Google Ad Grants: The Ultimate Guide For Australian Non-Profits 2019

By August 25, 2019 No Comments

guide for Google grants
Have you heard about Google Ads Grants? Every year Google helps 35,000+ non-profit businesses by offering those lucky enough up to $10,000 worth of free advertising, yes
FREE ADVERTISING, per month in Google Ads Grants.

In this guide, we’ll be telling you all about how to apply for the program, how to get set up and to take full advantage of what this program can offer you as a non-profit business.

There’s a few important things you need to consider when applying and managing your Google Ad Grants account, but we’ll touch on that later.

It’s a fairly simple process in getting set up but you have to firstly find out if you’re eligible. To eligible for a Google Ad Grants account you have to be:

  • Registered as a charitable organisation.
  • Registered with the local Techsoup partner in Australia (Connecting Up) and you will also need to be validated as non-profit. 

Any Australian organisation must be:

  • Deductible gift recipients that are endorsed by the ATO or listed by name in tax law.
  • Charities registered with the ACNC or an income tax-exempt not-for-profit organisation as it is defined by the ATO.

You will not be eligible if you’re one of the following:

  • Government Entity or a Government organisation
  • School, academic institution or a university
  • A Hospital or Health Care organisation

How To Apply For Google Ad Grants

Go to the Google for Non-Profits website to start off with. You can find this here. Start your application by clicking the button ‘Start Now’. Follow the steps carefully and with your full attention.

For this, you’ll need to agree to non-discrimination statements. You’ll be asked to fill out basic information regarding your organisation. Fill in this contact information and then select any relevant communication preferences.

Use the validation token that was provided your organisation when you signed up with Connecting Up.

You can find your organisation’s validation token by logging into your Connecting Up account then clicking the tab that says “TechSoup Validation Tokens“. A validation token looks something like this: [email protected]

Once the this is completed, you can submit your application and it’ll be approved by Google usually within two working days. You should be notified by email, so keep an eye on your inbox.

Once you’ve been approved in the Google For Non-Profits, you will then need to create an Ads account, if you haven’t got one that exists already. This will begin your enrolment into the Google Ad Grants program.

Regardless of your usual currency, you’ll need to set up the account with USD as currency.

Word of Caution from Google: Do not enter credit card details or any other billing information when creating your Google Ads account for Google Ad Grants. If you enter credit card information and your campaigns run, you will be responsible for paying any charges accrued.

Creating Your Ad Grants Account

It’s now time to create your account. You must keep in mind that when creating this account that you familiarise yourself with the following guidelines.

These are the guidelines that have been laid out by Google Grant and they state:

  • The ads must be entirely text-based with no imagery whatsoever.
  • All campaigns must be keyword targeted.
  • The daily budget should be set at $329 USD and that’s roughly $10,000 USD a month. If you are using CPC bidding, then all bids needs to be $2.00 USD or less. You also get the option of using an automatic bidding strategy. This is called ‘Maximise Conversions’ and that automatically sets bids for you. 

When your campaign is set up and you’ve met all the necessary requirements, you can submit this account to be reviewed. This can be done from your Google for Non-Profits account.

‘Once you’ve been approved – Hooray! – you are ready to start receiving up to $10,000 free Google advertising.

If you’ve chosen to manage your own Google Ads account, then you need to make sure that you’re following the Google Ad Grant policies.

It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with these often as they can occasionally be updated. You can read more about those policies in this blog here – Google Ads Grants Updates.

It’s very important that you know and understand the basics of how Google Ad Grants work. So that brings us swiftly onto an overview of the program itself.

Other Important Criteria with Google Ad Grants Accounts

To participate in the program, you must also submit the pre-qualification survey, which takes approximately takes 10 minutes to complete.

You must also complete the Ad Grants training and quiz. Don’t worry, the quiz is only short.

Watch the video below for more information on the Ad Grants policies that need to be met before your account is activated.

How Does Google Ad Grants Work?

In this section, we’ll talk about how the program works and to make sure you are getting the most out of it for your non-for-profit. Google provides up to $10,000 USD of free Ads advertising.

This is on a monthly basis and to those who are eligible through their Google Ad Grants program.

It’s a fantastic opportunity to help increase awareness, gain the support they need and impact their organisation across the globe, without having to spend any limited amount of funds they may already have.

It’s an opportunity that would otherwise cost a lot of money if not offered by Google. Here’s a brief overview of how it works:

Mission-Based Campaigns

Each ad and keyword that is in a Google Ad Grants Ads account must reflect the mission of the non-profit organisation. It must also be relevant to what programs and services the non-profit provides and be specific to ensure a good experience for users. The following is not permitted however:

  • Branded words that you don’t own such as “YouTube” or “Google”. The same goes for any names of newspapers or other organisations.
  • Single-world keywords (but this excludes your own branded words, any recognised medical conditions and a small number of other exceptions which can be found here).
  • Note terms that have dashes, periods or special characters are not treated as single-word keywords. Overly generic words like “free videos” and “e-books”, names of places and names of historical events/people. 
  • And any keywords with a quality score of 2 or less.

