Tips For Successfully Applying to GrantsPro
A user in the Google Ad Grants Help Forum where I am the moderator (or what Google calls a ‘Top Contributor’) commented on the number of posts they had seen lately about denials for GrantsPro applications and asked if there was anything they should be doing to improve their chances of getting accepted.
Before I share my response to the question, let me tell you a little about GrantsPro for those that are not familiar with the program: GrantsPro is part of the Google Ad Grants program and offers nonprofit grantees an increased ad spend of $40,000 USD per month instead of the standard (and already extremely generous) $10,000 USD per month in free advertising on Google AdWords.
To be eligible to apply for GrantsPro, current Ad Grant grantees must meet the following requirements:
- Have conversion tracking installed and be successfully tracking at least one conversion. The conversion cannot simply be a page view of your homepage, but be tracking a substantial action such as a newsletter or volunteer sign-up.
- Have hit your monthly budget cap (at least $9900) for at least two different months over the last six months (they don’t need to be consecutive months).
- Have maintained an average account level clickthrough-rate (CTR) of 1% or higher over the past 6 month period.
- Submit the online application detailing how you will use the increased advertising grant money.
- Be in good standing with the Google Ad Grants program and abide by our program policies and guidelines.
- Have an authorized representative of the organization who manages the account at minimum on a bi-weekly basis.
- Complete an annual survey and agree to share impact or conversion data.
However, meeting these minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the Grantspro program since Google evaluates and weighs several criteria during the selection process, such as:
“…impact of the organization overall, impact of the additional programs or services the organization plans to promote with the additional grant money, and whether the plans are rooted in research and data that demonstrate how the organization plans to make the world a better place.”
As such, not all applications are approved for Grantspro status but applicants can improve their odds for acceptance if they understand some of the aspects that can make an Ad Grants account a successful candidate for Grantspro beyond the minimum requirements.
5 Tips For GrantsPro Applications
As someone who has successfully applied for GrantsPro and manages several GrantsPro clients, here are 5 things that I think a standard Ad Grants account needs to have before attempting to apply for GrantsPro:
- Mission based keywords and ads – the ad spend needs to be for relevant traffic. If your current account is generating what I call “fluff” traffic and not relevant traffic, then you likely will not be approved. Your current grant budget should be spent wisely and it should be spent on keywords that generate traffic that can help your nonprofit achieve its mission.
- REAL conversions – the nonprofit organization really needs to be making an impact with the current grant. Lite conversions, such as tracking a page view is not necessarily an indication of the organization using the grant to make an impact. The tracked conversions should show tangible benefit that the Ad Grant has brought to your nonprofit organization. Also, make sure that these conversions are tracking within the AdWords interface. Just tracking within Google Analytics is not enough – however, analytics IS important.
- Give it time – Don’t apply after just 3 months, have some time in the regular Ad Grants program first. Give it at-least 6 months before applying, even if you have hit full ad spend for 5 months. I’ve seen this over in the Ad Grants Help Forum quite often, where it is a brand new account and they were blessed with being able to target keywords with heavy search volume and after 3 months they are trying to apply for GrantsPro. In most cases, they are not going to be approved. so give it a full 6 months before applying. Oh, and for the record, full daily ad spend in the month of February will never equal $9900 so if you are including February as one of your 2 months to hit budget cap, your application will be rejected.
- Active account management – Make sure the account is being managed on a consistent basis. Simply put, it active account management is one of the core policies of the Google Ad Grants program. If you do not have the time to actively manage your Google Ad Grant, then hire an agency such as Kinsey Street to do it for you.
- Go beyond active management – The Ad Grants account should be optimized and follow AdWords best practices. Just because the account is spending the full budget and just because someone touches the account does NOT mean that the account is properly optimized. However, if you are following tips 1-4 above then #5 pretty much falls into place.
And Bonus tip #6
Really take time to fill out the application and to write a well-thought out responses to the questions on the application. Google is offering to give you an ADDITIONAL $30,000 USD per month so do not treat the application as just another 5-minute form you need to fill out. Give the application it’s due attention and be able to clearly articulate how Google Ad Grants has impacted your organization so far.
Because, if you cannot answer the question, “how has Google Ad Grants impacted your organization so far?” then you are not ready to apply for GrantsPro.
If you have a Google Ad Grant account that you feel could be achieving more and maybe even qualify for GrantsPro status with some expert management, then feel free to reach out to us and lets discuss your account.