Learn what your nonprofit can do to become eligible for Google Grants before applying.

Is Your Nonprofit Eligible for Google Grants? How to Apply

Did you know Google awards nonprofits with $10,000 in free AdWords spending each month? It’s true, all thanks to a program called Google Ad Grants.

With Google Grants, organizations just like yours get a monthly grant of $10,000 to spend on Google ads. When used effectively, this funding can go a long way to boost traffic to your nonprofit website and even increase donations.

If your nonprofit is looking to get started with Google Grants, the first step is to apply. In this post, we’ll walk you through 5 questions you need to ask during the application process to ensure your nonprofit obtains (and maintains!) your Google Grant:

  1. What is Google Grants?
  2. Are all nonprofits eligible for Google Grants?
  3. What can my nonprofit do to become eligible for Google Grants?
  4. How does my nonprofit apply for a Google Grant?
  5. Can my nonprofit lose its Google Grants eligibility?

Applying for a Google Ad Grant doesn’t have to be complicated. Just follow our guide and you’ll be on your way to your new AdWords account in no time!

Bonus! Already have your AdWords account set up? Learn how to manage your Google Grant and see better results by reading this essential Google Grants management guide from the consultants at DNL OmniMedia.

Before exploring Google Grant eligibility, make sure your nonprofit understands what the Google Grants program is.

1. What is Google Grants?

Before you can start the enrollment process, you need to be clear on what exactly you’re applying for.

Put simply, Google Grants (also known as Ad Grants or AdWords Grants) is a program wherein Google provides eligible nonprofits with an in-kind donation of $10,000 in monthly AdWords funding.

But let’s back up even furtherwhat exactly is Google AdWords in the first place?

Google AdWords ads are the paid search results that appear at the top of your search results screen based on the keywords included in your query. Here’s an example of what that might look like:

Your organization can use Google Grants to create ads that appear at the top of Google search results.

In order to see your ads appear here, your nonprofit can bid on relevant keywords using your Google Grant money. 

Of course, there are certain parameters for Google Grant recipients, including a $2 cap on your maximum bidding amount and a requirement that all keywords must be relevant to your cause. These restrictions mean that you won’t be able to spend your money on exceptionally high-traffic terms (think: “animal rights organization” or “wildlife sanctuary”) or terms that are entirely too general (think: “free eBook” or “donate to nonprofits”), but it also means that you’re likely to see greater results from the ads you do run.

Google Grants come with a host of benefits for organizations who know how to maximize their funding, including:

  • Greater visibility and reach for your nonprofit.
  • Increased traffic to key landing pages on your site (such as your donation form or volunteer information page).
  • Free promotion for your online content, including your blog or educational resources.
  • Potential for online donations, volunteer sign-ups, event registrations, and email list subscriptions!

Depending on how you plan out your AdWords strategy, you can use your ads to complete nearly any goal you have in mind. The options are endless!

The bottom line: Google Grants is a highly profitable marketing tool that almost all nonprofits can take advantage of with very low risk. Through this program, you can put your name in front of thousands (if not millions) of new eyes every day—why wouldn’t you take advantage of that?

Not all nonprofits are eligible for Google Grants; find out which organizations can't receive Google Grants.

2. Are all nonprofits eligible for Google Grants?

Google Grants can be an exceptional resource for many nonprofits, but it’s important to know that not all organizations can take advantage of this program.

Specifically, the following types of nonprofits are ineligible for Google Grants:

  • Schools or educational institutions.
  • Government organizations.
  • Hospitals or healthcare organizations.

Google does have similar philanthropic resources for educational institutions, or you could check out our list of school fundraising ideas if you’re raising money for an educational organization.

