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Important AdWords Policy Update Affecting Nonprofits

by Robert Coats on October 13, 2017

Charity number required on the landing page

A recent policy change with Google AdWords is now requiring all pages that are asking for donations to include a charity or tax exemption number. Ads submitted with landing pages that do not include a charity or tax exemption number will be disapproved for ‘Missing Information’ which is a violation of AdWords Misrepresentation policy.

The policy reads in-part:

The following is not allowed:

Omitting material information (that is, important and relevant information) when soliciting a charitable or political donation

Examples: Failing to display a charity or tax exemption number for charitable donations, failing to disclose whether political donations are tax exempt

Donations: If your ad or landing page solicits donations that are tax-exempt, please clearly indicate your tax-exempt status on your landing page or donation page, including your charity number. For example, in the United States, 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) status is an indicator of the required tax-exempt status.

How this change affects nonprofits

The ‘Misrepresentation policy’ has been around for a while but the recent update to the policy is the addition of the charity number being required on the landing page. For a 501(C)(3) advertising on Google (such as with Google Ad Grants) this means including their EIN on the landing page. Admittedly, this is something that some nonprofits may be hesitant to do. However, this new policy change helps to limit the number of ads being run by non-charities that may be soliciting donations. As such, this policy is actually beneficial to legitimate charities as well as to users who are looking to make informed decisions for their donations. After all, making it clear to the end user that their donation is going to a verifiable charity can increase the user’s confidence which can then lead to increased donations and increased donation amounts.

Since we see a lot of benefit for the nonprofits in adding this information, we recommend to our nonprofit clients that they include the information in the footer of all pages on their website, similar to including a copyright. What we recommend is something along the following lines:

“ABC Charity is a 501(C)(3) Nonprofit registered in the US under EIN: 12-3456789”

Additionally, if the charity has a good ranking in or, it would not be a bad idea to link the charity’s profile on one of those sites. Doing so provides additional validation for the charity, which can further increase donors’ confidence in that charity.

  1. Robert, thanks for the warning.

    Presume this rule isn’t just for Google Grant holders in the US, and applies to other countries too.

    Most websites will already have their charity number in the footer, but there will always be a few that overlooked it. The suggestion to link that statement to Guidestar (or in the UK the Charity Commission website) is a good one.

  2. Jason, thanks for the comment.

    Yes, the policy applies to advertisers from other countries as well, not just those in the US.

    Additionally, the policy is actually an AdWords policy so it applies to all accounts, both AdWords and Ad Grants alike.

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