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Spend Google’s Money: Google Grants for AdWords


Becoming an expert at Google AdWords can reap massive dividends. Companies in every industry, of every size, have used Google’s PPC program to boost both site traffic and site sales. Yet, many companies remain on the fence, willing to learn but not willing to potentially waste money with poor ads. However, if you work with a non-profit organization, you’re in luck – you can spend Google’s money instead.

Google has a program exclusively for non-profits called Google Grants. There is a whole suite of enhanced products your nonprofit can qualify for, but the real benefit is Google Grants for AdWords. What’s in it for your non-profit? $10,000 in AdWords spend every month – at no cost – with no limits on how long you can be enrolled in the program. For those unfamiliar with AdWords, that’s an exorbitant amount of money. Start screaming for joy now. When you’re done, keep reading.

Quick Note: If you are a government agency, school, or health care organization, you’re not eligible for this program. Schools have a separate portal for free Google money: Google for Education.

Now, this isn’t a Matthew Lesko program. There a quite a few caveats and things to remember. Here’s what you need to know. You can’t just walk into AdWords and start throwing money around like your favorite rapper does. Non-profits must formally apply for the grant. Part of the application requires you to provide various legal classifications, including:

  • Legal Organization Name
  • Must be 501c3 Eligible
  • Employer ID (EIN)
  • Non-profit Type (eg; F99)

This information will be verified by Google. If you attempt to bluff your way into the program, you will be denied. So, if that was your plan, sorry.

Once you’re approved, there are several rules you must follow to remain eligible for the Google Grants program. The most important aspect to be aware of is that CPC is capped at $1. That means you cannot make a bid higher than $1 for your ad to appear for a search term. This isn’t forced within the interface – it’s on the honor system. While that is a low bid for most high-traffic keywords, it does open the door to many other long-tail keyword opportunities. If you choose to gamble and go over the $1 CPC limit you run the risk of permanently being kicked out of the program. I believe the phrase here is, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” To view the full list of requirements, start here.

While there may seem to be a lot of rules and restrictions at the onset, it is more than manageable. The application process shouldn’t take longer than 30 minutes. Once you’ve been approved, read the regulations closely, don’t risk getting the boot because you didn’t read everything. You don’t even have to give Google a credit card number. You simply run ads and the invoice vanishes into thin air.

If you have questions, Google devotes extensive resources to support for AdWords. This is not surprising, since AdWords is Google’s leading revenue generator by far. Don’t fret about receiving less than stellar customer service because you aren’t paying for the service. I’ve personally been in contact with Google on behalf of a non-profit, and the customer service has been top-notch. I’ve even been given permission to run ads for keywords that aren’t typically allowed, simply because they’re a non-profit corporation.

If you’re ready to get free money from Google, all you have to do is ask! Head to the Google Grant Application. If you become hung up on the process at any point, or have questions about what to do once you’re enrolled in the program, leave a comment here. AdWords can seem daunting for a newcomer. Heck, it was daunting for us too once.

Pro Tip: If you feel that your Non-Profit would spend more than $9,500 a month twice in a 12 month period, you may be eligible for Google Grants Pro, which gives you a $40,000 a month ad spend. Yes, that’s a ridiculous amount of money. Yes, you can do it. Yes, WrightIMC can help.

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