A Guide to Google Ads Grants

If you haven’t heard of it before, the Google Ads Grants scheme is amazing. Google offers non-profit organisations $10,000 (£7,688.25 at time of writing) worth of ad spend, every month, on Google Ads. The opportunities to reach more people, recruit more volunteers and have more impact are huge!

I can hear your thoughts from here, there must be a catch, right? Well, you’ll have to qualify as eligible, of course, and Google do stipulate how you can use your grant, but no, there isn’t a big catch.

Where’s My Free Money?!

First you’ll need to apply to Google For NonProfits, with specific requirements depending on where you’re based. We’ll assume that’s in the UK, so:

  • Registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, or for Scotland, Northern Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man or Falkland Isles.
  • Or, registered with HMRC as tax-exempt.
  • You must also be registered on tt-exchange, part of TechSoup.

You’ll be ineligible if:

  • You are a government organisation or entity
  • A hospital or health care organisation
  • Or, a school, university or other academic institution. Google has a separate Education grants fund for this.

Getting officially recognised as a non-profit by Google can be a bit of a drag as there are several hoops to jump through. It is, however, worth it.

Reaping the Benefits

Before you dive straight in, it’s important to say that managing a Google Ads Grant PPC account is vastly different from managing a normal PPC account. Because Google is giving you free ad spend, they are quite fussy about how and where you use it.

The $10,000 monthly budget applies only to Google.com and cannot be used on any of Google’s Search Partners. You’ll only be allowed text adverts as well which will preclude you from using the Display Network.

You won’t be able to bid on any keywords with a Cost-Per-Click (CPC) above $2, and you won’t be able to bid on one-word keywords, even if that is your brand name. Google will keep a close eye on your account to ensure you are only bidding on key phrases that are highly relevant to your charity as well.

With all these restrictions and rules, it can sometimes actually be harder to spend the $10,000 than not. Which is a worry, as if you fail to use the monthly spend Google will eventually take it away.

Keeping Google Sweet

Luckily, we’ve known Google long enough and managed enough Google Ads Grant accounts to know how to make them sing.

Because you aren’t spending your own money you should be less worried about Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), so there’s less need to include lots of negative keywords. It’s better that your adverts show and contribute to your monthly budget. Don’t forget about negative keywords completely though, as you’ll also need to keep your Click Through Rate (CTR) above 3% to continue qualifying for the grant.

Being limited to a $2 CPC means you’ll need to get a little creative when choosing which keywords to bid for. You’ll struggle to compete on keywords which may be closer to 5 or 6$ per click. This is where experience comes in, and we turn to long-tail keywords to find relevant traffic. These typically have much lower CPCs and are therefore much easier to compete on.


Despite all the fussy regulations and stipulations, we love Google Ads Grants. We think it’s a huge power for good. $10,000 a month could make such a huge difference to thousands of organisations, especially if they’re struggling to reach the right audience, get the right message out, or simply raise more funds.

You can see how we helped Dartmoor Zoo with Google Ads Grants here.