If you’ve made it past this first barrier to entry, you’ll also need to consider other requirements Google has in place to enusre that all nonprofits receiving Ad Grants are legitimate charitable organizations. To qualify for a grant, your organization must:

  • Hold valid charitable status in your country. In the US, you’ll need to be registered as a 501(C)(3) organization.
  • Be registered with Google for Nonprofits and TechSoup. (Not registered? We’ll walk you through how to get started in the next section.)
  • Have a functional website as recognized by Google.
  • Adhere to program policies for using your Google Grant funding. For example, you can’t use your AdWords money to promote anything outside the scope of your nonprofit’s true cause, and you can’t use the money to sell products that don’t contribute to your organization’s charitable efforts.

Google puts these standards in place to make sure that its grants are being given to valid, upstanding nonprofits who can actually benefit from the ads. Take some time to review their requirements as a team (or with your Google Grant management consultant) and make sure you’re up to code where it counts. If not, you can always look into alternate fundraising strategies!

The bottom line: Google Ad Grants are not given to all types of nonprofits. Your nonprofit must abide by certain criteria in order to receive AdWords funding, so make sure you understand their eligibility requirements before attempting to enroll.

There are steps your nonprofit can take to become eligible for Google Grants.

3. What can my nonprofit do to become eligible for Google Grants?

If your nonprofit meets the baseline requirements for receiving a Google Grant but isn’t quite ready to enroll, there are a few measures you can take to get your application approved on the first try.

The best strategy? Work with a Google Grant management consultant who can walk you through the application process from start to finish. 

These consultants (who often offer other digital marketing or fundraising strategy services) have experience identifying any issues that might keep you from receiving a grant, and can help make sure you don’t get denied on a technicality or mistake.

Plus, once you’ve been approved for your grant, the consultant can help you put together a strategy for maintaining eligibility and using your full $10,000 as effectively as possible!

With your consultant’s guidance, your team can take the following steps to get your organization ready for your Google AdWords application:

  • Register with TechSoup. If you haven’t already, make sure your nonprofit is validated with TechSoup.org. You may need to set up a new registration or claim an existing nonprofit account. Either way, this step is vital to Google for Nonprofits (and therefore, Google Grants) eligibility. It may take a few days to receive your validation, so make sure you add some wiggle room to your timeline.
  • Make sure your mission is clear. Both on your website and your grant application, your nonprofit’s mission should be front and center. Make sure Google can quickly understand what programs or efforts you’ll be using Google AdWords to promote. Note: it helps to have a concise mission statement on the front page of your site!
  • Update your nonprofit website. You’ll need to tie your Google ads to your website, so make sure it’s in good shape before launching your account. Your website should be as optimized for both search and user experience as possible, with relevant content that’s readable by Google. (Hint: follow our best practices and your site will be ready in no time.)

From there, you shouldn’t have much stopping you from securing your AdWords account and funding.

However, keep in mind that these requirements may change according to Google’s current standards. To limit any confusion or frustration, we recommend working with a consultant who can streamline the process. After all, it’s their full-time job to understand Google Grants, not yours!

Bonus! Want to learn about the nonprofit consulting process before you find your own Google AdWords consultant? Learn what to look for in a web consultant by reading this post from DNL OmniMedia.

The bottom line: There are steps nonprofits can take to increase their chances of receiving a Google Grant, such as optimizing their websites and double-checking their charitable status. For best results, it’s always wise to work with an expert Google Grant consultant who can get your application approved instantly.

Follow these steps to complete the Google Grants application process.

4. How does my nonprofit apply for a Google Grant?

Once you’re confident in your eligibility, it’s time to start the application process!

