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Your website is one of the best resources at your disposal for spreading awareness about your organization and mission. But it’s only a great resource if people are actually using it to get to know your organization and work—and taking action to help move your mission forward! 

There are lots of ways to drive traffic to your website, from email marketing and social media to search engine optimization (SEO) to digital ads. You may have dismissed Google Ads in the past for fear of a complicated setup or high ongoing costs, but don’t let that dissuade you!

Google Ad Grants equip your nonprofit with a $10,000 monthly ads budget to drive relevant and valuable traffic to your website with search ads. And there are lots of resources out there to help, from in-depth tutorials to agencies that can take all of the hassle of managing ads off of your hands!

In this article, we’ll cover the basics for getting started with Google Ad Grants, including:

Ready to learn how your nonprofit can leverage the Google Ad Grants to drive more impact for its mission? Let’s dive in!

Google Ad Grants: Explained  

But what actually is a Google Ad Grant, you ask? 

According to Cornershop Creative’s guide to Google Grants for nonprofits, the grant provides a Google Ads account with a $10,000 monthly budget. You can use it to create text-based search ads (no Display or video ads, unfortunately) and connect them to various keywords. This way, when someone searches for one of your keywords on Google, your ad can appear above or below the organic search results for that phrase, depending on the bidding system that Google Ads uses to show ads.

For example, a shelter for people who are unhoused could create ads sending visitors to their organization’s donation page with keywords like “support the unhoused” and “shelter donations.” Or, an advocacy organization could encourage more people to reach out to their representatives through an ad sending visitors to a landing page where they can take action with keywords like “childhood literacy programs” and “childhood literacy programs in Missouri.”


Any nonprofit in good standing is eligible for the grant. However, there are a few notable exclusions. Ad grants are not available in every country (see the full list of countries), and certain missions are also excluded, like government organizations, hospitals, and schools.


The Google Ad Grant is free advertising! It’s a great way to help supporters find you online and drive more traffic to your website as part of your organization’s marketing strategy. On top of that, the Google Ads platform can be optimized to drive high-value visitors who are most likely to take meaningful actions on your website. You’ll also be able to see useful insights about your progress to feed your nonprofit’s data strategy, including clicks, conversions, and more since your ads can sync perfectly with your organization’s Google Analytics account.

While this is another platform to add into the mix and there will undoubtedly be a learning curve as you get started, Google Ads have the power to spread the word about your mission far and wide—bringing in new folks who are interested in your cause, but who may have never even heard your name before now!

Google on Mobile - Ad for Global Giving
Image Source: Google

How To Apply for Google Ad Grants 

To apply for a Google Ad Grant, you’ll first need to apply for and be accepted into the Google for Nonprofits program, which along with the Ad Grant includes tools like a Google Workspace, Google Maps credits, and the YouTube Nonprofit program. To complete that application, you’ll need a validation token from TechSoup to verify your organization as legitimate.

Once you’re a part of Google for Nonprofits, follow these steps to apply for an Ad Grant:

  1. Log into your Google for Nonprofits account and click “Get Started” within the Google Ad Grants section.
  2. Complete the Ad Grants Eligibility Form with basic information about your organization.
  3. Return to the Google Ad Grants page within your Google for Nonprofits account.
  4. Click the check box to verify that you’ve completed the eligibility form.
  5. Click the “Activate” button to submit your application.

It’ll take Google a few business days to process your application, and you’ll receive an email once you’re approved for the Ad Grant. Accept the invitation to access your new account!

You’ll also receive an email about the account’s billing profile that you’ll need to accept before the grant money can be applied to your Google Ads account.

After that, the $10,000 monthly Google Ads budget is yours! You can then set up your Ad Grant account, making sure to add conversion tracking and follow Google Ad Grant policies and ad creation best practices to set your organization up for success.

