Whilst Google Ad Grants for charities is free and has been running for over 13 years, many charities still haven't taken up Google's kind offer. Lots of companies now offer Google Ad Grant management services to help charities benefit from the $10,000 monthly grant but outsourcing is not a one size fits all approach, so take time to understand your options and do your homework.
First, a disclaimer from me. I’m a freelance marketer, managing Google Ad Grants for a living. I learnt about Google Ad Grants whilst working at a small charity. I hope you will find this post useful, informative and balanced. I really hope it helps you make an informed decision and I welcome any feedback you have.
Google Ad Grant options:
- Don't apply
- Outsource it
- Manage it in-house
- Use Google AdWords Express.
A Google Ad Grant is $10,000 USD in free advertising credit every month. It helps more people discover your charity's website by making you more visible in Google search results. The only reason for not using a Google Ad Grant, would be that your charity doesn’t actually have a website yet.
If your charity does have website, you will want people to find it. A Google Ad Grant could help 200-300 people per day find your website. If you get the right people visiting, this will have an impact on your charity.
Against doing nothing:
A $10,000 marketing budget could actually be pretty useful.
For doing nothing:
Ignorance is bliss.
There are many agencies, freelancers and consultants who can manage your Google Ad Grant for a reasonable fee. You cannot pay them from your $10,000 grant and they cannot use your grant for anything but promoting your charity.
Google AdWords could be compared to trying to build your own website. If you have the time and patience to learn, you can do a pretty good job and it will cost you nothing but your time. However if you don’t have the free time or inclination to learn, then hiring a professional, may not be such a bad idea.
Sure, there will be cowboys out there but most people really want to do a good job because they also want to get paid. If they don’t do a good job for you, don’t pay them. The beauty of the charity industry is that it’s a small trusted community and word soon travels if there is someone in town you should avoid working with. Do your homework and consider asking for references. Don't sign any contract, maybe agree a trial period first.
The application process is free and can be very quick when you know what you’re doing. If you feel confident, give it a go following these four steps but don’t be afraid to ask for help if you get stuck. Many charities get stuck because they're unfamiliar with the terminology used. For some, the whole process will take less than a morning and for others an eternity of limbo awaits.
Outsourcing isn’t free but can be a complete no-brainer if you can achieve a return on investment greater than the fee you’re paying. Make sure you have a meeting before kicking off to agree some objectives and then schedule regular monthly meetings to discuss, share ideas and update on what your charity is working on. Even if they work remotely, make sure your Google Ad Grant manager feels part of your team so communication flows.
Do not hand over the password for your Google account. A professional will have their own Google AdWords Manager Account to work from. You can approve a request for access to your account and then still hold the power to log in anytime you wish to take access away.
- Outsourcing is not free.
- It can be tricky understanding if your Google Ad Grant is performing well.
- Is outsourcing really a good substitute for managing in-house?
- Outsourcing buys you a skilled professional with lots of experience and insight.
- Outsourcing will mean regular time devoted to managing your grant.
- Outsourcing can save you a lot of time and potential frustration with the application process.
If you have a member of staff in your team with Google AdWords skills and experience, use them. Likewise, if you can identify anyone in your team who’s digitally savvy, ask if they’d like to accept the responsibility of managing your Google Ad Grant.
Google provides plenty of free resources to help you learn about Google AdWords but you will need to put in time to read, watch videos and practice. There’s even Google AdWords exams to prove your proficiency.
Lot’s of people don’t really know what a Google Ad Grant can do or understand how the charity can benefit from using it. Having a person responsible for your Google Ad Grant in your organisation will help your team get on board and if you need some new adverts created, you can do it straight away, there’s no waiting.
An understanding of how Google AdWords works, will develop lots of useful insight, that can be applied to other areas of digital in your charity such as improving your website content for organic search.
- AdWords takes a fair amount of time to learn.
- Do you have capacity for the extra work?
- It may take you longer to start seeing the benefits of using Google Ad Grants.
- It's cheaper.
- AdWords complements your other digital marketing efforts.
- You can be more agile.
AdWord Express offers a slim lined version of Google AdWords. Just set up your account and and Google will manage where and when your ads appear. No keywords to choose, no online marketing strategies needed, and no ongoing maintenance.
- Less complicated.
- Doesn’t require much of your time.
- You don’t need to learn much about anything.
- Your charity won't benefit from a strategy to support your charity objectives.
- You still need to apply for a Google Ad Grant yourself.
- Would you let your bank manager spend $10,0000 without asking any questions first?