Whenever I see such bold media statements – Google offers $200 million in ad grants for nonprofits fighting coronavirus pandemic, I wonder how we are sold to big numbers. There is a beautiful saying – “Nothing in life is free.” Leaving my pessimism aside, it is reported that Google will expand its annual ad grants commitment to $1 billion to support nonprofits fighting things like Covid-19 and racial injustice in their outreach efforts. The firm typically provides $800 million in ad grants for nonprofits every year.
The $200 million donations from Google follows an $800 million package it announced back in March to ease the financial pressures facing small and medium-sized firms, governments, and health workers.
I decided to give it a try, see how it works, and if there is a fine line.
Google for Nonprofits
Kiva makes microfinance personal by connecting lenders and borrowers around the world. These borrowers often do not have ready access to capital to grow their businesses, provide medical assistance or education for their families, or improve their overall livelihoods.
In order for Kiva to connect these borrowers to lenders and raise awareness, the Nonprofit organisation joined hands with Google and it’s efforts into the space of Nonprofits. In addition to the YouTube Nonprofit Program, Kiya began using Ad Grants to advertise their organization, which is now a major source of online traffic to their website. Kiva has also used YouTube to activate their community by encouraging their fellows, volunteers, and user community to create and upload YouTube videos every day.
Action Against Hunger – the Nonprofit organization leading the global fight against hunger for almost 40 years is another success story for Google. To aid in the fight against malnutrition, Action Against Hunger uses Google tools. Ad Grants and Youtube help enable Action Against Hunger to raise more money for programs and dramatically increase their reach with new audiences. (Fyi: I work as a digital consultant with Action Against Hunger India. I am an independent blogger and I don’t make money from this blog in any form.)
According to Google: “To aid in the fight against malnutrition, Action Against Hunger uses Google tools. Ad Grants and Youtube help enable Action Against Hunger to raise more money for programs and dramatically increase their reach with new audiences.”
Action Against Hunger uses Ad Grants as part of their emergency action plan when disaster strikes. For example, when Ebola became front-page news, Action Against Hunger instantly targeted keywords using their Ad Grants account to convert people searching for information into people taking action. The organization then uses Google Analytics to make data-driven decisions to improve fundraising and optimize user engagement.
Ad Grants brought 158,000 people to their website in the last 12 months and raised over $66,000. Action Against Hunger has raised over $20,000 from YouTube website referrals, which they were able to track through Google Analytics eCommerce tracking.
Benefits and limitations of Google Ad Grants
Once you are on the website of Google Ad Grants before applying do a quick scrolling on the listed benefits. “Google Ad Grants shows your search ads to people who are searching Google for nonprofits, share your message across the globe, or nearby you. It also makes it easier for people to donate for your cause and then you have the power of Google Analytics to consume a gold mine of insights.”
However, Google Ad Grants have some limitations:
- Your ads will be entirely text-based (no videos or images).
- They’ll appear only on Google search results pages, in positions below the ads of paying advertisers. These ads are not eligible to appear on the Display Network or search partner sites.
- The monthly budget is limited to 10,000 USD (INR 761,805) and daily budget to 329 USD (INR 25,063.38) which is still not bad even if you have to use it for text-based ads.
- There is also a maximum cost-per-click (CPC) limit of $2.00 USD for manual bidding.
Google has also listed tips for success with Google Ad Grants. These are the basic ad quality guidelines that one should be doing. If you have run ads on any platform then you are will be aware of these guidelines:
- Structure your account
- Create effective ads
- Choose the right keywords
- Target your audience
- Track what action people take after clicking on your ad
- Automatically set bids for your goals
Hit on this link if you need more detailed explanations on the above-listed action items from Google.
Applying for the Google Ad Grants
To begin with, you should be signed for the Google for NonProfits and see if your organization is eligible for the grant. Your organisation must hold valid charity status. Google says that it works with 20,000 non-profits across more than 50 countries. In order to qualify for a Google Ad Grant, your non-profit must be based in one of the 50 countries.
Once you are approved as a NonProfit, you will have to apply for the Google Ad Grant verification. Once applied, the review process takes three working days. If you have a working good website that follows the Google standards then chances are that you won’t be dissatisfied.
In India Google has tied up with BigTech to support the Google for Nonprofits program by validating Indian charities according to a global standard.
Once you’re all approved then you can start using Google’s tailor-made products for Nonprofits such as the G Suite for Nonprofits, Ad Grants, YouTube Nonprofit Program, and Google Earth.
Even if you are in two minds in using the Google products but a daily ad grant of INR 25,000/- for text-based ads is not bad at all. Club it will the Facebook grant and voila! you will have traction. After that, it is all on how you communicate to take the donor conversation forward.
P.S. Did the article give value to your time? If yes then can you do a one-time donation to my ongoing fundraising campaign for COVID-19. Donation Link. If no, then I will keep trying. I don’t give up easily. Thank You!