Luckily, when it comes to managing your Google Grant account, the application is the easy part. As long as you’ve got your eligibility in order, just follow these guidelines to get your enrollment started:

  1. Sign up for Google for Nonprofits. Along with Google Grants, Google also offers other benefits to nonprofits as part of their Google for Nonprofits program. Once you’re a registered “Google Nonprofit,” you can also access the YouTube Nonprofit Program, Google One Today, and more. This application is fairly straightforward, so expect questions about your tax ID, non-discrimination policies, and general contact and organization information.
  2. Register for Google Grants. After your application for Google for Nonprofits has been processed and approved (which could take several months!), you can access Google Grants from your Google account. You’ll simply need to choose whether you’d like to register for Google AdWords or AdWords Express, a lightweight version of AdWords that requires less hands-on management. For optimum results, we suggest choosing AdWords.
  3. Create your AdWords account. Follow Google’s steps for account creation. You’ll need to enter some basic information first before you can get started creating your first ad campaigns, ad groups, and keywords. (Note: while you can set up your campaigns and ads yourself, a nonprofit consultant can provide greater insight into which keywords and campaign strategies can deliver the best results.)
  4. Have your account reviewed by Google. After you’ve finalized setup, you’ll need to submit your account for Google’s review using your account ID number (which you can find by clicking the person icon in the top-right corner of your account). Google will review your account to ensure it’s in line with its AdWords policies, and you’ll be notified of your approval (or any errors that need to be addressed) via email.

That’s it! In just 4 simple steps, your nonprofit should have everything you need to get started managing your account and seeing the results of your new ads.

The bottom line: To set up your Google Grant, sign up for Google for Nonprofits first. Then, you’ll be ready to work through the AdWords registration and approval process following Google’s guidelines (and with the help of your Google Grant management consultant).

Be careful to abide by Google Grant management best practices and policies so your AdWords account stays active.

5. Can my nonprofit lose its Google Grants eligibility?

After setting up your account, managing your account and maintaining your grant eligibility is an ongoing process. If you aren’t maintaining your AdWords account to Google’s standards, your grant funding may be suspended temporarily or indefinitely. 

To keep your account in good standing, pay attention to a few key requirements for your Google Grant:

  • Account activity. Google doesn’t give out money to organizations who aren’t using it! Show Google that you’re taking account maintenance seriously by logging in at least once a month and updating your account every 90 days.
  • Ad relevance and geotargeting. In addition to having ads that accurately reflect your nonprofit’s cause, Google also requires that all ads are targeted to a specific geographic location. That way, users only see advertising that’s relevant to them.
  • Monthly keyword evaluation. To keep your ads profitable, Google asks that you conduct their Keyword Performance Report once a month. This report can show you where your chosen keywords fall on Googe’s Quality Scale and help you optimize your keyword list for best results.
  • A minimum 5% click-through rate. In order to improve ad relevance and user experience, Google requires that all nonprofit accounts maintain a 5% click-through rate (CTR) after their first 90 days as a grant recipient. Accounts that don’t meet this requirement will be notified within their accounts, and the account will be suspended if this goal isn’t met for 2 consecutive months.

Though these are some of the most important eligibility and management requirements, they aren’t the only ones. It’s important that your team stays active in your campaigns and is consistently optimizing your AdWords strategy in order to maintain your account.

If these standards seem like a lot to keep track of, remember that you can always seek outside help of a consultant. They can manage your account for you, freeing up your time to other important tasks at your nonprofit.

The bottom line: Google requires that accounts meet certain requirements in order to remain active. By paying attention to these goals, you can make sure your account stays in good standing and is successful.

Google Grants can be one of the most valuable marketing tools your nonprofit has access to. Now that you know how to apply for these grants, you’re halfway to Google AdWords success!

Check out these resources for more insight into online marketing and fundraising:

  • Our Favorite Nonprofit Software. Finding the right technology can make a big difference in your nonprofit fundraising strategy. See our top choices for nonprofit software to find tools to complement your Google AdWords strategy.
  • DNL OmniMeida’s Top Nonprofit Websites. No matter how successful your ads are, you won’t see any boost to your online engagement if your website isn’t ready for visitors. Get inspired by checking out DNL OmniMedia’s favorite nonprofit websites.
  • DonorSearch’s Top Fundraising Consulting Firms. Ready to bring on the help you need for a stellar Google Grant strategy? Find a firm that can fit your needs by taking a look at the best fundraising consultants according to DonorSearch.

