All good things must come to an end… unfortunately, Grantspro – Google’s $40,000 per month Ad Grant is on permanent hold.
I spoke with the Google Ad Grants team today and the official response is:
The Ad Grants team is no longer accepting applications for the Grantspro program as part of new efforts to streamline the program. This update aside, the program will continue to remain open and free to all eligible nonprofits.
While this is indeed sad news, the good news is that the $10,000 per month Ad Grants program is going to continue and is just being streamlined.
As always, more updates as I am able to share them.
The 11-step guide to applying for and setting up a Google Ad Grants account.
With this step-by-step guide, you will learn how to take your nonprofit through the application, set up and launch of a Google Ad Grants account so that they can start benefiting from $10,000 per month of free online advertising via Google AdWords.
When Google says they are “Changing the world, one country at a time” they certainly mean it. Over 20,000 nonprofits in more than 50 countries around the world currently participate in the Ad Grants program. If your nonprofit isn’t one of these then it is time to apply and get approved today so that you can start marketing your nonprofit for free with a $10,000 per month Google Ad Grant.
Several years ago, apply for Google Ad Grants was a bit more complicated and took several months to get approved. In fact, it took nearly 9 months for one of my clients to get an approval back. That is certainly not the case today and Google has made great strides in improving the application process of the program. So much so, that these days, we could have a nonprofit approved and up and running in under 5 days in some cases!
However, as much as the Ad Grant application process has improved over the years there are still several steps to go through before the campaigns are launched and generating traffic for your organization. With the following 11-step guide, you will learn how to apply for Google Ad Grants so that you can get your nonprofit set up as quickly as possible.
11-step guide to applying for Google Ad Grants
- See if you’re eligible for Google for Nonprofits.
Not all nonprofit organizations are eligible for the Google for Nonprofits program. Please read the eligibility guidelines before applying to see if your nonprofit is likely to be approved.
● 501(c)(3) status required in US (or international equivalent)
● Acknowledge and agree to application clause regarding nondiscrimination and
donation receipt and use
● Have a live website with substantial content
● Website cannot display Google Adsense or affiliate advertising ads
● Governmental entities and organizations
● Hospitals and healthcare organizations
● Schools, childcare centers, academic institutions and universities
○ note: philanthropic arms of educational organizations are eligible
- Apply For Google For Nonprofits
Assuming you’re eligible, you’ll need to apply for Google for Nonprofits.
Before applying, make sure that:
● Your organization is listed in GuideStar.org or you will not be approved. (Note – international charities should be registered with TechSoup.)
● Have your EIN, mission statement and other relevant organization information on hand.Most applications can be reviewed within a few seconds of submission. This part of the application process is quick and easy. Do it today.
IMPORTANT: Always do this yourself. Do NOT have an agency do this for you. It is important that the nonprofit be the one to register. If you need assistance, Kinsey Street consults on this for free.
- Wait for a decision.
As mentioned above, most applications can be reviewed within seconds. However, in some cases an application may require a closer look, in which case you’ll receive a decision within two business days. You can also check the status of your application at any time by logging in to your Google for Nonprofits account.
- Create an AdWords account for use with Ad Grants.
Once your organization has been approved for Google for Nonprofits, you can begin setting up the AdWords account that is to be used for Google Ad Grants. To get started, follow the steps exactly as outlined in the Ad Grants Account Creation Guide. Particularly Step 1, which is a special link ( https://g.co/etoaw) that allows you to bypass billing requirements of a regular AdWords account. Once your account is set up, you must create a campaign with at least one text ad and keyword that are related to the mission of the registered nonprofit that’s listed in the application. The Account Creation Guide highlights some very important things to keep in mind when creating the account, please read it carefully. One of the most important is: Do not enter credit card information, even though you’ll be asked to in your account. IMPORTANT: Please note that the AdWords system and interface is designed for paying advertisers. Because of this, it’s important to understand the key differences between a Google Ad Grants account and a regular AdWords account so that you set your account accordingly. Failure to do so, could result in poorly created account and having to start the account creation process over from scratch. (Shameless plug: we can create your Ad Grants account for you.)
