Are you making the most of your Google Ad Grants account? (Most charities aren’t.) 

A little known fact in the non profit sector is that you can get up to US$10,000 worth of in-kind advertising through Google’s Ad Grants program.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen that far too many charities are either unaware of the program or not making the best use of it.

Is your organisation leaving dollars on the table? Here’s what you need to know to bring maximum value out of that free advertising spend.

How does the Google Ad Grants program work?

Google offers in-kind advertising spend to qualified charities on Google Ads, through the Ad Grants program. With it, you can run search engine marketing (SEM) ads up to the value of the grant.

Google Ads work with the searcher’s intent. Unlike social media ads where people are served ads based on interests and patterns, Google Ads are served specifically based on what people are searching for. For example, if someone does a Google search for ‘how to help refugees’, they could be served an ad to volunteer or donate to a charity working with refugees.

Advertising via Ad Grants can help you get your cause and fundraising campaigns in front of potential supporters, but you’ll need to produce relevant and engaging content to answer their search query.

So, here are some things to be aware of:

1. Make sure your content is relevant. When a searcher clicks on an ad, they should arrive at a landing page that’s firstly, relevant to the ad they’ve clicked and secondly, answers the inquiry they initially searched for on Google. For example, if your ad is for information on different types of cancer, then don’t use your organisation’s homepage as the landing page for the ad. It should link to a page with information about different types of cancers so it answers the question the searcher was asking.

Ideally, this page should also offer some kind of action or way for the reader to stay engaged with your charity. To get the most out of your Ad Grants, you may need to develop this page content first. It doesn’t need to be complex or lengthy, but it does need to be highly relevant.

2. Organisations that have a special focus do better. This is one to keep in mind when planning your searchable content. Is there a topic you can position your organisation as an expert in, to answer questions people have? For example, The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute’s website has a large library of medical information that searchers with medical queries may find useful.

In these circumstances, where an organisation has relevant content for searchers, we would recommend creating Google Ads to direct searchers to a landing page within their website that answers the searcher’s initial enquiry. From there, the searchers can gain familiarity with your organisation and the value you provide to the community, and may even engage further with your organisation through a donation or e-newsletter sign-up.

3. Relying solely on Ads to push traffic to your new fundraising campaigns can be tricky. Campaigns like Dry July, for example, have broad awareness and so people will search specifically for the branded terms ‘dry july’. However, if you’re just launching an event, or are running a campaign that is not well known, people are unlikely to be searching for your event on Google, and therefore your campaign shouldn’t rely heavily on search ads.

Going back to the first point, your search ads should first and foremost be based around people’s search intent.

There you go – three quick tips to get you on the right track with your Google Ad Grants account. If you want to learn more about how the program can benefit your organisation, or need help with an audit and strategy plan for your existing Google Ad Grants program, please get in touch.

We’d love to help you make the most of this free advertising program and reach the right audience for your organisation.