The Google Ad Grants Program gives qualifying nonprofits up to $10,000 of free advertising each month. It works by sharing your ads with people who are searching for nonprofits with missions just like yours. We’re very thankful that Google has made this program available to so many nonprofits and so many diverse causes.
Are you eligible for the Google Ad Grant? Let’s find out.
Are You a 501(c)(3)?
The first question to ask yourself is if you are a nonprofit. I’m guessing if you’re reading this article, you probably are. In the United States, that would be designated by a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt status. This status is a prerequisite for Google Ad Grant eligibility. We’ll talk about some caveats in terms of organizations that are tax-exempt by default, but not 501 (c)(3) by default, and how to address that.
Hospitals, Schools, & Government Agencies
The second question to ask yourself is if you are A) a hospital, B) a school or a college, or C) a government agency. If you are one of those three organization types, unfortunately, you are not eligible for the Google Ad Grant. However, if you’re a college or a school, you are eligible for a different program called Google for Nonprofits, which doesn’t have the Google for Ad Grant benefits, but it does have some other features that you can take advantage of. Additionally, if you are a college or school, you may have a 501 (c)(3) foundation, which is eligible. The Grant can be used to promote the work of the foundation, fundraising for the school, and so forth, but not your classes. Also, if you are a research lab that’s a separate entity associated with a college, then you are eligible and can promote your research and fundraising for your research, but cannot promote the college or the university itself.
One of the caveats mentioned earlier applies to churches or religious institutions. Churches are tax-exempt by default under American law, but they are not 501 (c)(3)s by default. They essentially have 501(c)(3) status without having to apply for it. So if you are a church, you are eligible for the Google Ad Grant. You’ll just want to make sure that you’ve applied for and received 501(c)(3) status from the IRS. Your accountant or your lawyer can talk to you about that.
These are specifically the rules for the United States. The Google Ad Grant is available in dozens of countries, and the requirements for those countries can be found here.
Verifying Your Nonprofit Status
In the United States, and in many other countries, your nonprofit status is verified by an organization called TechSoup. When you apply for the Google Ad Grant, one of the first steps you’ll have to take is to create or log in to your TechSoup account and get a token. This token verifies your nonprofit status, which is how Google determines whether or not you might be eligible for the program. This is a very important step to keep in mind.
What if You’re Not Eligible?
If you’re not eligible, you can still benefit from Google advertising through a paid Google Ads account. There are some benefits of having a paid Ads account in terms of the other ways that you can advertise; however, the con is that you have to actually pay for those ads. It is definitely worth looking into if there are lots of people searching for what you provide online, and they would have a lot to gain by learning about your work.
If you have questions, are unsure about your eligibility, or you’re applying for the Google Ad Grant and you’re running into issues, please feel free to drop us a line. We’d be happy to help you think through that and make sure that, if you are eligible for the Google Ad Grant, you are able to benefit from it.