10 things learned from running $10,000 a month Google for Non-Profits campaign!


Google for Nonprofits offers charitable organizations in more than fifty countries an opportunity to apply for a Google AdGrant. If qualified, Google provides $10,000 USD per month to use for AdWords advertising. And, if successful over time, the nonprofit may qualify for  $40,000 per month with AdGrants Pro.

  1. Partial List of Eligibility requirements for the AdGrant:

  • Link ads to the domain name the AdGrant was applied for
  • Daily ads limit $329 = $10,000 per month
  • 00 max CPC (cost-per-click)
  • Advertising on Google Search Network Only
  • Keyword targeted ads
  • Monthly login and at least one change per 90 days
  1. Install Conversion tracking: (TIP)

Install conversion tracking on a “Thank-you” page to capture people who complete the action process.

Conversion tracking enables nonprofits to understand how those responding to ads are connecting to products and services.

There are several different ways to install, including adding the tracking code to the appropriate section of the website or using Google Tag Manager.

Test to be sure conversion tracking is working. One way to check is by using Google Tag Assistant Chrome extension. This extension troubleshoots various tags, including Google Analytics, Google AdWords etc.

Google Adwords 1

  1. Add extensions (TIP)

(Followup to check they are working): Here are three to consider:

Add relevant and useful extensions for both desktop and mobile (at least 10 each). For example: create sitelink extension links to specific pages on the website you want people to visit.. Check results to see how Ad Position is affected

In this example all of the sitelink extensions appear to rank well in terms of ad placement. Yet, the CTR is below the desired minimum 1% for the AdGrant.

Looking more closely, the CTR for mobile is doing very well and the desktop sitelink extensions are not. Instead of deleting the desktop sitelinks, disable them and test at another time.

Reviewing again a few days later, the sitelink extensions are not driving the CTR, instead it is  the headline. Good information to know and to consider for further adjustments.

  • Call Extensions: (TIP) Schedule call extensions to show when staff are available to answer calls. If your nonprofit relies on direct customer service, this is potentially useful for driving phone calls and providing the answers your donors and customers are searching for.

Excellent tool to use if volunteers, donors or donees are local, or your organization server a large area.

  1. Connect Google AdWords to.Google Analytics

Understanding audience, website, social media channels and how different parts an pieces of an organization connect together are key to making the most of your AdWords account.

  1. Daily check-in: (TIP)

Review campaigns daily.

There are many moving parts in AdWords campaigns and it takes time to learn what works and how the components work together. For example, an campaign may resonate well with audiences during the week but not on the weekend. Or, an AdGroup may stop performing because of Keyword competition.

  1. Quality Score - (QS)

As defined by Google “an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords and landing page.” QS has a range of 1-10 out of 10. Ads that have good landing pages and are relevant to your users tend to have a higher QS.

Google Adwords 2

  1. Befriend The “Bubble”

Bubbles are tiny little boxes that lead to a wealth of information. Located in the account in places like Keywords, Extensions and Ad Status, Bubbles help provide an understanding of ad components and areas for improvements.

Google Adwords 3

  1. Think Counterintuitively

Having the budget an AdGrant provides initially appears to be equivalent to hitting the jackpot. On the other hand, you are competing for ads on a small, $2.00 CPC budget and a daily limit of $329. While it may be tempting to “set it and forget it”, AdGrants require thoughtful consideration to maximize the potential. Here are a few tips:

  • Opportunities: Google will auto suggest opportunities that are tailored to a “regular” AdWords account. Take time to consider if that opportunity makes sense for nonprofit goals. For example, raising the budget may not be practical given the daily limit and may also affect the timing of ads.

Google Adwords 4

  • Quality Keywords over Quantity: (TIP) Test Google Keyword suggestions with a separate “Test” Ad and see how they perform before adding to an ad that is already working well.

Adding 710 suggested keywords (see example below) may not make sense for a campaign or relate to a particular landing page. Keeping 6 -10 Keywords per ad tends to work well and allows a quick understand how an ad is performing.

Google Adwords 5

  1. Keyword Matching: (TIP)

Try using Broad Match keywords to reach a larger audience.

  • Carefully considering keyword matching options like Phrase-Match, Exact-Match and Broad-Match allows control over how ads are shown in search. View the keywords that triggered an ad by looking at Search Terms:

Google Adwords 6

  1. Embrace Patience:

Non-profits often operate with small teams and on limited budgets. Their Director and team members are likely wearing many hats and may have different priorities, experiences and time tables. Other consultants may be part of the team as well. Be prepared to contribute the extended knowledge that you bring to the table and work with other team and board members towards the rewarding and common goal of the non-profit.


Implementing Google AdGrants for a nonprofit is one of the most rewarding projects I’ve had in my career. A deeper dive into AdWords and Analytics to more specifically reach donors and donees and taking advantage of other parts of the AdGrant including YouTube and Google Generosity continue the journey. Stay tuned for additional updates!

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