Google Grants have been around for a decade already and are still a great way for your organization to appear at the top of search results. That said, unlike in the early days, there are more requirements to keep the grant in compliance and that has caused many organizations to let their grants lapse.
If you don’t have a Grant and are considering applying, or if your organization’s is currently inactive, here are some things to consider.
Is your organization eligible?
Google does have some restrictions, but most arts organizations will find that they are eligible. Although, if your organization is part of a school, you will not be able to participate.
Governmental entities and organizations, hospitals and medical groups, schools, academic institutions and universities are not eligible for Google for Nonprofits, but philanthropic arms of educational institutions are eligible.
Set-up and management
Google has requirements to stay in compliance with the grant so proper set up and management is necessary. In a nutshell, you will need to keep your click through rate (CTR) at a minimum 5% which requires monitoring your keywords and making adjustments when needed.
If you are unfamiliar with Google AdWords, I recommend hiring a consultant or firm to get your account set up for you so that you have a good foundation. If you are willing to do a bit of learning, you should be able to manage the account yourself. (If you’re not comfortable with that, you can certainly hire someone to do the management as well.)
What you can and can’t advertise
Google Grants are designed to be used to promote the mission of your organization. Your ads can contain wording about your programs, impact, ways to support. However, any ad copy that is expressly about selling tickets for an event will be disapproved. Google AdWords is a powerful tool for selling tickets, but you will need to set up a separate paid account to do that.
I am a proponent of having a Google Grant because it is free money. However, it may not be right for every organization’s goals or you may not have a staff member willing to manage it. If you are able to put in a little bit of time each month, you’ll see results.