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AdWords for Canadian Nonprofits

Are you a registered nonprofit in Canada? Yes? Perfect! This is for you!


In short, Google for Nonprofits is an amazing program that offers qualified nonprofit organizations access to free versions of paid Google products (be sure to check the eligibility requirements). One service that’s particularly valuable is Google Adwords, which is a product that lets organizations show ads with Google. Through Google for Nonprofits, they will grant you $10,000 per month to put towards advertising.


Although this is a great opportunity for free advertising, the setup process for Canadian customers can become rather complex or frustrating at times.


Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 3.20.17 PM.png



To save you from the wait times, rejection, and headaches, below you will find step-by-step instructions broken up into the three major phases.


Phase One – TechSoup Registration


To get the ball rolling, all Canadian Nonprofits need to register on TechSoup. TechSoup is a third-party website that verifies your organization as a registered Nonprofit in Canada.


  1. Go to the TechSoup Website > Register Here
  2. Fill out the application form
  3. Create a new account
  4. Once logged into your account, go to Validation Token > Add a new Token > Follow the steps. Your Validation token should look like 123a4567@1b234c5de6789000
  5. Copy this token


Phase Two – Google for Nonprofits Registration



  1. Go to the Google for Nonprofits site and begin your registration
  2. Enter your TechSoup validation token
  3. Agree to all the terms. Prove you are not a robot!
  4. Wait for approval. In some cases this is instant; in others you have to wait 1-2 days
  5. Once you are approved, click “Sign Up Now”
  6. Click “Enroll” under Google Ad Grants


Phase Three – Google AdWords


This is the most important part of the process. Every step must be followed precisely, or your application could be declined.


  1. Click the “Get Started” button on this page to begin. You must use this button rather than going straight to the AdWords website.
  2. Enter your email
  3. Select “Canada”
  4. Enter your time zone
  5. Most importantly, select US Dollar as the local currency, regardless of your local currency
  6. Save and continue
  7. Select “AdWords”

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 3.20.32 PM.png

Next, you’ll create your first campaign:


  1. Create and name your first campaign
  2. Choose “Search Network Only
  3. Uncheck the box next to “Include Search Partners”
  4. Choose your target location
  5. Select “I’ll manually set my bids for clicks” > Default bid $2.00 > Budget $329 per day
  6. Name your ad group and enter your landing page
  7. Add keywords that are closely related to your organization and campaign (adding unrelated keywords can be cause for rejection)
  8. Create and save a text ad. Make sure this also relates to your organization and the keywords you just entered (failure to do this can also result in rejection)


From here it can take anywhere from 1-14 business days for the application to be approved. You will get an email once approved!

Kristina W
April 2016

This is a very helpful article! Easily walks you through step-by-step how to get set up on Google Non-Profit.


Thank you!

Mahfuz C
April 2016

Helped me setup grants for many organizations. Thanks for all the help!

Constantine I
April 2016

This is awesome Julia. It's very difficult to find Canadian content.

Thank you for sharing with us.

Victoria A
July 2016

Awesome!  Went through, got TechSoup, did my first test ad and all!


How do I know that it's been approved? I see in the "Status" column that we're "eligible" so does that mean we've been approved?


It keeps asking for billing information, though. Is there a way to turn that red banner off at the top? It says my account isn't active because I haven't given billing info...


Thank you!

Julia I
July 2016

@Victoria A Amazing! You're on the right track! 


Once you've been approved for the grant you will get a notification.


As for that annoying red banner, you just have to leave it there until you've been approved! It can take up to 7-10 business days for it to be approved. If that time elapses and you still haven't gotten your approval - you have more than likely been declined and have to srtart again. But if you followed all the steps you should be great! 

Victoria A
July 2016
Thanks for letting me know! Will wait for the 7-10 business days and see
what happens Smiley Happy
Jenna A
November 2016

@Julia I, I'm trying to set up my Google Adwords. When I go to set my budget, in step 5, it still comes up in Canadian Dollars, even though I said American. Will this make a difference? 

DigiComm W
April 2017

We're a hospital in Toronto Canada (not-for-profit and a charity) that has had a Google Ad Grant for years. We're concerned now that with Google's new eligibility requirements, as a hospital we are no longer able to access the program. Can anyone shed some light on this? TechSoup canada doesn't seem to have any answers and we are at a loss on how to confirm this with Google Canada.

Julia I
April 2017
Hi There!

I would love to help you out and try and figure this out for you.

Please feel free to email me at and we can
figure this out!


*Julia Isslamow*

[D] (416) 479 0177 X 205

Have a sweet day
Jens D
June 2017


I'm a parent and volunteer for a small non-profit preschool that offers German bilingual programming in Alberta. Would be be classified as a childcare center or a school and as such be ineligible for ad grants? I read somewhere that other preschools were successful, because they were church-sponsored, but I don't really see the rationale behind that distinction.