If you are not familiar with Google AdWords, it’s the original digital advertising platform and is still the leader of the pack, despite the best efforts of Facebook and Bing/Yahoo to overtake it.

AdWords is highly effective when done right. But what does this have to do with your non-profit?

Google Grants Donates Big

In an effort to get non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations to use Google AdWords, Google Grants was launched as an in-kind donation program. The application process varies, but the program is very strict in the sense that it requires professional management to take advantage of the full dollar amount, which is $10,000 monthly for an entire year. If the account is not properly managed, or the rules for the ads are abused, Google will shut it off.

To answer the most popular question about this program, yes, it can be used to raise money. In essence, Google is giving out free advertising which can be used to raise even more money, in the form of online donations.

The Three Biggest Mistakes that Non Profits Make When Using Google Grants

  1. Jumping in Without a Plan – There is more to digital advertising than meets the eye, if you’ve never used it before. It requires more time being spent on how to actually handle the leads it produces. One of the best features of Google Grants is that it can be used to raise money. In fact Google encourages it, but if you don’t have a proper plan, you probably won’t raise a dime with digital ads.
  2. Applying Before Your 501(c)(3) is Approved – Google Grants is designed for non-profits, but you must have the 501(c)(3) designation. “Social Welfare” organizations will not be approved and a non-profit designation alone won’t get it done for Google. Make sure to examine these requirements carefully and also determine if your goals fit within the program before applying.
  3. Setting and Forgetting – This is not a program that runs itself. Truly you’d be doing your non-profit a disservice to have someone who is not experienced with digital ad platforms in charge of the account. Inactivity, improper targeting of key words and many other factors could be used by Google to justify terminating your grant money.

Google Grants is a very powerful program and one that is certainly underutilized. If done right, it could raise incredible amounts of money and give your cause great exposure. So make sure you do your homework before you jump at the opportunity.