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Google Grants for Nonprofits

Posted by admin on 3/23/2011


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Google Grants could be the missing pillar of your nonprofit’s digital strategy. As of June 2010, Google had awarded over $600 million in grant money to nonprofit organizations, and they show no signs of slowing down. Because of this, we’ve helped nonprofit clients make the Google Grants a key feature of their digital strategy.

The Google Grants program is essentially free Google Adwords for nonprofits. To be clear: $10,000 in free advertising a month, from Google, for non-profits.

Basically here’s how Google Grants work: Nonprofit organizations with a 501 C-3 status are eligible to apply to Google to receive $10,000 per month in Google paid search dollars. That breaks down to about $330 per day in Google ads. These are the same ads that appear next to organic Google search results in the right column and above the search box. Like business clients who bid for ad placement next to Google paid search and pay on a per click basis, nonprofits can advertise in the same space, for free.

There are a few differences, like nonprofits are limited in their bids, presumably so they don’t out bid actual paying customers for the most valuable words. Also the grant money has to be spent in a single day, so you can’t save it up over time, but the grants run indefinitely.

So what does this mean?

Let’s assume for this blog post that a paid search click from Google costs $1 (most of the time it’s less but it’s capped at $1.00 for Grants). Under the basic Grants program, that would equal a maximum of 330 clicks to your nonprofit’s website per day. That’s 2,310 per week and 9,900 clicks per month.

We’ve worked with clients who were averaging 2,000 pageviews on their site a month pre-grant. In just over a month of active grant management, they were receiving 6,000.

If a nonprofit spends $9,500 of their available monthly $10,000 in two of the last 12 months, they’re eligible to apply for Grants Pro, which equals an additional $30,000 a month in advertising.

This means a potential yearly ad budget of $480,000 for your nonprofit. This means being found online, competing in the same space as businesses with big budgets, finding new supporters and raising your organization’s profile.

The Google Grants program is perhaps the single most valuable tool we’ve identified to help nonprofits grow their web presence. There is literally no reason not to apply. I know this all sounds a bit too good to be true. So go visit the Google Grants program blog for proof, then apply.

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