How Google Grants Can Bolster Your Fundraising Strategies

Tobi Nifesi • Apr 13, 2022
Google Analytics for Nonprofits

Google Ad Grants are an incredibly versatile marketing tool. Created in 2003, the Ad Grants program was designed to help nonprofits amplify their most important engagement opportunities through Google Ads. 

You simply determine the keywords your prospects are searching online, then develop ads that target those terms and inspire users to click through to your website to learn more. If configured correctly, your ads will be displayed at the top of the search results pages for those terms, directly connecting you with qualified prospects.

Any organization deemed eligible for Google Grants is given $10,000 every month to promote their digital content, attract new prospects, and increase visibility for their work. 

While this will naturally increase your marketing budget, the program can also drastically impact your revenue in other areas. To help you fully understand how Google Ad Grants can fit into your fundraising plan, we’ll cover three goals you can work toward when configuring your campaigns.

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Start Your Google Ad Grants Journey Here

Use this free Guide to Google Ad Grants for Nonprofits to learn best practices on how to apply for and make the most out of your Google Ad Grants.

Crafting high-performing campaigns starts with determining the goals you want to reach through Google Ad Grants, whether that’s increasing donations or boosting event registrations. From there, all you have to do is pick the right landing pages and opportunities to promote. Let’s dive in!

1. Boost Your Nonprofit’s Website Traffic

One of the primary purposes of the Google Ad Grants program is to enhance each grantee’s web presence and bring attention to their work. No matter what content you promote through your Google Ads, any link a user clicks on will lead to a page hosted on your nonprofit’s website.

While simply getting users to click through isn’t enough to bolster your fundraising efforts, there’s a lot you can do to inspire users to read the content, browse other information on your site, and eventually contribute to your work.

Getting prospects to visit your site is just the beginning. Your content should encourage them to explore involvement opportunities on your site. Even if your ad promotes an educational resource on your site, well-placed CTAs can inspire them to click through to other pages to learn more. 

For example, let’s say you promote an educational page regarding your nonprofit’s latest project to care for orphaned elephants in Africa. While the post might lay out the details of your work, the CTAs you include might link to your donation page and encourage users to fund that specific project.

Beyond inspiring users to explore your site, increasing your website’s traffic will do the following:

  • Generate brand awareness.
  • Increase your authority in the space.
  • Improve your organic rankings for terms related to your mission (i.e., how well your pages rank without promoting them through Google Ads).

These benefits will ultimately translate into support for your work. So, before getting started with Google Ad Grants, make sure you’re avoiding poor website quality and instead creating a hub of information that prospects will find useful.

Make Your Nonprofit Website Convert Better and Work Smarter

Watch this free on-demand webinar to learn how to improve your conversion rates for donations and volunteers by optimizing your nonprofit’s landing pages and website.

2. Increase Digital Donations

While increasing your site traffic is beneficial, the real value lies in conversions. For example, Getting Attention’s guide to Google Ad Grants explains that a valuable use case for the program is sharing donation and sponsorship opportunities to increase funding.

Many nonprofits promote their donation pages through Google Ads, which is a great idea! This is the most straightforward way to increase your fundraising revenue through the program. While several nonprofits promote their donation forms using Google Ad Grants, know that this is a high-risk (but also high-reward) approach.

Depending on the keyword, someone who encounters your ad may not be ready to donate without additional information. That’s why you should consider the user intent behind different keywords if you want people to donate.

For instance, someone who searches “donate to prevent climate change” will be more likely to give immediately than someone who searches “how to fight climate change.” For the first, you’d likely direct users to a donation page.

For the second, you might benefit more from promoting an educational article about climate change prevention measures, then directing users to donate to your organization as an easy first step.

A snapshot of a Google Ads about Climate Change Solutions
An Example of How Google Ads Show Up on Search Engine Optimization Pages

Both strategies will lead to more donations — how they accomplish that simply varies.

