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What is the Google Ad Grant?

The Google Ad Grant (commonly known as Google Grants) is a $10,000 monthly in-kind advertising spend for Google AdWords that Google gives to registered charities and nonprofits.

That means charities registered with the scheme can advertise on the Google search results page for free. That in turn generates traffic to the charity’s website.

Who uses it?

Thousands of charities all over the world use the Google Ad Grant.

If you Google anything charity-related, you’ll see some ads at the top that were probably created by charities using their Google Ad Grants accounts.

You can always tell it’s an ad by the little green ‘Ad’ box on the left of the URL:

Google search - "Donate to a charity"

In larger charities, Google Ad Grants usually run by the digital team who create campaigns for fundraising and campaigning teams.

In smaller charities, it’s often run by the one person who has the willingness or the time to create the campaigns!

How does it benefit us?

Charities can use Google Grants to attract traffic to their website. That can lead to:

  • Service users – people who need information about the cause
  • Donors – people interested in donating to that charity
  • Volunteers – people who want to volunteer to help that charity

How does it work?

Let’s take the example of The Bike Project (we run their Google Ad Grants account for them).

Imagine you want to buy a second hand bike online. The first thing you might do is Google ‘buy used bikes London’.

Google search - "used bikes London"

You might then see ad from The Bike Project created in Google Grants, like the one above in the red box.

And because the ad is right at the top, you are more likely to click on it than if it was further down.

You click on the ad, and you buy one of the their used bikes.

The Bike Project then generates income from that sale, which they can use to fund more work with refugees in London.

Google Grants helps this charity raise money and deliver their service online. So it’s a hugely valuable process.

How can I sign up?

By filling in a bunch of forms online! A bit of a boring process, but so very worth it.

There are four main steps:

  1. Check you are eligible
  2. Get a validation token from TT-exchange
  3. Complete the Google for Nonprofits application form online
  4. Set up your Google Ad Grants account

1. Check you are eligible

To get a Google Ad Grant account, you have to be a registered charity.

Here’s the full list of eligibility criteria.

2. Get a validation token from TT-exchange

Then you’ll need a validation token from TT-exchange. This is just a code that proves you’re a real charity.

Just head to the TT-exchange website and follow the steps from there.

Tech Soup screenshot

3. Complete the Google for Nonprofits application form online

Next, sign up for Google for Non-Profits.

That’s the scheme that gives you access to Google Ad Grants (among other things, like YouTube for Non-profits and G-suite for Nonprofits).

One of the first things they ask for is your validation token from TT-exchange, so make sure you get that first.

4. Set up your Google Ad Grants account

You’ll then be emailed a series of instructions on how to set up a Google AdWords account.

The two main things they’ll tell you to do are:

Set the currency to dollars
Even if you’re in the UK, your Google Ad Grants account needs to have the currency set to dollars.

Slightly confusing, but if you set it to pounds or any other currency, you might have to start the process from scratch!

Not enter billing information
Even if your AdWords account prompts you to, don’t enter billing information.

If you do, you might end up being charged real money for your ads!

Once you’ve followed all the instructions and set up your account, you’re ready to start creating campaigns and appearing at the top of Google search results!

Next up: start using Google AdWords

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