Once your AdWords account is created, you are now ready to enroll in Ad Grants and submit your AdWords account for review.
- Sign in to your Google for Nonprofits account.
Make sure to sign in using your Google for Nonprofits administrator account which is the account that you used when you first applied for Google for Nonprofits. It may be different than the account you used to create your Google Ad Grants account which you’re enrolling.
- Click the ‘Sign up now’ button.
- Click the ‘Enroll’ button beneath Google Ad Grants.
- Confirm that your AdWords account is configured correctly.
If you followed the Ad Grants Account Creation Guide it should be but here is your chance to double check before submitting.
- Enter the customer ID of the AdWords account you created in the form field and complete the form.
- Click ‘Enroll’.
- Wait for a decision.
After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a decision within 5 business days (But often less than 48 hours.) If your AdWords account was set up correctly using the Ad Grants Account Creation Guide, you’ll get an email telling you that your account has been activated. If your AdWords account contained any errors, you’ll get an email with instructions on how to correct the errors before we can activate it.
Now that you have learned how to apply for Google Ad Grants take the steps today to get your nonprofit set up with $10,000 per month in free advertising via Google AdWords. We can help.
One of the questions that I hear often over in the Google Ad Grants Help forum within the AdWords Community is:
“Why do I have to enter billing information to activate my Ad Grants account if it is free?”
The short answer is, you do not, even though the AdWords platform is requesting that you do so. That “enter billing” request ONLY applies to regular paid AdWords accounts. In fact, it is VERY important that you ignore requests to enter billing information when setting up an Ad Grants account because entering in any billing information will turn the account into a regular paid AdWords account and you will be responsible for all costs generated. Please read the Google Ad Grants help article: Ignore requests for billing information for additional information.
Equally important is that you follow all of the steps as outlined in the Ad Grants Account Creation Guide. Particularly Step 4 on how to Submit your Ad Grant account for review which reads:
- Go into your account and confirm the following:
- Currency set to US Dollar: The bids and budgets in your campaign should be shown in US Dollars ($)
- No billing information added: If you click the settings icon in the top-right corner of your account and choose “Billing”, you should see a request to choose a country (no payment method visible).If your account is set up on a currency other than US Dollar, or billing information was added, you’ll need to create a new account starting with step 1 of this guide. Otherwise, continue.
- If you had already started filling out an Ad Grants application form, go back now and finish the form. If you haven’t started, follow the submission process for your country.
Admittedly, it is within this step that many nonprofits get a bit lost in the process because they do not realize that they have to go back to Google For Nonprofits to complete the enrollment process. For all countries that are under the Google For Nonprofits program (such as US) the submission process is as follows:
- Sign in to your Google for Nonprofits account.
Be sure to sign in using your Google for Nonprofits administrator account. This is the account that you used when you applied for Google for Nonprofits. It may be different than the account you use to access the product in which you’re enrolling.
- Click the ‘Sign up now’ button.
- Click the ‘Enroll’ button underneath Google Ad Grants.
- Confirm that your AdWords account is configured correctly.
See Grants Account Creation Guide for instructions on setting up your AdWords account.
- Enter your AdWords customer ID in the form field and complete the form.
- Click ‘Enroll’.
After that, it will take about 24-48 hours and then you will receive an email stating your AdWords account is approved (or not) for Ad Grants and that your account is active or that changes need to be made to make it active.
Google’s official comment is that Quality Score is only at the keyword level. In fact, in a PDF posted by Google entitled ‘Settling The (Quality) Score’, it states:
” There is no such thing as ad group-level, campaign-level or account-level Quality Score.”
That IS Google’s official stance and in most cases. However, as we all should know… Google measures EVERYTHING.
For instance, to become a certified Google Partner, Google measures the quality of an agency’s Client Center account (also called an MCC account) to determine a “Best Practice” score to see if we manage accounts in a manner at a level that shows expertise to become qualified as Google Partners. In this instance, Google uses a green bar scale but it could as easily be a scale of 1-10 as with keyword Quality Score. So, in a sense, the MCC accounts of agencies certainly have a type of “quality score”.
