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Taking Advantage of Google’s $40,000 Grant for Nonprofits

The following is a guest post by Amanda Chaney of Search Mojo, the firm we use to help with our Google Grants.

Amanda Chaney

When GuideStar first started engaging with Search Mojo, they were already working with the $10,000 grant offered by Google to use for advertising with Google AdWords. Our main goal was to help optimize and expand their AdWords account to meet the requirements necessary to move up to the $40,000 grant level. By having those increased funds, you have more bandwidth to help meet the internal goals of your organization, giving you the ability to help your cause even more with noextra cost.

After we helped GuideStar get approved for the next level of funding, AdWords spend increased 250%, which resulted in an increase of ad impressions (number of times an ad is shown on Google) by 148% and clicks (people who clicked the ad and visited the GuideStar site) by 201%.

So what are some of the challenges we see nonprofits run into during this process, and how do you overcome them?

$1 Keyword Bid Limitation

Advertisers are limited to a $1 bid per keyword, making it difficult to compete with other organizations that may be advertising outside of the Google Grants program.

With GuideStar, we overcame this issue by expanding the account significantly, turning our focus to longer-tail keywords (as opposed to one or two-word keywords that are more general, and competitive, incurring higher costs-per-click) and more niche areas of GuideStar’s focus areas.

Spend At Least $9,500/Month for Two Months

A lot of nonprofits have a hard time keeping spend up on the weekends; the way the grant is set up, you cannot make up for that lost spend during the week. You just have to make changes and increase spend on the weekends in order to help reach the $9,500 spend level per month for two months within a twelve month period. Note: These two months do not have to be consecutive. Google wants to see that you are doing what you can to spend as much of that money as efficiently as possible before they consider giving you more funding.

If you are a nonprofit who services areas outside of the U.S., show ads in those locations, as well as the States. This will ensure searchers in those areas have a better chance of finding you and will give you, the advertiser, a better chance of reaching your goal of attracting more visitors to your site as well as reaching your spend requirements within AdWords.

One thing we helped GuideStar with was expanding their account to have more campaigns, ad groups, and keywords. This is something that tends to be time consuming for advertisers, but if done with your target audience and end goals in mind, will bring great results in getting more people to your site, giving you the chance to convert them into donors.

Tracking Performance

Tracking performance is typically a big challenge with nonprofits. Be sure to monitor your performance and make changes to your account to improve those results. To reach the next grant-level, you’ll need to prove you are tracking conversions (such as donations or email sign-ups) and monitoring how they’ve fluctuated since you started using the grant money.

GuideStar already did a great job of tracking conversions within their AdWords account, as well as their linked Google Analytics account. We helped paint the picture for Google on the Google GrantsPro application how exactly they were using the grant money to better their cause, and how they were working to manage that money to the best of their abilities.

Check out the Google Grants support site for more information around Google Grants and Google Grantspro, or find me on Twitter @amandadchaney or email me at if you are interested in engaging with Search Mojo to manage and optimize your Google AdWords Grant account.

I’ll be speaking on August 2 at 2 pm ET about the Google AdWords program. Register here.

Amanda joined Search Mojo in November 2008 and serves as an Account Director, managing both SEO and PPC campaigns for clients. She develops the SEO and PPC strategies for her clients and manages the daily tactics to improve performance and manages an account management team. Amanda graduated from James Madison University with a degree in Business with a Marketing concentration.

Topics: Nonprofit Programs