If your account doesn’t comply and is found in violation, then it will be subject to suspension.

Usually, you have 2 months to rectify any violations from when you’re first notified.

If you happen to not fix the violation in time, don’t worry, once the problem has been rectified, you can then request a reinstatement of your account.

If you have a marketing agency managing your account, they will be well informed by Google about any violation and will receive notifications similar to the image below.

Google Ad Grants Non-Compliance Report

Account Management Policy

A CTR of 5% must be maintained on any Google Ad Grants accounts. For this to happen, there are other account management policies that should be followed and again, it’s worth keeping notice of.

  • Accounts should use geo-targeting, which helps the ads show up in just the locations that are relevant. Something that benefits everyone, including users.
  • Two ad groups, at least,  should be active in each campaign you have.
  • Each ad group also needs two closely related keywords and also two active text ads. The account should have at least two sitelink ad extensions.

Be warned that if your account’s CTR falls below 5% and happens for two consecutive months, the account will be deactivated.

Website Policy

The websites that are connected to your Ad Grants account must observe the following requirements:

Owned and Operated Website – The domain that’s attached to the account must be owned by the organisation itself.

High Quality Website – The site itself should be clear and have a good enough description of the organisation and its mission. It needs enough information to help users understand what the purpose is for your non-profit.

The site should have no broken links as this is annoying for users to come across. These ads, keywords and website should not at any point make claims that promise results. With any website that has such claims, must be able to cite verifiable references.

As a side note, we recommend using WordPress as Content Management System to build your website on (if you haven’t built one already). From our experience, it’s easier to integrate your Google properties, especially for tracking conversions which we’ll touch on later.


Commercial Activity – Your website must not be for commercial activity. Your non-monetary missions must have the support of any commercial activity on the site and your site also need to explain how these funds are used.

Limited Ads on Website – The advertising should only be relevant to your mission as an organisation and should be non-obtrusive. There should be no Google Adsense ads or any affiliate advertising links.

Any personalised suggestions and any notifications of non-compliance are delivered through in-product notifications.

These policies are specific to Ad Grants accounts. However, it’s important to also note that you are following standard Google Ads policies also.

Setting Up Your Google Ad Grant

Next up is the Google Ad Grant and how you set it up. Start it up in the right way and you’ll likely see some amazing results. Here are four ways to make the most of your Google Ad Grant.

  • Make sure that your account adheres to program policies and the account structure requirements that are needed.
  • Get creative and really customise your ad campaigns. Make it known to your user, what it is that they need to do and how to connect with you as an organisation.
  • Measure your Ad’s overall impact and help optimise the account you have using Conversion Tracking and the handy platform that is Google Analytics.
  • Pay attention when it comes to what is working and what isn’t. Over the course of your campaign, you can tweak it accordingly to what is successful.
  • Reflect your primary mission and be relevant to the programs and services you provide. Be specific for your users and don’t forget to educate yourself so you can make the most out of the Google Ad Grant.

To get the most out of it, you must understand how it works. Each campaign will have a monthly budget of $10,000, that’s $329USD daily that we mentioned previously. The maximum pay-per-click is $2USD. Feature only the keyword-targeted text ads and campaigns on Google search results pages that sit beneath the paid ads.

Structuring your Google Ad Grants account can be done in several ways but the minimum standards that your Google Ads account should contain in three steps are:

1 Active Search Campaign

2 Active Ad Groups

2 Active text ads per Ad Group

2 Active Sitelinks per Campaign

In the Ads & Extensions tab, you can select extensions and ensure that you have two approved sitelinks at least. Click on through to the Locations tab and check that you’ve got geo-targeting active and that’s correct for all your ads.

Get Your Keywords Right

The right keywords are essential to having success for your account. You can refine your keyword strategy by clicking on the Keywords tab. Click through to Search Keywords and here you can pause or delete any keywords that aren’t doing so well. These may be:

  • Single-word keywords.
  • Keywords that are just too generic in nature.
  • Active keywords where the quality score is between 1-2.
  • Any keywords with low CTR scores regardless of their impression.

Review search query reports by going onto the Reporting tab. Here you can identify any search terms that are triggering your ad but aren’t related to your non-profit. Take note of the top-performing queries and then you can add these to the list of Negative Keywords.

Small details make a big difference so consider creating branded campaigns, utilize that keyword planner to ensure you’re using the best ones possible. You can even group keyword lists into themes and categories to define them even further.

Track Your Results

The best thing that you can do to keep an eye on your account is by looking at what’s working and what isn’t. Setting up tracking is easy and can be done by following these simple steps:

  1. Click through to Tools > Conversions tab. This is where you measure each of your campaigns. If you’re noticing a poorly performing conversation rate, check your landing pages.
  2. Ensure that the content on each of these pages is relevant to the keywords and queries that will have brought users to your website. These domains all need to be approved by Google Ad Grants too.
  3. Once the campaign has been running for about a month, tweak your campaign bid strategy to get maximum conversions. Target your CPA or ROAS as these aren’t subject to the bidding cap of $2USD.
  4. You can check for more ideas on optimising your account by checking the Recommendations tab every so often. 