By the way, here is the “Best Practices” bar for Kinsey Street Online Marketing which ‘scores’ our AdWords management performance and customer care:
Yes, we are quite proud of how we scored but the main point of showing you that beautiful green bar is to show that there IS a score to an agency’s MCC account that houses all of their client AdWords accounts. And you are not going to be able to determine the best practice score of an MCC unless you score the quality of the AdWords accounts within that MCC. And you cannot score the accounts within unless you score the ad groups within those accounts and so on and so on.
So yes, there IS an account level quality score. Do they call it an “account level quality score”? No, but as Brother Billy Shakespeare once said:
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
So while Google might not call it an Account-level Quality Score, some type of score is certainly there and in fact, Google even alludes to this in the same document (linked above) which they proclaim there is no such thing as account-level Quality Score when they state that:
Instead of measuring new keywords from scratch, we start with info about related ads and landing pages you already have. If your related keywords, ads and landing pages are in good shape, we’ll probably continue to have a high opinion of them.
So if Google doesn’t measure keywords from scratch but instead uses “info” from other elements of the account then how is Google developing this “high opinion” of the new keywords if quality scores are only at the keyword level? The answer is that Google’s system really doesn’t form an “opinion” – it is a computer algorithm after all so it bases these new keyword quality scores off of mathematical calculations, using scores to determine the quality of the other elements within the account. In other words, it is scoring the elements of the account to determine the quality scores of new keywords.
So, to use an obscure pop culture reference, “I’m not saying it was aliens. But aliens.” Or in this case, an account-level Quality Score.
As the Top Contributor for Google Ad Grants in the AdWords Community I am often asked the following question by many nonprofit organizations:
“Why was my application to Google for Nonprofits denied?”
The reasons behind each applicant’s denial are slightly different but suffice to say not all nonprofit organizations are eligible for the Google for Nonprofits program.
One thing I recommend to nonprofits is to read the eligibility guidelines before applying to see if your nonprofit is likely to be approved. You can find the eligibility guidelines by country here: https://support.google.com/nonprofits/answer/3215869
Google For Nonprofits Eligibility Guidelines For US-based Organizations Are:
- Organizations must be recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations formed for charitable, educational, religious, literary, scientific, or other tax-exempt purposes. For more information, see How to Apply for Charity Status.
- Organizations that rely on the group 501(c)(3) exemption of a central (“umbrella”) organization can apply to Google for Nonprofits as a “related organization.”
- Organizations, such as churches, that are automatically considered tax-exempt must still obtain recognition of 501(c)(3) tax exemption from the IRS to qualify for the Google for Nonprofits program.
The organizations must not be one of the following:
- Governmental entity or organization
- Hospital or health care organization
- School, childcare center, academic institution, or university (philanthropic arms of educational organizations are eligible). To learn more about Google’s programs for educational institutions, visit Google for Education.
Top 3 Reasons Why Nonprofits Are Rejected For The Google For Nonprofits Program When You Think They Meet The Eligibility Guidelines:
Over the years of managing Ad Grant accounts, here are the top 3 reasons why I’ve seen nonprofits denied for the Google For Nonprofits program when they thought they were eligible.
- The organization is a new nonprofit and although it may be listed in the IRS database it has not yet been updated over into the GuideStar database.
- They do not have a website set up or it is listed as under construction.
- Their NTEE category codes incorrectly lists them under an ineligible category such as a hospital.
All three situations above can be rectified but the steps for each may be a little different depending on the unique situation for each nonprofit. If you and your organization are running into issues with your application, there are three main places you can go for assistance:
- The Google For Nonprofits Discussion Group
- The Google Ad Grants Help Forum within the official AdWords Community
- Reach out to us here at Kinsey Street and we will be glad to assist.
If you are a 501(C)(3) that has not registered for Google For Nonprofits yet and you believe your organization is eligible, I highly recommend that you take the steps to register today. It is a great program that Google provides for nonprofits and if you need help, simply give us a call at 425-405-0690 and we will help guide you through the process free of charge.