Blackbaud Online Express + Double the Donation Integration Guide

Does your nonprofit use Blackbaud Online Express for your online donation forms? Are you looking to incorporate matching gift information into both your Blackbaud Online Express donation pages as well as across your organization’s broader fundraising?

If so then this guide is for you.

Double the Donation’s Relationship with Blackbaud Online Express:

Blackbaud Online Express is a popular provider of donation forms and fundraising tools for nonprofits.

Double the Donation is the leading provider of employee matching gift data and tools to nonprofits.

This guide was put together to help organizations who use Blackbaud Online Express’s donation forms incorporate Double the Donation’s employee matching gift plugin into their fundraising pages and into their primary websites.

Please note that Blackbaud Online Express and Double the Donation are two separate companies.

Steps to Integrate Double the Donation’s Matching Gift Search Tool with Blackbaud Online Express:

At risk of stating the obvious, the below steps and screenshots are applicable to organizations which already have an account with Double the Donation (Premium Plan) and Blackbaud Online Express.

If you don’t have an account with Double the Donation you can learn more about our service or view our annual service fees and start a risk-free trial.

In terms of integrating Double the Donation’s matching gift search tools into your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy, there are two primary options:

  1. Adding our plugin to the confirmation page of an Online Express donation form
  2. Across Your Other Fundraising Channels (Use your other systems)

Let’s start by looking at how to incorporate Double the Donation’s plugin into an Online Express donation form.

Note: If you have already installed the Online Express donation form to your website, skip to Step #2.

Step #1: Log into your organization’s Raiser’s Edge account. Grab the Javascript embed code with the following instructions:


Step #2: Copy the Online Express Javascript embed code in the popup, and navigate to the page editor on your website where you want the form to appear. We’re going to modify the code by adding Double the Donation’s code snippet to the Javascript embed code. Add the following after the Online Express code:

Your page editor should now look like the following:

Step #3: Change the “XXXXXXXX” to the API Key as seen in your Double the Donation admin portal.

Step #4: Save the changes to the webpage, and view it in the browser. Test the donation form and ensure that the Double the Donation plugin appears on the confirmation page. It should look like this:

Your donation form now incorporates Double the Donation’s searchable matching gift database so donors can easily access company specific matching gift forms, guidelines, and instructions.


Next let’s look at how to incorporate Double the Donation’s matching gift plugin across your broader fundraising

Step #1: Create a dedicated matching gift page on your main website.

Create a dedicated matching gift page on your own website

This is all done by using Double the Donation’s primary matching gift plugin which can be found in your organization’s Double the Donation account management pages. You’ll want to use the following steps:

  1. Log into your Double the Donation account
  2. Access the embed code
  3. Copy the embed code to the dedicated matching gift page on your own site
  4. Our searchable plugin will automatically load

Add Our Matching Gift Search Directly to Your Own Website

Step #2: Direct donors to your dedicated matching gift page across your broader fundraising efforts.

Create a dedicated matching gift page on your own website

This includes in locations such as:

For our complete marketing toolkit which includes suggested marketing locations, downloadable graphics, sample wording, and examples visit https://doublethedonation.com/marketing-matching-gifts/.

Have Questions?

Use one of the following ways to learn more about Double the Donation’s service:

The Top 3 Political Contributions Search Tools

Top 3 Easy and Clever Political Contributions Search Tools

Optimize your membership application forms with this helpful guide!

Membership Applications: 5 Strategies to Boost Enrollment


Ready to start enrolling more supporters in your membership program? Download our membership applications guide to master enrollment strategies!

Supporters who make it all the way to your membership application are the superstars of your nonprofit. They care about your organization so much that they don’t want to just donate — they want to make a long-term commitment to your mission.

The last thing you want is for your membership application form to be so burdensome that it breaks that momentum. It happens more often than you might think!

To ensure that your nonprofit can bring as many members as possible on board without incident, you need to craft a membership application form that gets your constituents excited about joining, not annoyed at the effort necessary to complete the form.

Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered with these top five changes you can make to your application form to boost enrollment in your membership program:

  1. Ensure easy access to your membership application.
  2. Implement intuitive formatting on your membership form.
  3. Include the right balance of application form fields to fill out.
  4. Optimize the design of your membership application form.
  5. Follow up with those who complete the membership application.

Ready to revamp your form? Pull up your nonprofit’s membership or association management software, and let’s dive in!

Ensure that your supporters can reach your membership application.

1. Ensure easy access to your membership application.

The most basic hurdle your potential members have to cross before they even reach your membership application is finding it. Why make it hard for them?

Depending on the type of form you’re using, you have a few options for getting it in front of the right supporters:

  • Paper form: Send paper membership application forms in the mail to engaged donors, and ensure you always have some printed out at the ready at your front desk and at any events you host.
  • Online form: Link to your online form in emails, on your website, on your social media profiles, on event registration pages, and on your donation page. Some web-based membership application forms even embed directly into a website or email.

Online forms are much easier for your nonprofit to process, but you might appreciate having paper forms available in some situations (e.g., at fundraising events).

A majority of your members who fill out an online form get to it through your website instead of an email or social media post. You should pay special attention to your membership application’s location on your website. It should be hosted prominently, with its own tab in your main navigation bar, a link in website footer, and a plugin on your membership program information page, like in the following example image:


Make your membership application easy to find on your website.

Another highly effective place to include your membership form is your online checkout, especially if members in your nonprofit receive benefits such as discounts or priority registration for events. The right membership management software can integrate your membership application into the checkout process, applying any relevant benefits to the same purchase when membership is added to the cart.

Takeaway: Make sure your supporters can find your membership application without having to search for it.

Make your membership application form as easy to use as possible.

2. Implement intuitive formatting on your membership form.

Once your members land on your form, the challenge becomes keeping them there.

The easier you can make your form to complete, the fewer potential members who will abandon it.

With a paper form, you should make instructions as simple and direct as possible so you don’t have to waste time sending it back or calling to follow up on improperly formatted answers. In as many cases as possible, provide a discrete set of options for applicants to choose from instead of leaving them an empty field to fill out. Checking a box leaves less room for error and wasted administrative time calling to fix the problem.

See how a paper application form formatted with boxes where possible, like the following, would leave less room for error? When your staff is inputting the information from the paper form into your membership management database, they’re less likely to need clarification from the applicant:

Make your membership application as easy as possible to fill out and process later.

An online form offers many more opportunities to make application easy for your members and your administrative team. Your membership application form might be able to support some intuitive features but not others, depending on the software used to build it. If possible, though, you should try to include:

  • Conditional logic. Skip pages or populate information based on answers to previous questions on the form.
  • Auto-population. Fill in information automatically from a donor profile or the supporter’s browser.
  • Long time-out. If your supporters have to leave the form without completing it, make sure they can pick back up later where they left off.

The trick is to collect the information you need without asking too much of your members.

Bonus! These are also great features to include in your membership renewal application. To learn more about membership renewal, head over to Doubleknot’s guide to membership renewal letters.

Takeaway: Don’t make your membership application form too hard to fill out.

Don't discourage potential members by making your membership application too long.

3. Include the right balance of application form fields to fill out.

So what information is it you’re looking for? Since you know the value of a comprehensive member profile for future solicitations, you want to gather as much information as you can about your members from the get-go.

But if you overload your membership application form with too many fields to fill out — especially if you ask for information your members would have to look up instead of knowing off the top of their heads — supporters will simply abandon your form.

Striking the proper balance is key. Ask for enough information to inform your membership engagement strategy, but not too much to deter your supporters from completing the form.

