How to Apply for the Google Ad Grant in 5 Easy Steps

Google Ad Grant

Updated 2024

Most grant applications for your nonprofit are long, complicated, and stress-inducing for your entire development team. Not the Google Ad Grant:  Google’s grant for qualifying nonprofits give $10,000 in free in-kind advertising on Google Ads… per month. Free advertising can be a fantastic source of extra traffic to your website, helping to meet users on their level by answering their questions, all while furthering your organization’s impact. And, unlike most grants, Google grants also have a very simple application process. Here’s how to apply for the Google Ad Grant — in 5 easy steps.

Moby the Whale in a mortarboard pointing at a chalkboard with the Google Ad Grant symbol on it

5-week Cohort

Google Ad Grant Cohort

Learn how to get the most out of your Google Ad Grant

1. Meet the Google Ad Grant eligibility requirements

You must be a nonprofit and hold current valid charity status in your country. In the US, that means that you need to have 501(c)(3) status. Not in the US? Check your country’s definition for charity status.
There are, however, some exceptions. You don’t qualify for the Google Ad Grant if you are a:

  • Hospital or healthcare organization (nonprofits working in the healthcare space, such as lung cancer research or aphasia awareness, still qualify)
  • Government entity or organization
  • School, academic institution, or university (check out Google for Education for its schools program). Philanthropic arms of educational institutions are eligible.

You also must acknowledge and agree to Google’s required certifications regarding nondiscrimination and donation receipt and use — and have a live website with what Google calls “substantial” content. You can review up-to-date eligibility requirements on Google’s site.

2. Enroll in Google for Nonprofits

Eligible? Awesome. Next step is to register for the Google for Nonprofits program. This process includes submitting some information about your nonprofit and getting verified by one of Google’s partners (currently, Google is partnered with Percent). You’ll need to be an approved part of the Google for Nonprofits program before you can access the Google Ad Grant.

After you submit your request to the Google for Nonprofits program, Google will contact you via email to confirm your verification. Be sure to make note of which email address you used to register for the program. Google says you can expect to wait 2-14 business days before getting an email with a verification confirmation. We’ve seen 95% success with nonprofits we’ve worked with, so unlike other nonprofit grants, this isn’t one you need to lose sleep over.

Easy, right? That’s the full Google Nonprofit Program application. But there’s a bit more to do to apply for the Google Ad Grant. Which brings us to…

3. Activate the Google Ad Grant

Once you’re accepted as a Google Nonprofit, you can follow the steps below to activate the Google Ad Grant. Follow Google’s Ad Grant activation guide to make sure you’re not missing any steps:

  • Sign into your Google for Nonprofits account and click “Get started” under Google Ad Grants. Submit your website domain.
  • Watch the welcome video and check the box indicating you did so.
  • Click “Submit activation request”
  • Wait! Google will email you next steps in about 3 business days.
  • You will never need to create a Google Ad account – Google will create one for you and share the account info with you via email.

    4. Log in to your new Ad Grant account

    Once you get an email from Google approving your Ad Grant activation, you’re almost done! Follow email and in-platform prompts from Google as they come through to finish setting up your account. These steps typically require that you: 

    • Accept the email invitation to a new Google Ads account. You will be the administrator of this account and can use it to set up and run your campaigns.
    • Accept Google’s email invitation to set up your Google Payments billing profile. This is a required step but you will not be charged. Do not enter any payment or credit card information. 
    • Sign into your new Google Ads account and follow and setup steps or prompts. 

    Once you’re logged into your account, you can start spending up to $329 per day in free Google Ads placements. The application is done, but we would be remiss if we didn’t mention an important last step…

    Moby the Whale in a mortarboard pointing at a chalkboard with the Google Ad Grant symbol on it

    5-week Cohort

    Google Ad Grant Cohort

    Learn how to get the most out of your grant in our five-week cohort. New dates coming soon!

    5. Set up your Google Ads account correctly

    Check out our resources, online course, and live cohorts to learn more about how Google Ad Grant works and how to go about setting up your account from scratch. Make sure you’re complying with all of the Ad Grant requirements, including:

    • Logging in and making some change to the account at least once every 2 months (hopefully more!)
    • Maintain an account-wide 5% clickthrough rate and a keyword quality score of 2 or higher
    • Only send traffic to your website — the domain you applied with. For additional domains, fill out the application to request approval. 
    • Complete Google’s surveys about the impact of the program (usually at the end of the year)

    From there, your next challenge is to always be optimizing your ads! Keep working on it over time to improve the account and get even better bang for your (free) buck.