The Google Grants Program: Click Here For Charity

“…Everything Counts In Large Amounts.”  Depeche Mode

I am on the Board of Directors of Search Engine Marketing Professionals of Portland (SEMpdx). One of the stated aims of our organization is that board members are to use our collective internet marketing abilities and talents to support local non-profits. Recently, one such non-profit approached us and asked for our help to create an effective PPC campaign that would make the highest and best use of their Google Grant money. I gladly stepped forward and offered my assistance. When I looked closer at their situation, I discerned that under the terms of their Google Grant, Google funded their AdWords account so that they could receive up to $10,000 worth of complimentary clicks for each month the grant remains in effect.

Just in case you missed that, let me repeat myself: This organization was granted up to $10,000 worth of complimentary clicks each month the grant remains in effect.

Wow! What an amazing gift.

Not knowing anything about the program, I delved into its details ( listed fully here):

Who can qualify for a Google Grant?

U.S. Organizations that have 501(c)(3) statuses are eligible for a Google Grant. Non-profits in 12 other countries are also eligible. Organizations that have a religious or political focus, or organizations lacking a website won't be considered. To apply for a grant, the organization must submit this application . An organization might have to wait up to six months before finding out whether they receive the grant. Grants are made for a minimum of three months…they can run longer at the discretion of Google, but the length of the grant isn't stated at the time of approval.

What restrictions are placed on a Google Grant?

  •   Maximum $1 bid per click.
  •   Organizations can't have AdSense accounts.
  •   Google requires notification if “revenue generating ads” are on the website that has received the Google Grant. Such ads aren't explicitly banned in the program policies, but I wouldn´t recommend risking your Google Grant with banners.
  •   For ads promoting products and services, 100% of the proceeds generated must support the organizational programs.
  •   Organizations that wish to get up to $40,000 worth of clicks each month will be invoiced for 5% of the spend between $10,000 and $40,000.

A Google AdWords specialist had attempted to set up some campaigns for the organization I started working with, but the quality of the effort left much to be desired. Nobody at the non-profit had any clue how to use AdWords effectively, so without expert help, the organization would receive little beneficial impact from the grant. I suspect many Google Grant recipients are floundering because they don't have a clue how to generate measurable results from their campaigns. A Google Grant poorly managed would be akin to placing a Fender Stratocaster in the hands of a beginning guitar student…the potential far exceeds the end result. This would be a shame because the gift used wisely can provide awesome social good.

PPC Campaign Management for Charity

If you are an AdWords whiz, I encourage you to assist a non-profit in the application & management of their Google Grant. A $10,000 per month Google Grant in the hands of an expert PPC manager can provide tremendous visibility & opportunity for that organization to further its mission in the communities they serve. If you encounter a non-profit that has already received a Google Grant and is struggling with its management, I encourage you to help them out.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.


February 15, 2007





Todd Mintz is the Director of Internet Marketing & Information Systems for S.R. Clarke Inc., a Real Estate Development and Residential / Commercial Construction Executive Search / Recruiting Firm headquartered in Fairfax, VA with offices nationwide. He is also a Director & Founding Member of SEMpdx: Portland, Oregon's Search Engine Marketing Association.








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