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A Guide to Google Ads Grants


Philipp Enders

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If you've never heard of it, the Google Ads Grants program is amazing.

Google offers nonprofits $10,000 (€8460 at the time of writing) to spend on Google ads each month. The opportunities to reach more people, recruit more volunteers, and have more impact are tremendous!

I can hear your thoughts from here…there has to be a catch, right? Now, of course, you have to qualify as eligible, and Google does specify how you can use your grant, but no, there’s not much of a catch.

Where's my free money!

First, you must apply to Google Ad Grants, with specific requirements depending on your location. We assume that this is the case in Germany:

  • Organizations must have a current registration with, TechSoup Global’s regional representative.
  • Organizations must be (1) corporations with tax advantages, (2) nonprofit associations without economic profit objectives, or (3) charitable foundations without economic profit objectives.

You are not eligible if:

  • you are a public authority or government institution
  • You are a hospital or health care organizations (not-for-profit branches of health care organizations and foundations affiliated with the latter are excluded)
  • you are a school, educational institution or university (charitable branches of educational institutions excluded)

Getting officially recognized as a nonprofit by Google can be a bit of a hassle, as there are a few hurdles to overcome. However, it is worth it.

Reaping the fruits

Before you get started right away, it’s important to say that managing a Google Ads Grant PPC account is significantly different from managing a regular PPC account. Since Google gives you free ad spend, they are pretty picky about how and where you use it.

The monthly budget of $10,000 applies only to (or and cannot be used for any of Google’s search partners. You may also place text ads only, which excludes you from using the Display Network.

You cannot bid on search terms with a Cost-Per-Click (CPC) over $2, and you cannot bid on one-word search terms, even if it is your brand name. Google will closely monitor your account to ensure that you are only bidding on keywords that are also highly relevant to your charity.

With all these restrictions and rules, sometimes it can actually be harder to spend the $10,000 than not. This is a problem because if you don’t use the monthly budget, Google will eventually take it away from you.

Keep Google on your side

Fortunately, we’ve known Google long enough and managed enough Google Ads Grant accounts to know how to make them sing.

Since you are not spending your own money, you should be less worried about Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), so you don’t have to enter as many negative keywords. It is better that your ads appear and contribute to your monthly Google Ads grant budget. However, don’t forget negative keywords altogether, as you also need to keep your click through rate (CTR) above 3% to continue to qualify for impressions.

The $2 CPC restriction means that you will have to be a bit creative when choosing keywords to bid on. You will have a hard time competing with keywords that are closer to $5 or $6 per click. This is where experience comes into play. We turn to long-tail keywords to find relevant traffic. These typically have much lower CPCs and therefore have far fewer competitors.

Despite all the complicated rules and regulations, we love Google Ads Grants. We think it has huge potential for good. $10,000 per month could make such a big difference for thousands of organizations, especially if they are struggling to reach the right audience, deliver the right message, or simply raise more funds.

Need help managing your Google Ad Grant account? Let’s have a conversation today.

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