Did you know that there’s free advertising money out there for churches? We’re talking about up to $329 per day, an amount that adds up to $120,000 a year!
The Google Ads grant is a free budget given to nonprofits by Google so that they can benefit from search engine marketing.
The online space is a huge and daunting place. There’s a lot of noise out there competing for people’s attention.
Wouldn’t it be great if churches had a way to cut through that digital static and connect with potential visitors? The Google Ads grant is that way.
Many churches already have enough problems with underfunding in the marketing and advertising department, so this program offers them a leg up in a challenging environment.
Are you interested? Let’s get into it!
What Is a Google Ads Grant?
A Google Ads grant is basically the opportunity to get $10,000 in free monthly advertising to promote your non-profit website!
Have you ever seen a paid search result from Google? Those prime spots, right at the top of the search results can be yours with a grant.
This is a no-brainer for any church that wants to save money on technology.
Is Your Church Eligible for a Google Ads Grant?
So who can use a Google Ads grant?
The grant is open to all types of nonprofit organizations – this includes churches.
The first requirement (which most churches already have) is 501(c)(3) status, i.e., a charity that the Internal Revenue Service recognizes as tax-exempt, as well as an Employer ID Number.
The secondary part of eligibility is a functioning website.
Stages in Google Ads Grant Eligibility
Send an application for membership to Google for Nonprofits. This can be done now or later when you create an ad.
Get proof of your charitable organization status.
Read the terms on non-discrimination and the use of donations, etc. Taking Google’s virtual money means you agree to these terms.
Check that your church’s website is up to par. This means it’s operational and has substantial content.
So far so good?
Great, let’s move on to the next stage.
Restrictions on a Google Ads Grant
While it’s not that difficult to get approved for a Google Ads grant, there are a few restrictions. These points should be kept in mind before you create any ads or accounts.
Here are the things to note.
- If your site has other banners, they should not take away from the overall content of the page. Make them as unobtrusive as possible.
- You can’t use an advertising grant for childcare centers or academic institutions, so a daycare or school run by the church is not eligible.
- If your site already has Google AdSense ads, it’s also ineligible.
- Any ads you create that are strictly commercial are prohibited.
- Ads must drive the user to a single domain. For example, your church homepage.
- In addition to the daily limit of $329 there are a couple other numbers to keep in mind. The maximum budget per year is $120,000, and per month you max out at $10,000.
- The maximum bid per ad cannot be more than $2.
- Your ad budget only applies to text ads in Google’s Search network. This means they won’t be displayed on YouTube, and they won’t be display ads.
- Campaigns must be keyword-targeted.
Creating Your Google Ad Grants Account
After determining eligibility, it’s time to create an Ads account and a campaign.
Choose a Google account to create the Ads account with, then go to Ads and sign up.
Now you’ll create your first campaign. This may look intimidating but many of the pre-filled options can be left as-is.
Pick a location
You may scroll down until you see Locations then choose the option that lets you write in a place yourself.
Use your city and ones close by to get the best value for money. Too broad a reach is not usually a good idea.
Pick a budget
At the bottom of the page is an option on how much to spend.
Leave the default option on that allows Ads to set your bids for you. They will do this within whatever budget you choose.
Remember that the limit for all Google Ads grant campaigns is $329 per day.
There are other options you can choose here, such as adding location info or phone numbers to your ads.
It’s a good idea to fill these in to increase engagement.
Now, save and continue.
Write a test ad
You’ll now be at the stage of your first ad group. Use Google’s examples for inspiration on ad creation.
There will be an empty box for you to enter keywords.
If your church is in Miami, Florida, for example, “Miami church” and “Methodists in Miami” could be a couple phrases to use.
Try experimenting with both short-tail and long-tail keywords. For example, “church in area” and “churches near me” would be shorter tail keywords, whereas “looking for a church in my area” is a longer tail keyword.
Google Ads doesn’t allow you to create keywords that are too generic (for example, “church”), so keep in mind that you might be asked to remove keywords that are too short and not specific enough.
For a tutorial on how to use keyword match types to improve your campaign performance, we recommend this helpful Ads guide.
The final step
At the bottom of the page, you have the option to set up billing later.
Choose this and you won’t have to pay anything, your account also will not be active just yet.
To streamline approval, the recommended structure is: One campaign, one ad group, one ad, and one or two keywords.
Submit your account/campaign for approval
Head over to get a Google for Nonprofits account. Click Enroll under Google Ad Grants and enter your Ads customer number.
Fill out the form and click sign up. You’ll hear back from Google in a day or two.
What Happens Next
Hopefully, you now have a sense of what the Google Ads grant can do for you and your church and how to get started.
The Google Ads Grant is an incredible opportunity and very easy to apply for, but you’ll need to treat it professionally and give it the attention it deserves in order for your account to thrive and not be penalized by Google for non-compliance.
Consider hiring a professional to manage your grant. Take advantage of free marketing training to master Google Ads. Assign a technology team within the church comprised of 2 or 3 people to keep up with the campaigns. Tweak your campaigns as you get feedback on what type of ads do well.
Finally, you’ll want to make sure your website is optimized now that you have traffic coming in. That traffic means little if you don’t have a website that can turn online visitors into visitors to your church!
We hope this article has been helpful. Do you have any experience using the Google Ads grant for your church? Let us know in the comments section below.