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  • Writer's pictureNonprofit Learning Lab

Google Ad Grants for Nonprofits: Myths Debunked

Updated: Jun 9, 2023

This is a guest blog and is posted with permission from Janelle Kuhlman, Google Ad Grants Program Manager at Google.

Google Ad Grants connects people to causes through free Google Ads. With $10,000 per month in free Google Search advertising, eligible nonprofits can create meaningful ads to raise awareness, attract donors and help people around the world. Over 16+ years of the Ad Grants program, a number of misconceptions have developed amongst the nonprofit community. The following content will address a few of these common misconceptions.

MYTH: Small organizations can not compete with large organizations on and will not see a benefit from running Google Ads via the Google Ad Grants program.

REALITY: Google Ads rewards relevancy. In fact, small local Grantees that use location specific keywords and targeting may show before large national organizations. Many Grantees operate in a very competitive advertising field. To stand out from the crowd, especially during critical times of the year such as year end giving season, nonprofits can consider investing in a paid Google Ads account to bid on competitive keywords and extend their reach.

MYTH: Google Ad Grantees can not invest in a paid Google Ads account because the ads will compete with one another.

REALITY: We welcome Ad Grantees to invest in a paid Google Ads account. Paid accounts are a great way to extend impact and access additional features such as remarketing and video ads. Ad Grants and paid accounts will not compete with one another because Ad Grants ads appear only in positions below paid ads. Please note if a nonprofit has a Google Ads account that has payment information associated with it, the account is not eligible to be activated as a Google Ad Grants account.

MYTH: Google Ad Grants can only be used for non-commercial use.

REALITY: Commercial activity must not be the purpose of a Grantee’s website. However, Google Ad Grants ads can be used to drive traffic to products or services that have a fee if the website describes how the nonprofit uses the funds. Grantees can set values for conversions to be able to gauge the total value driven by Ad Grants ads for different conversion types such as ticket sales. This empowers Grantees to identify and focus on their highest value conversions.

The Ad Grants team hopes this content clarifies any program confusion and helps nonprofits achieve their goals with Google Ads. Please share comments on other misconceptions that should be addressed below. The Ad Grants Help Center article on this topic can be found here, refer back for updates.

Christine Lee, Head of Engagement, Ad Grants at Google will be leading a workshop at the Nonprofit Lab in Oakland on 10/17. Want to learn more about Google Ad Grants? Check out the workshop at



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