CharitiesGoogle AdWords

A step-by-step guide to applying for Google Ad Grants

Enrolment page for Google Grants

There are a few steps to getting access to the Google AdWords Grants scheme and here we’ve laid out the whole application process along with tips and advice to help you along the way. If you’re not sure that it’s worth the effort view our reasons why this is such a valuable scheme. There are a couple of details that it’s mandatory that you follow and which would void your application if you get wrong; we’ve highlighted these elements.

Step 1 Google for Nonprofits account

The first step is signing up for a Google Nonprofits account. If you already have one of these then you can jump ahead to Step 2.

Setting up Google for Nonprofits

To set this up you’ll need:

  • To register with tt-exchange, the UK arm of TechSoup. If you’re not registered with them yet then it’s easy to set up an account.
  • A Google account of some form. This could be the account that you already use for Google Analytics or YouTube. Or you could create a specific account just for AdWords (such as

Once you’ve got these set up you can visit this Google for Nonprofits Sign up page (see below) where you first need to login with your chosen Google account. At the bottom of the form, you need to click the ‘Get a validation token’ link to be taken to TechSoup (which you signed up to a minute ago) and follow the steps there to get your validation token.

Google For Nonprofits application form
The first page of the Google For Nonprofits application process

On the next page of the Google form you just need to fill in some information about your charity and your contact details.

Google For Nonprofits membership organisation information
Google For Nonprofits membership application

It’s as simple as that! You may be approved immediately but Google’s official line is that it can take up to 10 days.

Do email us at if you have a problem with any of these steps.

Step 2 Setting up an AdWords account

To set up your account you need to visit the Google AdWords Welcome page.
Here you should use the Google account that you set up for Google for Nonprofits.

First page of Google AdWords application form
First page of Google AdWords application form

It’s vital that for currency you select US Dollar regardless of where you’re based.

From there you will be taken into the AdWords interface which currently looks like this (Google are slowly rolling out a new interface):

Google AdWords interface
Google AdWords interface

In order to change this account to a Grants account you first need to create a Campaign. For speed and ease we recommend that at this stage you create a lightweight Brand campaign.

There is one other thing to take into consideration when setting this up:
You might be asked (repeatedly) to enter payment details but ignore these, as you won’t be approved if you have included these details.

Below are the steps to create this campaign.

  1. Click the + Campaign button and name your campaign ‘Brand’ (view a short video showing you the steps to follow when creating this campaign)
  2. Go to the settings tab and ensure that Campaign Type is set to ‘Search Network Only’ (this is vital).

  3. Create your first Ad Group, name this ‘Exact’ (view a short video showing you the steps to create an Ad Group with keywords)
  4. Create an ad. We recommend that one of the Headlines is your Brand name and that you use the description to give a short summary of your mission statement (you only have 80 characters).

  5. Add keywords to your Ad Group
  6. For simplicity here we recommend that you simply enter your brand name in square brackets e.g. [third edge digital]. This means that your ads will only show when that exact term has been searched for so you can be sure that you won’t be appearing for anything irrelevant or inappropriate.

Step 3 Convert your AdWords account to a Grants account

Now that you’ve got your AdWords account ready with a completed campaign, you can apply to change into a Google Grants account.

Log into Google for Nonprofits where you will see options for different tools you could sign up for.

Enrolment page for Google Grants

Select Google Ad Grants. From there you will be taken to a form where you are asked to confirm details of the account.

You will also need to enter your AdWords customer ID which you can find in the top right hand corner of the AdWords interface.

After this you can submit your account for approval and you should hear back about this within a couple of days. If your application is rejected then email us at and we can help you re-apply.

Otherwise you should receive an email in a couple of days with confirmation of your new Google Grants account. Congratulations! You’ve now got $10,000 a month to advertise on Google’s Search engine – we think that’s worth celebrating!