Google Made Big Changes to its Ad Grants Program

Ad Words image. We're going to talk about maintaining the Ad Grants program for Google AdWordsThere’s Good News and Bad News

Google nonprofit offers some excellent free resources. You can get G Suite Services, a fundraising program, and up to $10,000 a month in AdWords credit through the Ad Grants program. 

With $10,000 in Google AdWords credit, you can connect with thousands of new people each month looking for your services. Even with a few restrictions on using your AdWords credits (like only being able to use search and not other programs like Display), it’s well worth your time if implemented properly. 

Big Changes in 2018 for Ad Grants

Max Cost Per Click (CPC) Lifted

Here’s the good news: Google no longer limits you to a maximum cost per click of $2.00. You’ll be able to manually set higher bid amounts or take advantage of automated bid strategies to maximize conversions. The value in that, is it allows your ads to be more competitive in high value ad auctions. With an appropriate bidding strategy and quality ads, you have a good chance to rank at the very top of top of the page.

Minimum Click-Through-Rates must be at least 5%

Image of getting more than 5% CTR in Ad Grant Program

Getting over 5% isn’t easy, but we have a track record of doing just that.

Everyone participating in Google’s Ad Grant program now must meet a 5% Click-Through-Rate (CTR) for their account. If your account falls below that 5% for two consecutive months, you could be removed from the the Ad Grants program and lose $10,000 a month in AdWords credit.  Google wanted to give nonprofit organizations a bit more leeway by lifting the CPC cap, but in return, they’ve made a an aggressive move to force quality improvement for ads in the program.  Compared to for profit businesses with average rates typically in the 1% to 3% range, a 5% CTR is a pretty aggressive requirement. Google says they’ll offer support to at-risk organizations, but the message is clear: Low performing and low quality ads just won’t cut it anymore (not that they were ever okay). This change will certainly put some programs in trouble. 


There were a few other changes too:

  • Ad Grants accounts must have specific geo-targeting to show ads in locations relevant to your nonprofit.
  • Ad Grants AdWords accounts must have:
    • At least 2 active ad groups per campaign each containing a set of closely related keywords and 2 active text ads
    • At least 2 sitelink ad extensions
  • Many single keywords are prohibited (with a few exceptions

How can you stay in the Ad Grants program and keep the $10,000 in AdWords credit?

There are a couple good ways to do this:

Invest in Professional Development

There are plenty of people out there willing to teach you how to do AdWords well (for a price). You can also go through the Google’s AdWords Certification programs, now called Academy for Ads, use their resources, and build your skills (or the skills of your team). 

If you manage your digital marketing in-house, this may be a good solution for your organization. There may be a learning curve if your staff is new to the process but if you can afford the time and risk, it’s a great investment in your team. However, if you don’t already have someone on staff savvy in PPC (pay-per-click) marketing *and* you’re trying to balance numerous other priorities, this may not work. It’s hard to dedicate the time to learn and implement a great AdWords campaign. Trust me, as a former Development/Communications Director, I’ve been there.

Outsource your AdWords management to an Agency

For many organizations, this is the better solution. You’ll not only save time and money, you’ll also realize more value in having an expert handle your search engine marketing like AdWords. A reputable agency would also guarantee that you remain compliant with Google Ad Grant requirements. 

If you partner with Wilson Digital for your AdWords services, you’ll get:

  • An AdWords Certified expert to design your campaign strategies and write Ad Copy
  • An increase in web traffic, connecting you with more people interested in your organization
  • Ad campaigns focused on conversions and meeting your marketing needs
  • Guaranteed Ad Grants compliance or your money back*

Rates start at just $400 a month. Get started with your free consultation today. 

*for the month in which the program falls out of compliance.