Google AdWords Grants for Non-Profits

What is Google Grants?

A Google Grant is a grant that gives you a $10, 000 PER MONTH in free-pay-per click advertising. Google is not giving you money; they are giving your credit for Google AdWords every month to use specifically for online advertising on Google. Although there is a yearly renewal process, this program doesn’t have an end date, so it can be very beneficial for increasing online awareness for your camp or non-profit organization.

Is Your Camp Eligible?

Your camp must reach the following criteria to be eligible for Google Grants:

  • Hold a current charity status in Canada.  That means organizations must be registered under the Canada Income Tax Act, able to issue charitable receipts to donors, and are exempt from income tax in order to be considered for this program.
  • Have a website and have your ads linked to only one organization's website.  There are more details pertaining to this qualification.  You can read them in the Google Ads Grant program eligibility guidelines.
  • Must not be one of the following types of organizations:
    • Governmental entities and organizations
    • Hospitals and medical groups
    • Schools, childcare centres, academic institutions and universities (philanthropic arms of educational organizations are eligible). To learn more about Google's programs for educational institutions, visit Google for Education.

What is pay-per-click advertising?

Load Google and search for your camp. You will come to a search screen with all of your search results. As an organization you use Google AdWords to find keywords and phrases that users would use to search for your camp. Google will put your advertising on the sidebar and top of a Google search page.  We see that some of our member camps are already using Google AdWords!

 General - Google AdWords blog image

  Google statistics state that advertising gets over 300 million clicks per day! This is a great opportunity to attract supporters, donors, volunteers, new campers, staff!

Ways to Use Google Grants

Awareness: Promote your camp, your cause and educate people on what you do.  Increase your presence online and in the community.

Fundraising: Make it easier for people to donate.  You can have your Google Ad linked to a donation page.

Email: Use it to grow your email list! You can drive relevant visitors to your page to sign up to your newsletter. This gives you the chance to start connecting with people who find you online, build relationships and gain more camp families.  It is also in compliance with the new Canadian Anti-Spam Laws which will come into force on July 1, 2014. 

Volunteers: Connect with people who are searching for volunteer opportunities in their community or from abroad.

Newsletter or Blog: Use this to increase the readership of your blog or newsletter. Give them the opportunity to ‘subscribe’ to your publications and you’ll have started to build a captivated online audience.

Events: Promote specific events including fundraising events, open houses, and community events happening at your facility.

The Specifics:  How can YOUR organization use FREE advertising?

Determine the website pages you want to promote. 

Perhaps you want to use the free advertising to build awareness for your organization and it's benefits to the community.  Link your Google Ad to  a page on your website that tells viewers what you do, how they can send their kids and/or get involved with your camp and how they can contact you.  Make sure users are able to find that information quickly when they arrive at the landing page.

If you want to use the advertising for fundraising, link it to your donation page. Make sure it is very obvious for users to donate once they get there. Have several “donate now” buttons, banners and links that are very visible and easy to find.  You should also have some information on the benefits of your organization and how donations will help.

Find relevant keywords that people are searching for.

Use your free Google Adwords account to find certain search words or phrases that are popular amongst people in your target area. You can search different word combinations and phrases to find how many people search for those each month, who is in your area, and how competitive those words are.   Further details on finding effect keywords and phrases can be found further down this blog post.

Watch this short video to learn more about getting started with Google AdWords:


Bring those searches to your website.

Your sidebar advertisement or top-of-page will appear when people search your keywords. Every time people click they arrive at your webpage of choice. You can use the Google Adwords free preview tool to view how your webpage will appear on a search engine page.

The Application Process

For Canadian non-profit, charitable organizations that are eligible for Google Grants, the application process is very simple.

  1. Create a Google Adwords account
  2. Apply to Google Grants
  3. Activate your grant after approval.  It takes approximately 30 days.

Tips on how to succeed with Google Grants:

Strategize: Think about some specific ways that you can use the grant. Think about what you want to promote, what keywords are relevant to the page and how can you drive people to your website.

Structure your campaigns: Base your campaign off the goals you want to achieve with your advertising.

Create Ad GroupsAd Groups are groups of highly related keywords, ads and bids you manage together.  Google uses Ad Groups to show your ads to people who would be the most interested in them based on their search. It’s something you have to do when inside AdWords. Try to limit your keywords to 10-20 keywords per ad group. Putting hundreds of keywords in your ad groups will hold you back.   Learn more about Ad Groups in this tutorial video.

Research keywords: Look for keywords that have high search engine traffic. There is a free keyword planner tool accessible from your Google AdWords account. Try different variations of your keywords to find the ones that are the most popular with the lowest competition. For example: the keywords “youth empowerment” might have fewer searches than “empowering youth”.  Commit some time into researching the key words that will work best for your camp.

Low competition makes a difference. Remember that your ads appear because of your cost-per-click bid and your advertisement is in an ad auction for the ad space that is the most desirable. Some keywords are highly competitive because many AdWords users are placing higher bids for them. Non-profits can only bid up to a maximum up to $2.00. This is why it’s important you choose words that will rank lower in competition but higher in search results to effectively compete in search engine results.

Your AdWords should have a high quality score.  This is an estimate of how relevant your ads, keywords, and landing page are to a person seeing your ad. You can find your quality score in Google AdWords by clicking on the campaign tab and then selecting keywords.  Here are some tips for getting a higher quality score:

  • Make sure you are deleting duplicate keywords inside your account or they start to compete with each other.
  • Use negative keywords. Negative keywords can help narrow searches. Example: Camps could use negative keywords like "work camp" or "camp ground" that would discourage search results for people looking for industrial work camps or commercial camp grounds.

Google has provided great resources for understanding and improving your quality score.  View this video tutorial "What is AdWords Quality Score and Why Does it Matter."

Write effective ad text: Use two or three variations of ad text per group of AdWords.  Here are some tips for writing successful ad text.

Build landing pages: This allows you to more effectively engage and convert traffic. Have one landing page per campaign or goal you want to achieve through your Google advertising.  Remember that all of your landing pages must be under the same URL (on the same webpage) and only for the organization that was approved for Google Grants.

Monitor results and optimize: You have to experiment using different AdWords. The more you use the system the better you’ll be able to optimize its effectiveness. Use Google Analytics to gauge your web hits and advertising results.


CharityHowTo Webinar presented by ConnectAd:

Google AdWords Support Articles:

Categories: Camp Resources, Communications And Marketing, Fund Development, Grant Funding