Nonprofits to Google AdWords Grant Program: Give Us More Time!

Time’s Up,” Charlie Wollberg

March 1, 2018; Reuters Technology News

Thousands of nonprofits all over the country have been racing to meet a deadline set by Google’s AdWords Ad Grant program in December. Many may not demonstrate the necessary five-percent click-through rate over two consecutive months. Doing so means making sure your nonprofit perfects the search terms under which it best fits.

The Ad Grant program provides around 35,000 nonprofits with a $10,000 credit each month to buy ads on its search engine. While the lucky recipients of these credits understand the action as a wakeup call designed to make the grants more effective, some worry that the short period to adapt to the new terms will leave them out in the cold for a while. Google says they have provided resources to help nonprofits reach these new goals. Overall, these efforts have worked; the average click-through rate in February was six percent.

“We revised our Ad Grants policies to help nonprofits be more effective with AdWords and improve the quality of their ads, which will lead to targeted awareness of their projects and mission,” a Google statement to Reuters said.

“We’re very grateful for the program,” said Conrad Contreras, communications manager for Greenlining Institute. “But five percent in two months, it’s just unrealistic.” Contreras said they made progress with the help of a paid search consultant, but in February, they were still at 3.5 percent. The American Forest Foundation made tweaks that doubled its clicks to four percent in just one month, but that still leaves the group in danger of a suspension.

Susheila Juggapah of CharityComms says that a digital marketing agency helped bring them to an above-average 7 percent, but that other, smaller organizations may not have been able to make that kind of expenditure for such a quick turnaround.

“I hope Google understands the limitations most charities face and is kind to those who cannot hit the requirements in time,” she said.

Meanwhile, here are some thoughts from a search consultant about how to meet the program’s standards. —Ruth McCambridge