Creating Your First Google Ads 

Now that you have your Ad Grant account, the real fun begins! Google Ads accounts are organized into campaigns, where most of the settings around things like your location, budget, and bidding strategy can be set. Each campaign will then include multiple ad groups, where individual keywords and ads live.

Create a Campaign

Your first decision is whether to create standard Google Ads campaigns (which allow you more control over your ads and results but also require more management and updating) or Smart campaigns (which are more automated campaigns without as many optimization capabilities). We’ll cover standard campaigns in this article, but, if you’re short on time and resources to manage your account, Smart campaigns are a nice option to consider.

Follow the steps to create your first standard campaign and assign it the full $329 daily budget. You can always update the budget later to split the total amount across multiple campaigns.

Create Two Ad Groups

You can think about ad groups as related keywords and ads that all go after the same goal. Following Ad Grant policies, you’ll need to create at least two ad groups within the campaign. Here are some tips for doing so:

You can create ad groups for general awareness efforts, events, specific programs and services, and even fundraising efforts like Giving Tuesday.

For example, if you’re creating an ad group to promote an upcoming nonprofit event like an annual gala, you might select keywords like “nonprofit galas,” “galas in New Orleans,” and “events supporting scholarships.” Your ad text could then include those exact keywords as headlines, along with descriptions that offer details about the event and encourage searchers to purchase tickets: “Join us for a gala on 4/22 and support scholars with drinks, dinner, auctions, and dancing!”

For each ad, you can write up to 15 short headlines (30 characters or less) and up to four longer descriptions (90 characters or less). Ad text should be to-the-point and action-oriented to encourage visitors to click through to your website. It’s a balancing act for sure, but you’ll want to include the necessary information, exact keywords, and calls to action in the ad text.

How a Google Ad Grant Agency Can Help 

This might seem like a lot to manage on an ongoing basis. And, unless you’re using Smart campaigns, Google Ad Grant accounts are not something that you can set and forget.

Lucky for you, there are nonprofit web design and digital strategy companies that can help with the heavy lifting of both the initial account setup and ongoing account management. 

Look for agencies with experience with Google Ad Grant accounts specifically, since they’re a different beast than typical Ads accounts. These folks know what works and have experience navigating Google’s policies to create effective ads that lead to real results for your organization.

The Google Ad Grant is an excellent tool to weave into your organization’s overall marketing strategy to get more of the right people to your website and to take action. 

While it takes effort to apply, set up your account, and manage it over time (on top of all of the other hats that nonprofit employees wear), the rewards can far outweigh the hassle. And it helps that the ads themselves are totally free outside of the time it takes to create them!

Best of luck with your new Google Ad Grant account!

Written by Sarah Fargusson – Director of Digital Strategy at Cornershop Creative

Self-described as a “non-profit junkie,” Sarah has dedicated her career to serving the needs of the non-profit sector. Her project management experience spans a variety of non-profit management disciplines including strategic planning, community engagement, capacity building, fundraising and research. She has worked both in and for the non-profit sector at the Feminist Majority Foundation, the Sadie Nash Leadership Project, and the consulting firms The Lee Institute and The Curtis Group. With her ever expanding non-profit tool belt, Sarah joined Cornershop Creative to tap into her techie, creative side, while developing meaningful partnerships with her clients to help them more effectively achieve their goals.

Sarah Fargusson

Mississauga, ON – February 28, 2023 – Andar Software, an industry-leading CRM software and cloud hosting provider, today announces that Greater Twin Cities United Way will transition from multiple legacy systems to Andar/360. A complete migration to Andar/360 and consolidation of multiple technology solutions will help Greater Twin Cities United Way realize significant cost savings, centralize data, create efficiencies, and streamline all workflows.

“It’s remarkable that we’ve found a one-system solution to meet all of our needs,” stated Athena Mihas, Greater Twin Cities United Way Chief Financial Officer at Greater Twin Cities United Way. “Our decision to partner with Andar Software was based on its proven track record with hundreds of United Ways, great customer service, and enthusiastic support for the technology across our organization.”

