Coronavirus support and digital marketing advice

Maximising the Potential of Google Ad Grants


charity tin

A number of our recent blog posts have been relating to Google Ad Grants for charities and non-profits, so we thought as a next step in the series it would be useful to explore how to take advantage of the Google Ad Grant and use it to engage with the right users.

The first step is to look at your own business model (even as a non-profit) and ask yourself what you can offer your visitors and what are they hoping to gain from visiting your site?  They could be looking for support, for advice or are possibly just looking to make a donation.  In terms of PPC, this often means that target search terms can be loosely defined as either Transactional, or Informational.

Transactional Queries

These kinds of search terms are usually performed by a user looking to make a donation, either to a specific type of charity or a charitable donation in general.  As these terms are often income generators you may find it difficult to target these terms using an Ad Grants budget (there is a $2 max. click price), therefore many charities run additional Ad Words campaigns and commit some additional budget to transactional terms. Accurate targeting may help to keep click cost down, but it’s easy to justify the spend as accurate analytics can tell you exactly how much you raised from your PPC spend.

Informational Queries

This term covers a much broader range of queries and searcher intent. A user could be looking for information, for support, for volunteering opportunities and so on. As these terms aren’t necessarily income generators click prices are often lower, so using Ad Grants budget on these type of terms is great for building your brand online.  If you’re holding a specific event or volunteer drive then targeting relevant, informational queries with Ad Grants is also an effective strategy.

Charity PPC Strategy


Although the purpose of a website varies from charity to charity, your ‘goal’ should be ensuring you provide the right information, based on the intent of your visitor.  We’ve listed some suggestions below on how you can utilise Google Ad Grants to satisfy you’re own objectives:

Targeting Transactional Queries


  • Increase traffic to your donations pages through Google Ad Grant & GrantsPro accounts and provide users with a reason to help fund your charity.
  • As noted above, due to high CPCs it can be difficult to appear for high-volume terms, such as ‘cancer’, as there is a lot of competition there.
  • Targeting less broad, longer tail keywords (e.g. ‘donate to child cancer charity’) can generate volume for lower Cost Per Clicks and help drive more users to your site within the limitations of the Google Ad Grant.
  • Driving sign-ups for accounts where users can donate at regular intervals or collect donations themselves can also add long term value.

Fundraising Events

  • Promote the events that you are getting involved in and help drive sign-ups for these events on behalf of your charity. It’s difficult to prove the monetary value of Ad Grants in this respect, but it’s easy to attribute event sign-ups to your Ad grants campaign, proving it’s value that way.
  • If an event is being attended by / completed by a high profile individual such as a celebrity, you can often target their name along with a relevant search term for additional traffic.


  • For many charities, legacy giving is a vital means of fundraising. Outside of the third sector it’s a little known mechanism for giving, so there is often the possibility of promoting Legacy giving to users looking to make a substantial or long term donation.

Targeting Informational Queries

Building Brand Awareness

  • Utilising the Ad Grant scheme to increase visibility is a great way to appear in search results pages (SERPs) for descriptive words that relate to your charity.
  • These terms may not generate conversions, but the additional brand awareness they provide can encourage additional searches and conversions later in a user’s journey.
  • It’s important to create engaging copy for ads like this, to remain in the user’s mind. Average positions for grant keywords can be lower in the list of PPC ads than paid and therefore generate fewer

Volunteer Applications

  • Be visible when users are searching for volunteering opportunities, at no additional cost to your charity – in many cases, Google will be the first place people turn to when looking to donate their time.
  • Google is a never ending source of people who want to help, and being visible when they search could help them make that first step towards becoming a volunteer.

Actively Helping Users

  • Engaging with your users and providing simple ways for them to gain knowledge and understanding of your charity and/or the cause you support.
  • This could be anything from offering support through information, to showing them how to get the help they need.

Providing Information

  • For many charities information distribution and raising the profile of a disease/cause is a huge part of their mission statement, so ad Grants is a fantastic way to get this information out there with no financial resource required.
  • Where relevant, provide users with simple ‘how-to’ guides – help them gain the knowledge they’re looking for quickly and easily.
  • Users often search when they don’t know the answer to a question – targeting ‘what do I do….’ and ‘why…’ keywords and providing them with the answers on your page is a great way of engaging with users and offering support.

Job Applications

  • Like any other industry, in the third sector competition for the best people can be tough. Using Google Ad Grants is a great way to increase your visibility for job vacancy related terms.
  • Be sure to target keywords specific to the type of charity you are and your location to maintain a good quality score through relevance.

If you’re not taking advantage of the Google Ad Grant already, think about how it could help you and get in touch. We’ll work with you to get started and build a strategy that works for what matters to you.  Alternatively, if you’re already running an Ad Grants account Passion Digital can help make sure you are maximising its value.