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.
As the Top Contributor of the Google Ad Grants Help Forum in the AdWords Community, I am often asked about maximizing ad spend of the Google Ad Grant to generate more clicks. Many grantees run into an issue with being able to gain much traction due to the $2 bid cap imposed on Grant accounts and this grantee was wanting to know if changing the location targeting would help overcome some of these challenges.
The question was:
With Google Grants I want to get as many clicks as I can because the $2.00 cap on keywords makes it hard for me to get clicks. Would I have more luck if I limited my location from Canada to Ontario (a Province within Canada that my site targets)? I have experimented with this but haven’t seen a difference.
Thanks for any advice offered!
Here is what I had to say:
Regardless of ad spend, it is best to target the location that is MOST relevant for your organization to reach the audience that is RIGHT for your organization.
Expanding your targeting to reach a broader audience that is not relevant to your organization may let you spend more of your budget but it will be wasted budget and your account will end-up degrading over time which will make it much more difficult to target the right audience in the future.
If you are having a hard time being competitive at the $2 bid cap, then take a serious look at your quality scores and work to improve them. The main way to do this is to ensure that your account is well segmented with ad groups that are tightly themed. This will allow you to craft ads that are more relevant and likely to generate higher click through rates (CTR), which will in-turn increase your quality scores and will lower the high top-page bid estimates you are likely seeing.
Over all, do not worry too much about the number of clicks or the budget spent – instead, focus on being relevant with your ads, reaching the right audience and generating conversions. Your main goal should be to use the Ad Grant to help your organization accomplish its mission, not to generate as many clicks as you can.
If you have a question on Google Ad Grants, feel free to reach out to me. I will be glad to help.
Last week I had mentioned the big news that Google For Nonprofits was now in 5 countries but did you know that one of Google For Nonprofits most popular products, Google Ad Grants – Google’s nonprofit version of Google AdWords that provides up to $10k/month of free advertising on Google AdWords is already in 41 countries!
If you are not familiar with this fantastic program be sure to read our page which describes the Ad Grants program in detail and answers the question, “What is Google Ad Grants?”
If you haven’t signed your organization up for Google Ad Grants yet, why not? Here at Kinsey Street, we are Google Ad Grants experts and have clients in multiple countries.
We can help you:
- determine your organization’s eligibility
- apply for the Ad Grants program
- set up your Ad Grants account to ensure it gets approved
- and provide ongoing management of your Google Ad Grant for you to ensure that you get the most benefit out of this fantastic program.
Contact us today for a free consultation.
Google For Nonprofits is is now available in 5 countries!
- Google For Nonprofits USA
- Google For Nonprofits United Kingdom
- Google For Nonprofits Canada
- Google For Nonprofits Japan
- Google For Nonprofits New Zealand
Google For Nonprofits is an incredible program that offers 4 great products to nonprofits such as:
- Google Apps For Nonprofits – Get free access to the Google Apps suite including Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive.
- YouTube Nonprofit Program – an enriched version of YouTube just for nonprofits that let’s you place a Call-To-Action overlay directly on your videos.
- Google Earth Outreach – Tell your organization’s story through a custom map of showing your projects sites and their impact.
- and our personal favorite, Google Ad Grants – Promote your organization’s website with up to $40,0000 in free AdWords advertising.
If your nonprofit has not signed up to this wonderful program yet, we highly encourage you to do so. If you need help, just ask.
This last week I was honored to be invited by Google to speak on a panel with 4 other agency owners at this year’s Google All Stars Summit at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, CA.
The exclusive event hosted about 200 Google Partner agencies and the panel fielded a range of questions on running a successful agency from moderator, Jennifer Qiao of Google and from the audience.
The All Star Summit was held at the Googleplex, Google’s home-office in Mountain View, CA and in addition to the Agency Speaker panel, attendees also got to hear from other Google experts and from Google product managers form AdWords, Analytics, Shopping and the Google Partners program.