Google Adwords offers qualifying nonprofits $10,000 a month to set up and manage an Adwords account. It currently works with over 35,000 organizations. Nonprofits depend on donations and volunteers. Adwords is a perfect way to raise funds for key projects and recruit community members to participate in events.


New Eligibility Requirements

An organization must have a current and valid charity status. In the US, this means the government has granted them a current 501(c) (3) status. They are also required to have a detailed and working website that specifies their organization’s mission. Some nonprofits are automatically ineligible for the grants: governmental organizations; hospitals and medical groups; and childcare centers, universities, or schools. The organization is also required to acquire Google Grant Certifications which details how donations from the grant must be used.

Requirements to Maintain an Active Adwords Nonprofit Account

Google wants nonprofits to achieve success from their grant and has requirements to continue eligibility. The website should reflect the mission of the organization and 100% of profits from products sold must be used to fund programs. You cannot offer financial products such as credit cards and keywords related to this will be banned. When you submit the application with your website’s url, you must maintain that link as the url throughout the campaign. Most importantly, an organization’s users must be active by logging into the account every month. If the organization fails to meet certain metrics, their campaign can be deactivated or paused.

5% Click Through Rate!

Clickthrough rate is a metric that shows how often people who view your ad usually click the ad. It measures the effectiveness of key words and how ads are performing. It is expressed as a ratio of the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions (aka views). For examples, if you had 10 clicks and 100 impressions, then you CTR would be 1 percent click through rate. Generally, CTR is a good way to understand if your ad is relevant and useful to users. Part of every organization’s aim is to appear on the first pages of google and CTR is one of the metrics to determine Ad Rank.

Nonprofits are now required to maintain a 5% click through rate which indicates that their campaign has keywords which are relevant to their mission. However, CTR can drastically vary depending on competition and the time of year. If your campaign doesn’t have 5% click through rate for two consecutive months, then your account will be deactivated. An organization can reactivate their campaign by fixing the issues such as ad copy, extensions, or account structure, but the process can be a mild pain.

Other Important Requirement to Follow

Location Targeting

Google wants nonprofits to reach the most prospects so it has developed other requirements to ensure a maximum CTR. Organizations must use location targeting so that only users near your physical location will see your ads. This makes sense. If you are hosting an event, then ad copy should target people nearby who have a higher likelihood of attending.

Active Ad Groups

In addition, an organization must have at least two active ad groups Ad groups have one or more ads that target similar keywords. Ad groups help to maintain organization of your campaign around common themes such as a type of service and help you to analyze which ads are leading to high CTR, conversions,  and ultimately engagement.

Sitelinke Extensions

A nonprofit’s website must also create at least two sitelink extensions. Sitelink extensions take viewers to different page of your website, such as services, donation pages, or sign up pages. They add more links to your ads. You can determine the usefulness of sitelink extensions by viewing how many clicks occur when they appear on your page.

Quality Keywords

There are also restrictions on keywords. An organization is not permitted to use single keywords or very broad keywords. Instead, google prefers that organizations stick to longtail keywords that encourage higher CTR. For instance, if you try to target ‘New York’ alone, you are likely to encounter high competition and therefore fewer clicks. Long tail keywords are phrases of three to four keywords that specifically indicate your products or services. More people search for long tail keywords than generic keywords and including better keywords has a higher chance of increasing your CTR and ad rank.

Quality Score

Nonprofits must also make sure that the keywords have a Quality Score of at least 2. Quality score is a factor in Ad rank. It measures quality of landing pages, keywords, and the overall ad. Higher quality scores happen when the ads are relevant to what users are searching. It can decrease the price you pay and generally increase CTR.

Maximize Conversions

A bid is the price you are willing to pay to compete with other sites for ad rank. Google used to have a bid cap of $2 which made it hard to stay on budget and perform well. Google has eliminated this cap, but now requires that nonprofits use maximize conversions. The maximize conversions setting allows google to automatically set your bids for the most conversions. It uses machine learning to analyze past date in real time.

Special Olympics: An Adwords Nonprofit Success Story

Special Olympics is an organization that provides sports training and athletic competitions for individuals with intellectual disabilities. In 2015, they hosted the World Games in Los Angeles which had 6,500 athletes from 165 countries with 25 different sports. The event required massive support, organizing 30,000 volunteers and 500,000 spectators. They also raised massive donations totaling tens of millions of dollars. Adwords significantly impacted the success of this event. Adwords brought 44% of new users to their website and generated half of new subscriber signups. In addition, Google Analytics allowed them to measure engagement with the website and alter features to enhance experience. They also used Youtube space to raise awareness with inspiring videos.

The Take Away

It may seem daunting to comply with all of adwords regulations, but the results can be astounding for your organization. Increased donations and higher engagement can drive success towards your mission. Applying is simple and you really have nothing to lose, but everything to gain. Follow the instructions on this page to give it a try.