Every nonprofit is different, but chances are, these are the only key pieces of information you actually need to start building a member profile:

  • Contact details (name, mailing address, phone number, email address)
  • Payment information
  • Membership level
  • Chapter affiliation, for larger nonprofits

See how manageable the application form below looks? It fits on one page on a standard laptop screen! With fewer fields to fill out, applicants are much less likely to abandon the process:

Don't overload your membership application form with an intimidating number of fields.

Don’t worry if there are other bits of information you might want to have, such as employment information or the name of who referred the new member to your membership program. You can always follow up later on and gather this information, like when it comes time for membership renewal.

Takeaway: Don’t flood your membership application with too many fields.

Use the design of your membership application form to boost completion rates.

4. Optimize the design of your membership application form.

Now that you know which fields you need to include on your membership form, it’s time to get into the design.

There are a few best practices you should follow no matter how you’re distributing your form, whether that’s on paper or on your website:

  • Brand your application to your nonprofit.
  • Emphasize benefits of membership on the form itself.
  • Keep your form short, no more than one printed page.
  • List contact information for questions that arise.

For online membership application forms, you might want to consider other kinds of design elements. For instance, including a progress bar so supporters can see how far along they are encourages them to complete the application.

Also dedicate some time to mobile optimization. You want your members to be able to complete your form no matter how big or small their screen is.

First, ensure that your form is mobile-responsive — that is, that it will automatically resize itself when displayed on a smaller screen. This mobile view should increase the size of fonts, buttons, and input fields to make it easier to read and click with a finger instead of a cursor. You should also use as many drop-down menus as possible (e.g., state, country, membership level).

Splitting your application into multiple short pages instead of one long page, like in the example below, also helps keep mobile applicants moving through the process:

Design your membership application to optimize it for online and mobile applicants.

If you think you’ll need some outside help with this type of coding, reach out to a nonprofit IT consultant. It’s worth taking more time now to boost your membership program later!

Takeaway: Design your application with online and, especially, mobile views in mind.

Link your membership application to your membership software to make following up easy.

5. Follow up with those who complete the membership application.

Your relationship with your members begins with your membership form, but it doesn’t stop there! You have to show your members that you appreciate their commitment and that your nonprofit is up to the task of managing their membership well.

An integrated membership application form sets your nonprofit up for success from the moment new members hit “submit” by:

  • Sending automatic welcome emails. The right software can pull contact information from the application form and populate the email with your new member’s name and membership level.
  • Populating a member profile. Especially if you provide a member directory and public milestone badges to your members, you should automatically set up a member profile for your new member and send them a link to begin personalizing it.
  • Streamlining payment processing. If you wait to process membership fees, you’ll appear unprofessional to your new members. Link your application form to your chosen payment processing solution to begin the process automatically.

The most effective (and popular!) of these strategies is a welcome email, like the one below:

Follow up by sending a welcome email to individuals who complete your membership application form.

While your membership application form itself can’t send emails or process payments, you can integrate your application form with other features through the right software solution.

Takeaway: Make sure to follow up with your new members right away.

With these membership application form strategies under your belt, you’re ready to overhaul your application and boost participation in your program! Don’t forget to download our free membership application samples below.

For more on membership, check out these additional resources on the topic:

  • Best Membership and Association Management Software. A great membership application is only the beginning of a great membership program’s operations. Make sure you support your program with the best membership and association management software!
  • Doubleknot’s Membership Renewal Letters Guide. Now that you’ve worked on recruitment with your membership application form, it’s time to devote attention to retention with your membership renewal letters. Check out this ultimate guide from Doubleknot for strategies and samples of the perfect membership renewal letter!
  • Doubleknot’s Member Engagement Guide. The team at Doubleknot can help keep your members in your program in more ways than one. Read up on top member engagement strategies with this essential guide for visitor-serving nonprofits like museums, zoos, and science centers!
  • Fundly’s Ways to Enhance Your Membership Renewal Letter. Can’t get enough about membership renewal letters? Head on over to Fundly for examples and tips to help you craft the most effective renewal letter for your membership-based nonprofit.