Google Conversion Tracking

Google are wanting Not-For-Profits using the program, to send meaningful traffic with meaningful conversions through their campaigns, so it’s very important to set up conversion tracking from the beginning.

The Google Conversion Tracking is a handy tool that you should be utilising to it’s full extent.

In this section, we’ll look at the three steps of Conversion Tracking.

What is Conversion Tracking?

It’s essentially a free tool that reports what happens after customers interact with your ad.

Did they make a purchase or a donation or did they contact you?

It’s incredibly important that you use Conversion Tracking as it’s one of the Ad Grants policies in that it remains active.

This is so they can ensure your conversions are lining up with your organisations goal.

They want to make sure you’re receiving quality and meaningful conversions.

Google Ads places a ‘tag’ on your preferred landing page and is reported as conversion by Conversions Tracking.

This can then be analysed in Google Analytics and Google Ads.

It’s useful in helping you as an organisation to see the journey you’re taking. What sort of conversions are going to benefit you?

Would you rather see donations or more interactions with your users through emails and other forms of communication?

Setting Up Google Conversion Tracking

To set up the Google Conversion Tracking, select Tool & Settings in the top right-hand corner. Under Measurement, select Conversions. Select the blue plus button.

Google Ads Conversion ActionsIf you’ve got Google Analytics, select import and then follow the steps to go about linking the accounts. Otherwise, you can select website if you’d rather not use Google Analytics.

Enter a name for the conversions that you wish to track.

This could be labelled Donations or Communications, for example. Choose a category from the drop-down menu when setting up the Goal or Conversion Action.

You should select Purchases/Sales for financial donations.

For all money-related conversions, ensure you enter a monetary value for each of the conversions categories.

Select how you’d like to count the conversions and for all remaining options available, either customise them or leave them be.

Click create and continue and then implement the conversion tracking tag onto your site.

Add two code snippets to your website. These are the global site tag and event snippet. The global site tag will set new cookies on your domain.

This stores information about the ad click that brought the user to the site. Sometimes consent is required by law, so ensure this is done in the right way.

Paste the global site tag between <head> and </head> on each of your web pages. The event snippet will track this journey of interactions you’ve tagged as a conversion.

At this point, you can select either Page Load or Click Here. Copy the code into the box and paste it <body> and </body> on the page that belongs to the particular conversion.

Tracking financial donations will require you to customise the conversion tracking to track transaction-specific values. Click Next to finish!

Tips & Tricks

Finally, it’s time to make a few more changes to make sure everything is running smoothly.

Google Tag Manager

You can simplify the tagging process and the Google Tag Manager is a useful tool to do this. Use this free web-based user interface to help configure tags.

This will configure them without having to alter or deploy any additional code. It helps make changes and check for errors.

This reduces the amount of time spent trying to get help developer support.

You can add tags anytime you want and it generates great data for better knowledge and decision-making.

Use Best Practice Tracking

Google Analytics is another great tool because it allows you to create goals and to link your analytics and Ad Grants accounts.

This enables you to import these Analytics goals into Google Ads. For important goals from Analytics to Google Ads, the default category is other.

Choose a more appropriate category depending on your organisations wants and needs.

Conversion Windows are also adjustable, according to what your organisation’s conversion cycle is.

Non-for-profit’s often have a 90 day conversion window. If these have been adjusted, a Google Ads click will result in a conversion within the 90 days of the first click on your add.

This will then be reported in Google Ads. The Maximise Conversions smart bidding solution (or Target CPA) will allow you to automate the right bid for each auction.

This maximises the number of conversions that are within your budget. Select yes for Include in Conversions if you want Google Ads to focus on more worthy conversions.

Don’t forget, you can add a conversion value to each conversion category. This helps you see how easily the conversion means to your organisation.

Trouble Shooting

Finally some last tips and tracks you can take advantage of when it comes to common issues with the Google Ad Grant campaign.

  • Make sure the conversion tag is working. Look at the Tracking Status column in the Conversions Section. Hover over the Record Conversion messaging symbol to access the status. Follow the tips given in the hint box to rectify any issues.
  • Is the tag in the right place? From the Webpages tab you can access the full list of tracked pages. Look at each page where conversions are being recorded. Use the Google Tag Assistant to check for problems. (see image below)
  • Not getting any conversions but everything is in order? Double check the code has been pasted correctly and check for other applications or plugins that might be interfering with.
  • Google Ads remarketing and conversion codes look similar, so make sure you’ve added the right one. If you’re getting too many conversions, verify the count setting. You can do this by removing any doubleups. Use Google Tag Manager to remove duplicate tags. Remove tracing from the popular pages. Get your website path data from Google Analytics.

And there you have it, a complete guide to the Google Ad Grants. Think you might be eligible? Well why not start the process today and see the incredible changes it can make to your NFP.

Need help with your Google Ad Grants? Are you stuck, had your account suspended or you’re wanting to maximise the $10,000 in FREE ad spend?

Contact Us Here or Book A Discovery Call and let’s organise a time to see how we can help you and your organisation.



Tim is the Co-Founder & Director of Launchpresso Digital Marketing.

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