Andar/360 strongly met Greater Twin Cities United Way’s CRM requirements for the following:

While several team members were already Andar/360 users, Greater Twin Cities United Way assessed several options to ensure Andar/360 would meet the needs and fulfill the technical requirements for its large team across several departments. Fortunately, Andar/360’s robust system includes mission-critical modules for every department in a nonprofit organization.

Greater Twin Cities United Way required not only a software company, but a service provider that could support its mission of uniting changemakers, advocating for social good, and developing solutions to address the challenges that no one can solve alone. Data conversion services from legacy systems, and training for the addition of 98 user licenses and 8 Andar/360 modules, will be delivered by Andar Software Specialists who themselves have more than 375 years of combined experience working with United Ways across North America.

“Bolstering our longstanding partnership with Greater Twin Cities United Way demonstrates our ability to surpass the technical functionality and professional services of other nonprofit technology providers,” commented Harry Veening, Andar Software General Manager. “Where other software lacks nonprofit industry-specific functionality, Andar Software’s technology and services are fully configurable to power data-driven outcomes for United Ways.”

Learn more about Andar Software’s proven donor management CRM built for United Ways.

About Andar Software

The story of Andar Software began over 40 years ago when two developers created Andar/360, a solution made specifically for United Way organizations. Since then, Andar/360 has processed billions of dollars of donations and serves more than 300 United Way customers.

Meet Pam Cottle, Karen Brown, and Bill Rosenberger. These three are not your typical Directors and VPs. They are hands-on, do-it-right-the-first-time executive leaders who wear too many hats to count. With each leading a nonprofit organization with fewer than 15 people, these leaders crave effective processes, time savings, and tools that can simplify the day-to-day work. Let’s explore how Andar/360 is the core operational tool for departments across their nonprofit organizations.

Reframing How We Look at Databases

Karen Brown, Senior Director of Finance and Administration at the United Way of Waco-McLennan County had an epiphany about Andar/360 that changed her perspective on how she approaches the system.

We are so used to buying a database that is one size fits all where you have to make your data fit the database. Andar/360 is not like that. Andar/360 helps you organize the data that you do have. You don’t have to fill in every blank. You just take your data and get it in Andar/360. It’s my data, and however I want to use it, I can set Andar/360 up that way. It’s so flexible.

Karen Brown

Andar/360 is a fully configurable CRM and donor management database powering data-driven outcomes for hundreds of nonprofits. Each day, thousands of nonprofit employees – from resource development staff to volunteer coordinators to program managers – log in to Andar/360 to input, review, or extract data.

Role-Based Reporting with Customized Dashboards

Getting a clear view of the metrics important to your role is why so many departments rely on Andar/360’s customizable dashboards and bio tabs. In just one click, you access role-relevant information. For example, dashboards allow you to see how your campaigns perform compared to one another. They can help you see your goal progress for each member of your fundraising team in a dashboard. 

Pam Cottle, VP of Operations and Marketing at Butler County United Way, had the Andar Software team develop a custom dashboard that’s reactive and pulls in account details in real-time. With Pam’s dashboards, she can monitor mail, see her response rates at-a-glance, and even pull a report directly from the dashboard.

Nonprofit Cloud Hosting and Managed IT Services

As an Andar Software Hosting customer, Pam receives managed IT services and “relies on Andar Software Hosting 100%”. Pam trusts the Andar Software team compared to her previous “total nightmare” experience with a local IT service. When Pam’s team migrated to a hosted Office 365 suite, she recalls, “the Andar Hosting team was so helpful in making [the transition] happen. They are truly willing to help with just about anything that comes our way.” Pam concludes by graciously adding, “I wholeheartedly recommend them. They are very responsive and very helpful to us.”

