Google Ad Grants for Nonprofits: How Your Church Can Get $10,000 of Free Advertising Money

Is your church looking to utilize ads? Learn how your church can receive a $10,000 Google Ad Grant

Susanna Fleming

Digital giving apps and tools

Did you know that your church is eligible to receive up to $10,000 in grant money for digital advertising every single month? You read that right: $10,000! 

I know – it sounds too good to be true, especially given how difficult it can be for churches to fundraise in the first place. If I didn’t already know about this impressive program, I would probably be asking, “What’s the catch?” 

But in this case, there really is no catch! Thanks to Google’s Ad Grants for Nonprofits program, all nonprofits - including churches - can apply to receive $10,000 dollars worth of advertising credit per month to use on Google’s search program. 

Once your nonprofit qualifies for and receives the grant, you can continue to access this monthly $10,000 advertising credit as long as you meet the program's eligibility requirements. What happens if you exhaust all your credits? You won't be asked to foot any extra bills. Your ads simply stop running until the next month rolls in, and importantly, no credit card information is required to run the program.

The Power of Digital Advertising for Churches

With such an impressive opportunity available to us, it stands to wonder why more churches don’t take advantage of Google Ads for Nonprofits. 

The truth is that many churches are unaware of the power of digital advertising when it comes to evangelistic reach. Churches will set up booths at Saturday markets, place signage on every corner of their neighborhood, and mail out hundreds of postcards to invite people to their Christmas program while completely skipping over the use of strategically placed online ads. Meanwhile, thousands upon thousands of people are using the internet every day to search for churches just like yours.  

Ready to take the leap and start using digital advertising to share the gospel? Keep reading to learn how you can apply for this incredible program and use it effectively!

The Mechanics of Google Ads

“Let’s Google it.” When it comes to search engines, Google is in the lead by a long shot. Need a good recipe for tonight’s dinner? Google it. Need to scope out the best schools in the city you just moved to? Google it! New to Christianity and looking for a church to visit? That’s right – you can Google it! 

And the reality is that Google is where many people start when looking for a new church. They open the search bar, type in something like “nondenominational churches in San Diego with young professional ministries,” and hit enter. When they do, they are presented with pages and pages of results that are relevant to their search. 

This is where Google ads really shine. Google ads will push your church’s website to the top of the search page, making it far more likely that the searcher will see your website link, click on it, and end up on your website. Google ads also allow you to skip past generic, short keywords (think “church is San Diego” and use long-tail keywords (“church surf ministry for teens in San Diego"), helping you run smart campaigns that target the people who are looking for a church like yours.

The goal is not to outperform other churches on Google, of course. The goal is to help people find the right church for them while also pointing them toward events and ministry opportunities that will help them grow. Is your church liturgical and outreach-focused? Do you have a knitting ministry or stellar young professional program? Google ads are a great way to let people know! 

How to Apply for Google Ad Grants for Nonprofits 

It is surprisingly easy to apply for Google Ad Grants for Nonprofits! Follow these easy steps to get started!

#1 Add Google Analytics to Your Website

Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic so that you can know how to better reach your online audience. This information will be crucial when  you are deciding what kind of ads to run on Google.

#2 Ensure Your Nonprofit Ticks All Eligibility Boxes

First things first: in order to be eligible for this grant, your church must be registered as a nonprofit in your country, such as the 501(C)(3) in the United States. While Google does have certain exceptions to nonprofits eligible for grants (schools or academic institutions, hospital or healthcare organizations, and government entities), churches are not on that list. Even so, these categories are relatively nuanced. If you have a daycare or preschool run by your church, Google is usually fine with that!

Next, your church website must meet Google’s high-quality standards, which you can view here

#3 Register Your Church on TechSoup

TechSoup is a platform specifically designed to assist charities, nonprofits, and libraries by facilitating access to donations and services from leading brands. Essentially, it operates as a security checkpoint for companies like Google, confirming that their resources are being directed to a genuine nonprofit organization.

Kickstart your journey by heading to the TechSoup sign-up page. Here, you'll input the necessary details, accept the outlined terms, and submit your registration. Patience is key in this phase as the validation process by TechSoup can sometimes extend up to a month. So, no need to worry if a response isn't immediate. Once you’re confirmed by TechSoup, log in to get your Validation Token. It will look something like this: 123s567@YourOrgName. Write it down so you can easily access it in the future. 

#4 Request a Google for Nonprofits Account

Head to Google for Nonprofits and select “get started.” Have your church’s EIN (nonprofit ID), physical address, and online contact information on hand. Once completed, you can sit back and wait for Google to determine your eligibility. Google says this takes anywhere from 2-14 business days.

#5 Activate the Google Ads Program

Once your application is accepted, you will need to activate your Google Ad grant. First, sign in to your Google for Nonprofits account. Under the Google Ad Grants section, click 'Get started' and input the website that your organization intends to use for Ad Grants. Once submitted, Google will check to ensure your website is secure.

Next, you'll need to complete the Ad Grants eligibility form, which is designed to identify organizations suitable for the Ad Grants program and to gather data that will help Google enhance your experience and efficacy. This detailed assessment, taking approximately 20 minutes, allows Google to understand your organization better.

After completing the assessment, navigate back to Google for Nonprofits and revisit the Google Ad Grants section. There, you'll find a checkbox confirming you have completed the eligibility form. Tick this, then click on 'Submit activation request' to submit your activation for review. The review process typically takes about three business days, after which you'll receive an email with further instructions.

#6 Launch Your First Campaign!

Once you've been approved for the Google Ad Grants for Nonprofits program, it's time to launch your first campaign! Try out a variety of keywords, and use Google Analytics to see what is working. Remember that you aren’t paying for your ads, so it is okay to experiment a little! As mentioned above, I recommend using long-tail keywords (e.g., San Diego church beach volleyball ministry) rather than short keywords (e.g., San Diego church). 

Importantly, make sure you only send traffic to the domain you applied with (your website), log in to your account at least monthly, and make changes every 90 days at the least. This will ensure Google does not suspend your account! 

Technology that Helps Your Church Grow!

Now that you know how to use Google ads to help your church grow, it’s time to make sure your church management software system is dialed in! Breeze Chms is a powerful software tool that will help your church stay organized so you can focus on ministry and people. Get started with Breeze here!

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