For terms higher in the sales funnel, it’s safer to direct users to a general page on your website, such as with the example above. There are a few reasons you might do this, including:

  • You’re asking the visitor to do less. A user may interpret visiting your donation form as a commitment to give. Instead, direct the user to a page where they can learn more about your cause first. They’ll view clicking educational content or a page about your work as less of a commitment. Then, they may wind up donating if they feel inspired by the page’s content.
  • You’re positioning your organization as a trustworthy figure. Cultivating donors can take time. By sending users to content other than donation forms, they’ll trust they can come back to your website at any time to learn about your area of work.

You don’t always have to send users directly to a donation page to get them to give. Instead, you can cultivate a relationship with them and teach them the information they want to know before they donate.

Although, if you identify a good opportunity to drive users directly to your donation page, understand that a poorly designed form will negate the work you put into your Google Ads. If users are inspired enough to click through but are met with a lengthy donation form, they’ll likely abandon the page. They might even return to the search results and visit one of your competitors’ promoted pages.

Improve Your Donation Page with this FREE Checklist

Use this checklist to ensure your donation page’s content, messaging, and designs meet the industry’s best standards.

3. Promote Your Fundraising Events

While nonprofits consider how their ads will benefit them in the long term, they frequently overlook the opportunity to promote one-off events. Especially with the shift to virtual events, Google Ad Grants present an incredible opportunity to promote your fundraising galas, fun runs, and other events you host. 

As an experienced fundraiser, you know that events are proven ways to kickstart lasting donor relationships. They provide registrants with something valuable in return for their contributions and offer the opportunity to interact with your team. However, you have to be strategic about promoting events through Google Ad Grants. 

Here are some best practices you’ll want to keep in mind so that your grant money is put to good use.

a. Consider the dates during which you want your event ads to run.

Since events are tied to specific dates, you’ll want to create temporary campaigns that only run during the appropriate time. That way, you’re not promoting an event that’s already over. You’ll also want to allow for plenty of time for your ad to run, which means creating those campaigns a few months in advance to give everyone time to see the ads and register to attend.

b. Use geotargeting to reach a local audience. 

For in-person events, you can make sure your ads reach a local audience with geotargeting. Geotargeting allows you to choose which locations you’d like your ad to show. That way, you’re not spending your grant money to promote opportunities to people who aren’t close enough to attend.

c. Optimize your event registration form. 

Considering that your ad will likely send users directly to your event registration form, take the time to ensure it provides all the necessary information that a potential attendee would need to know while also driving them to complete the form. For instance, you should:

  • Include the date and how proceeds will support your mission.
  • Only ask what’s necessary to keep the form short and scannable.
  • Group similar information into blocks (e.g., all questions regarding payment and billing should be grouped together).

Double the Donation’s guide to Google Grants agencies explains that you can outsource landing page optimization to professionals. They’ll choose which landing pages make the most sense for each ad, then adjust the page to drive more form completions. Ultimately, these professionals will help you develop high-converting campaigns and position you to get the most out of your Google Grant account.

Takeaway: Promoting your events through Google Ads can launch your developmental efforts forward. Put thought into your strategies, and you’ll boost event registrations and kickstart valuable relationships in no time.

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Manage Your Grant Applications with this FREE Template

Use this grant application management template to stay abreast of the various streams of support at your nonprofit organization.


Free advertising is only one way Google Ad Grants will impact your nonprofit’s budget. Through Google Ad Grants, you have a lot of control over your campaigns so long as you comply with the program’s rules, whether you want to boost donations or event registrations. With a bit of effort, there’s no better way to intertwine your fundraising strategies with your marketing efforts than with Google Ad Grants!

If you’re looking to bring this opportunity into your fundraising efforts, double-check whether you’re eligible, then apply for the Google Grant program. Then, by spending plenty of time optimizing your campaigns, you’ll see a gradual increase in conversions, support, and revenue for your cause.