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Historical Info on Google AdWords GrantsPro: Going from $10k to $40k

As of September 2016, the Google AdWords GrantsPro $40k grant application has been closed without notice of when it will re-open.

GrantsPro History

GrantsPro was first introduced in 2010 as an add-on to the Google Ad Grant. In 2013, Google abruptly closed the application. In June 2014, the program reopened for new applicants and remained open until September 2016, when it closed again. Nonprofits that previously had the grant will be allowed to stay at the $40k per month level.

Why was this important?

Many industry experts advise nonprofits to spend approximately 10% of their operating budget on marketing and communications (almost 70% go directly into programming at most places). The Google Ad Grant is great because it allows many organizations to far exceed that number without detracting from the programmatic investment.

  • In the United States, there are over 1.5 million tax-exempt nonprofits, but approximately 500,000 over them have less than a million dollar budget. That’s a third of all U.S.-based nonprofits that have what is considered a small nonprofit budget.
  • If you are an organization at the higher end of this group, with say a, $900,000 a year budget, GrantsPro can increase these organizations’ potential advertising budget from what at 10% would be a possible $90,000 a year to closer to $500,000.

GrantsPro would provide a budget that far exceeds what most organizations can afford to set aside from your programmatic budget. What does that mean for your nonprofit? More visibility, more impact, more potential donors.

Applying

If and when GrantsPro begins accepting applications again, here’s some advice on how qualify:

  1. Track Conversions: Your website needs to be tracking conversions in AdWords and have at least one conversion (although it is a good idea to have at least 20 conversions before you apply) Make sure you track something substantial like newsletter signup or donations, not just a pageview.
  2. Hit Your Budget Cap: Why would you need GrantsPro if you aren’t fully utilizing the grants program? GrantsPro requires that you spend at least $9,9000 for two different months over the past six month period to be able to apply.
  3. CTR: You must maintain an average 1% Click-through-rate over a six month period. One way we always recommend raising your CTR is by having a branding campaign, which on average is typically about 10% higher CTR than other campaigns. Also keep checking on your keywords to pause or delete ones that are low performing.
  4. Biweekly maintenance: In order to get to a high CTR, you will need to also continually maintain the account. GrantsPro requires a dedicated person to actively manage the account.
  5. Additional Factors: Make sure you complete Google AdWords annual surveys they send you, be in good standing with the program policies, and fill out an application!

What is the application like?

While the application asks for some general information like your charity number and mission statement, there are a few substantive questions that are very important to answer. These include:

  • What are the top three goals of your organization?
  • How has Google Ad Grants impacted your organization thus far?
  • How will an increased budget impact your organization’s mission?

It’s very important to take the time to thoughtfully answer the questions. We have found that GrantsPro is becoming even more selective in who they bump up to the 40k level, with much of the selection being predicated on the quality of the account and your application. As a result, don’t just quickly fill out the application, make sure to thoughtfully go through your organization’s goals and data to to provide specific examples both on the impact since you have had the grant, and how you project an increased budget might make a tangible difference.

Other Pro Tips:

  • Make sure you are sending relevant traffic to your website in order to max the account for two months. Superfluous traffic just to hit the numbers will turn off the grant reviewers when they check your account. Tightly knit, connected campaigns are much more likely to succeed in the application process.
  • Wait six months to apply from when you initiated your account. So you have maxed the account the first two months you have AdWords? Superstar! Still, GrantsPro is likely to reject accounts that don’t have six months of data (in essence, prove you have fully maintained the account at above 1% CTR for a full six months).
  • The hardest month to max your spend is always February because your average daily cap doesn’t change but there are 2-3 fewer days to hit the cap. With the holidays and people away from their phones and computer more, December can also be a tough month. Keep this in mind when organizing your campaigns and try to take advantage of holidays rather than let them dip your budget.

Did you receive the grant?

Fantastic news! Your next steps should include creating new campaigns to use the increased budget. Then focus on increasing conversions and experimenting. Had you been focused on maxing the account and keeping a high CTR? Probably, but you now have the flexibility to key in on the ads and keywords that are sending the most relevant and engaged traffic to your site, so take advantage of it.
Need help? Learn some strategies by taking our course on Whole Whale University on the Google Ad Grant, where we will provide information on how to write awesome ads, where to find keywords, and how to measure your success. Whole Whale has managed tens of millions of Ad Grant dollars for our clients, and brought 10 clients from the beginning of creating an account through the process of gaining GrantsPro.
More questions? Need someone to hold your hand throughout this process? Tweet us and we’ll help you out.