads in Title Case result in higher CTRs

  • Include ad extensions, to ideally include 4 sitelinks for each ad group (Google show up to 4 underneath the main ad in position 1 on a page, and if you can take up as much real-estate on that page with your ad and expanded sitelinks, you’re going to be pretty prominent!

  • Reiterate your keywords in your ad copy

  • Ensure the landing page that you are pointing to is highly relevant to the keywords and the ad copy

  • Be careful using pure broad match keywords. These can be too broad to stay targeted and so you may see your CTR and quality scores falling if you’re not careful. Instead, we recommend using broad match modifier, phrase and exact match keywords, as well as adding negative keywords where appropriate

  • Set up automated rules. One of my favourites is to pause keywords if they fall to a quality score of 2 or less, as these make your account non-compliant.


There are also some fairly new requirements that you must adhere to in order to maintain your Google Ad Grant account and stay compliant. Find out more about those on our Policies page.


Once the Ad Grant is up and running, don’t forget about it! You need to log in at least once every two months and make a change. We would recommend continually optimising the account. Our top tip on optimising the account is to add the AdWords Editor App. It’s so much easier to edit EVERYTHING within the app, and also reassuring because you are not making live changes. Unlike editing directly into Google Ads, in AdWords Editor you actually have to hit the “Post” button in order for your changes to go live, so they don’t go until you are absolutely ready!


Otherwise, optimise in a number of ways:

  • Check the search terms that are triggering your ads. Add search terms with good CTRs that are relevant, as new exact match keywords. Add negative keywords to exclude search terms that are not relevant

  • Monitor ad spend and set budgets and bids accordingly

  • Ideally, you will have at least three ads in each ad group. This is so you can begin to learn what works and what doesn’t. You’ll soon see which ads perform well. Remove the poorer performing ads, and recreate the better performing ads with slight variations


$10,000 a month equates to roughly $330/day. Don’t worry if you’re not spending the full amount. There is no minimum spend. Spend what you can, whilst ensuring you are targeting people relevant to your organisation.


We are not Google representatives here at Beyond Your Brand, but we do love the work that we do with charities. If you’re still not sure where to start and would just like some reassurance and a gentle nudge in the right direction, or if you would like more regular assistance, do get in touch. We love helping people who make a difference to the lives of others.

Good luck!