By James D’Ambrosio

Most people know Google as the go-to Internet search engine, along with Reader, Docs, News, Places,  Analytics, etc. But have you heard about Google for Nonprofits? 

Google for Nonprofits provides qualified organizations a variety of offerings and resources to expand their reach and impact. One component is Google Grants, helping 6,000 organizations promote their Web site via advertising on Google. Grantees receive an in-kind advertising account (Google Adwords) for outreach, fund-raising and volunteer recruitment, worth up to $10,000 per month in Web advertising (the average is $300).


Adwords is Google’s online self-managed advertising program where  organizations build an account by creating and monitoring text ads. Upon program acceptance, a nonprofit creates a Google Grants Adwords account. While grantees receive instructions in establishing an account, it’s very helpful to have a staffer experienced in online advertising. Having created Facebook and LinkedIn ads, I can tell you there’s a learning curve.  


 To be eligible for Google for Nonprofits, an organization must: 1) hold current 501 (c)(3) status as determined by the IRS that must be publicly updated in Guidestar’s online database (copies of IRS letters are not acceptable); 2) agree to the application’s certifications discussing nondiscrimination and donation receipt and use; 3) be based in the United States (organizations outside the U.S. must research Google’s country-specific programs); and 4) only one membership per organization is allowed (with a few exceptions). Important exclusionsGovernmental entities and organizations; hospitals and health care organizations; and schools, childcare centers, academic institutions and universities are not eligible. However, charitable arms of educational institutions can apply.     


The following guidelines apply: 1) you must have a Web site and ads must link to a page on that site; 2) keywords targeted must be relevant to your programs and services; 3) your Web site cannot display revenue-generating ads — Google Adsense or affiliate advertising links — while participating; and 4) once an account is active, organizations must actively manage their ad campaign as per program specifications.


The application asks for sample keywords, ad copy, and a short statement of how your organization will benefit from participation. The Google for Nonprofits committee, comprised of Google employees, reviews applications and selects grantees on an ongoing basis — you should know within five months if you’re approved. Participation is open-ended: there’s no limit on how long you can remain in the program.


As a member of Google for Nonprofits, you’ll also have access to You Tube for Nonprofits, Google Earth Outreach Grants, Google Apps for Nonprofits, a  monthly newsletter, access to online resources, special offers, and online training materials. 

Google Grants and Google for Nonprofits are programs of some complexity; a full discussion is beyond the scope of this article. For further information, click these links: Google Grants, Google for Nonprofits, Google for Nonprofits Help, Google for Nonprofits Discussion Group. ______________________________________________________________

QUESTIONS TO READERS: Did you know about Google Grants prior to  this article? If you’re already participating, how has it helped?

2 Responses

  1. Hello there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group?

    There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Many thanks

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