Google Ads

How to use free Google Grants to advertise your NGO

Every day, 3 billion people search for information, products and services on Google. What if you could put your NGO in front of the people looking for exactly what you have to offer?

Whether it’s the chance to support your cause, buy your services, add their name to your campaign, attend your event or just share your story, many NGOs are already successfully using Google Grants to increase their visibility, their volunteers and their donations.

What is a Google Grant?

Google Grants offer eligible NGOs free advertising space on Google, allowing you to strategically display your charity’s chosen message to people who are actively searching for NGOs like yours.

Any UK-based registered charity can receive $10,000 (approximately £8,000) in AdWords advertising every month for free.

What can you use a Google Grant for?

1. Raise awareness about your cause by choosing relevant keywords. For example, 6,600 people search for ‘Syrian Refugees’ on Google every month. Unicef and UNHCR are using this interest to increase visibility of their work and traffic to their websites thanks to their AdWords campaign.

Syrian refugees google screenshot

2. Find volunteer support for your office or your next fundraising event. When someone searches for “Volunteering in London”, there are currently 1,300 people searching for the term, but only one International Development NGO appearing for that keyword, as shown below.

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Volunteer support google screenshot

3. To promote your Challenge Event to the public. Put the message in front of the right people by making a free targeted ad on Google, as these NGOs have done below:

Ride London google screenshot

4. Sell your products or services. Use your Google account to promote products or services to increase income for your cause. This is only available if 100% of the proceeds go directly to supporting your programme. There are currently 1,600 people searching for “charity gifts” every month.

Charity gifts google screenshot

How to register and create your first advertising campaign

Sign up to the Google Grants programme here. Once your application is approved, follow the four key steps outlined below to create your first AdWords campaign.

Let’s say you want to use your Google Grant to attract individual donations from the public.

1. Keyword research: to know what words people are searching for, you can log on to your AdWords account. Under “Tools”, you’ll find the “Keyword Planner”. Add any keyword you think your audience might be searching for and Google will tell you the demand for that search term.

Google keyword research

2. Keywords: Choose as many keywords as you want for your campaign, but make sure that they are relevant to what you are offering. You should also choose the right keyword match type. For an eye health organisation, for example, use keywords like “donations for the blind”, “donate to the blind”, “blind charity donations”.

Google keyword match

3. Ad: Create an advert that new potential visitors and donors will see when they search for one of the aforementioned keywords on Google.

Create google ad

There are five boxes to fill out:

  • the Final URL: The landing page you want send the user to.
  • Headline 1: It’s recommended to include one of the keywords here. I’ve chosen ‘Donate to the blind’ (30 characters max.) in this example.
  • Headline 2: expand on what you offer to the visitor (30 characters max.).
  • URL Path: This is the URL that the user will see, which won’t necessarily match the one they will land on.
  • Description: This is your call to action. Use it to convince the user to visit your site. (80 characters max.).

4. Landing Page: It is important to use a structured and clear landing page so that your visitors can easily find what you advertised in your Google Ad. If you are seeking to fundraise, the user should be able to donate in just a few steps. WaterAid have a clear donation page.

WaterAid donation landing page

Success stories

Google showcases a range of case studies of NGOs who are successfully using their grants to improve their strategic goals. Read their stories and get in touch with Alvaro if you want pro-bono support with implementing your first Google Grant campaign.