Every few months I come across something for marketers that I had absolutely no idea existed. This time, it’s the Google Grants program, an AdWords program for nonprofit organizations that falls into this category.
Whether you own a nonprofit or not, it’s interesting to see what Google has to offer and what others in your industry might be using in order to advertise. Knowing how it all works could also help you make your decision one way or the other if starting a nonprofit was ever something you considered.
Understanding this program is just another way to create well-rounded knowledge about Google.
How the Google Grants Program Works
The idea is that nonprofits can advertise with Google at no cost.
If your organization qualifies for the program, you get $10,000 per month in AdWords to advertise on Google to help accomplish your goals.
Sounds great, right?
It is an excellent program, but qualifying is strict and takes some time. As expected there is an application process, but you also need to make sure you’re following all of the program details to a tee or you could lose the grant money.
Google Grants Eligibility
In most cases if you’re a nonprofit organization you’re going to be eligible without having to do any extra work. But it helps to know all of the qualifications before you spend time getting started.
Knowing the eligibility requirements, shown below, is also a good place to start if you’re still in the planning stages:
- You must have a current and valid charity status. In the U.S., this means you have a current 501(c)(3)  status.
- You have to agree to the Google Grant requirements. You will be prompted to accept, which is where you can read all of the requirements. How to use the donations, how to receive them, etc. Remember, you have to agree and follow them. If you don’t like one, tough break.
- You must have a website that is kept up-to-date and has enough information about your nonprofit for visitors to see (and those giving you the grant money).
While you have to possess the above to get involved, there are also strict organizations who cannot get involved, which might help you determine where your organization fits into the equation.
If you’re working with a hospital, medical group, government organization, school and/or academic program, or childcare centers, you are NOT eligible for the grant.
Maintaining Your Google Grant
Once you’ve got the grant, step #2 is, of course, keeping it. There are quite a few things you need to do to make sure you don’t lose the grant you worked so hard to get:
- When you go to advertise, you have to link back to the URL that you cited in your application. On that same note, your ad has to be centered around sending people to your website.
- You have to login to your AdWords account once every few weeks in order to show that you are active (otherwise Google might pause the account).
- You cannot display ads from Google AdSense.
- You can sell products, but they cannot be financial products, such as credit cards.
- You cannot ask for donations in the form of large products, and all proceeds must go to your organization.
I recommend checking out this WordStream article  that includes some extra restrictions and tips. The official Google Grants webpage  also has more details and eligibility information for those wanting to learn.
Have you used the Google Grants program in the past?
Image: Video Still, Google