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13 Tips For Managing Google Ad Grant Accounts

Google Ad Grants, the nonprofit edition of Google AdWords, is a fantastic program available to eligible nonprofits that provides them with $10,000 a month in free AdWords advertising.  The Google Ad Grants program solves the #1 problem that most nonprofits have and that is getting the message out. By providing nonprofits a substantial AdWords advertising budget, Google empowers nonprofit organizations to achieve their goals by helping them promote their websites on Google search.


Over the past few years, I have seen many nonprofits run into issues in setting up and managing their Google Ad Grant. The following list of tips will help you avoid some of the pitfalls and have a more successful Ad Grant account.


  1. Going into it, know that best practices for Google AdWords are especially crucial for a Google Ad Grants account.
  2. During initial set up, follow the steps exactly as outlined in the Google Ad Grants Account Creation Guide. IMPORTANT - Be sure to click the blue ‘Get Started’ button – it takes you to a special sign up page just for grantees and makes the process much easier.
  3. Do not submit billing information at any time. If you do enter your credit card information then the account can no longer be used as an Ad Grant account and you will have to create another new account for use with the Ad Grants program. Additionally, you will be financially responsible for any charges that accrue on your submitted credit card.
  4. Set up a basic AdWords account first - there is no need to start out with a full AdWords account and this can even cause unneeded issues. Once your submitted AdWords account is approved for the Ad Grants program, then fully build out the account. (See the next step for important information.)
  5. AdWords best practices are especially crucial for a Google Ad Grants account. (Yes, I am saying it again.)
  6. Max CPC is limited to $2 so ensuring a high Quality Score (QS) is important. (See points #2 and #5.)
  7. You are required to have mission based ads AND mission based keywords. Having ads or keywords that are not mission based can result in suspension of your AdWords grant.
  8. Grantee ads are served under paid advertisers in the Google search results. (This makes really competitive words even more challenging to rank on – again, see #2 and #5.)
  9. Make sure you are responsive to all emails from the Google For Nonprofits (G4NP) and Google Ad Grants teams. They only email you when it is important. (And be sure to share these emails with the person managing your Ad Grant account.)
  10. Affiliate ads on the website are a BIG no-no. This includes AdSense. (Note: although it is okay to have sponsor ads on your site.)
  11. The importance of a quality website with quality content cannot be overstated enough. (The same as point #5.)
  12. You CAN have a second “paid” AdWords account to run display, remarketing ads or YouTube ads.
  13. If you run into issues, simply post over in Google’s Official Ad Grants Help Forum – it is your best source for up-to-date information on the program we will be glad to help you out.



about Robert Coats

Product Expert/Top Contributor of the Google Ad Grants Help Forum. Owner of Kinsey Street Online Marketing, a Seattle-area Certified Google AdWords Partner that provides pay per click management services to businesses, nonprofits and government organizations in the US and around the world. Kinsey Street is also proud to be recognized as a Google For Nonprofits Featured Provider for the work that we do providing nonprofits with Google Ad Grants help.

August 2015

Amazing post! Thanks for sharing Smiley Happy

Julia M
August 2015

Thanks, Robert! This is very good starter. I have plenty of experience as for-profit Adwords manager, but never ran Grant Accounts before.

RobertCoats Top Contributor
August 2015

@Dj and @Julia M

Glad to hear that you liked the article on Google Ad Grant tips.


If anyone has any questions on Google Ad Grants feel free to let me know and I will be glad to answer them.

Simina D
February 2016

Thanks fot the tips! I have a question regarding tip no 7. Mission based ads & keywords compared to the mission as stated where exactly? I mean, as stated in the description of the NGO in the AdGrants application form? I mean, how does Google determine whether the NGO has mission based ads or not?

If Google uses that description in the form to determine if the ads have mission keywords, wouldn t it be a good idea to tell applicants that they should formulate the mission in terms that users might actually search for? (since we can not go back to that step afterwards)

RobertCoats Top Contributor
February 2016

@Simina D,

Thanks for the question!


The policy requiring mission-based keywords and ads is really pretty straightforward and is intended to ensure that grantees are running ads that are relevant to their organization. For instance, if the mission of your organization is to "save the barn owl" then you are not allowed to run keywords and ads that promote a "woodworking plans e-book". However, keywords and ads for "build a barn owl nest box" would be be allowed if you offered those plans on your website in an effort to educate about barn owls, their habitat and the benefits barn owls provide to an ecosystem.