Google Grants: An Underutilized Marketing Option For Nonprofits - Bliss Drive

If I told you that Google offered as much as $10,000 in free advertising to nonprofit organizations every month, would you believe me? The answer, according to the data released by Google, is that most nonprofit marketing directors wouldn’t.

Google Grants, Google’s free advertising program for charities, rewards nonprofits with as much as $10,000 per month in free advertising. The only problem is that it isn’t exactly well known – in fact, most nonprofits never even try the program.

Those that do aren’t exactly making use of their full budgets. Despite giving away a total budget of $10,000 per organization, most nonprofits spend an average of $300 per month on Google’s program. Hardly an effectively utilized marketing resource.

The reason for Google Grants’ lack of success is simple: it isn’t quite Adwords. Due to a few small restrictions – namely a $2 cap on PPC bidding – Google Grants is used by just 5,800 charities around the world.

In order to stop Grants from interfering with Google’s core advertising business, the free advertising budget comes with two restrictions:

  • Adwords advertisements placed using Google Grants face a maximum bid of just $2 per click. This is implemented to stop Grants ads from outperforming paid advertisements from Adwords advertisers.
  • Adwords advertisements placed using Google Grants can never show up in a higher position than natural Adwords ads. This means that ads paid for using Grants constantly struggle to receive impressions on competitive keywords.

Add these two factors together and you have a problem: most advertisers that apply for Google Grants want to spend their budgets, but a lack of impressions and a strict bid limit makes it difficult for them to do so.

When you’re bidding on keywords that attract $5 bids – many charity keywords fall into this category, particularly mainstream charities – it’s not exactly easy to spend your budget.

No wonder Google Grants’ average monthly spend is just $300 – a pretty pathetic figure, particularly when you consider the program’s potential. For most charities, Google Grants is a nice thought that fails massively in its execution.

Thankfully, however, it’s still possible to make use of your Google Grants budget by changing your advertising strategy. Google Grants isn’t Adwords, and the sooner you can recognize this, the sooner you’ll be able to make better use of your budget.

For most advertisers, the $2 bid limit is a death sentence. For smart advertisers, it’s a blessing. Instead of targeting mainstream keywords, shoot for long-tail keywords and indirectly related search terms to receive thousands of clicks at a lower bid.

Here’s an example – instead of going for the obvious keywords like ‘charities based in Los Angeles,’ bid on informational keywords like ‘countries most affected by food shortages.’ Indirect keywords related to your mission are a volunteer goldmine.

Targeting indirect or informational keywords also allows you to avoid Google’s limit on high-ranking Adwords placements. Since most informational keywords have few ads – if any – you’ll consistently receive impressions from your search keywords.

We understand how difficult it can be to work within Google’s strict guidelines, and we’re here to help. If you’re interested in getting more out of your Google Grant, try our Google Grants service today.


Questions? Call us today!