Andar/360 for Resource Development Teams to Boost Donations

When it came time to automate thank you letters, Bill Rosenberger, the Development Director, and his team at United Way of the River Cities worked with Andar Software’s professional service team and a specialist with over 15 years of experience with Andar/360. Bill’s team went from using individually typed thank-you letters in Word to generating and sending personalized thank-you letters directly from Andar/360.

Bill’s resource development team also sent a personalized letter to every donor in the database. The letters included what donors gave last year, what they gave to United Way of the River Cities over their lifetime, and any major gifts given. Andar/360’s data was able to produce these letters and as Bill states, “that was huge for us!” His team received many emails and letters back from donors saying things such as, “wow I didn’t realize that I had given $30,000 over the last 10 years, that’s amazing,” Bill adds.

Many donors responded to their letters with cheque donations. Bill recalls the example of one individual who gave $1200 annually, but this year was $1607 short of hitting a cumulative $20,000 in donations. Bill was able to make the personalized ask for $1607 this year, and sure enough, they received it! Imagine getting a 33% increase on each donation by simply looking at donors’ giving history. “If it wasn’t for utilizing the data and the tools, I couldn’t have made that personalized ask,” Bill concludes.

Online Donation Management for Fundraising and Corporate Campaigns

When Karen’s team decided it was time to go digital with fundraising but didn’t have the internal bandwidth to set up all her e-Pledge online fundraising campaigns, she called on Andar Software’s professional services. “This was huge because I didn’t have to sit there and learn all the little ins and outs on how to do it. I just called Andar Software, and yes there was a little bit of a fee to do it, but it was worth every penny to have someone else set it up. I knew it worked and I didn’t have to worry about it,” Karen recalls.

Likewise, Pam’s team is ditching the paper campaigns and went digital with e-Pledge. Since 2020, Butler County United Way have converted 90% of their campaigns over to e-Pledge. Pam encourages you to “take your time” with this process and reminds us that “Andar Software customer care is there to answer your questions. It is important to use this resource as much as possible. They are able to share insight and best practices to enhance the outcome of your project.”

Financial Processing Made Simple with Andar/360

As the Senior Director and Finance Administrator who single-handedly runs the financial duties of her United Way, Karen needs to ensure her financial reporting is as precise and easily accessible at a moment’s notice. Running separate campaigns in Andar/360 for each revenue stream (such as grant income, workplace giving) that “tie back directly to our general ledger makes it very easy,” Karen explains.

With Andar/360, your finance department can rest assured that data is organized correctly, and therefore they can pull reports quickly when questions arise. When working with her community impact team, Karen can pull reports that show real-time campaign information. Similarly, every month, Karen runs a report that covers all key financial information that helps their third-party accounting team balance the books.

Online Connections with Agencies and Board Directors

Andar/360 expands onto the web through webpage portals designed for you to connect with agency partners, volunteers, and even board members. The Finance Manager at Pam’s United Way use the agency portal to locate and send designation reports. Karen also uses the agency portal for designation reporting and describes that “I don’t have to sit there and PDF or print or fold or email, it just happens… It works great and is such a time saver to push the button and out goes the reports.” Pam adds, “why didn’t we use this 5 years ago? It is such a time saver and definitely enhances your production.”

By connecting to the web, your assigned user will log in and have access to their personalized view. In the cases above, a finance manager would be able to view designation letters in their online portal. Whereas a volunteer with access the online portal can review their upcoming time commitments and view other volunteer opportunities in their area. Similarly, agency partners use the Andar/360 online portal to find qualifying grant opportunities and report back to their grant maker with program reports.

Another unique use of Andar/360’s online portal is creating an online access point for board members. At Butler County United Way, Pam’s team developed a portal specifically for their board directors to access weblinks, videos, webinars, and board meeting documentation. Pam speaks to the flexibility of the online portal tool by adding, “you can use [the online portal] for whatever you want it to be used for, it is really limitless.”

Andar/360, the Nonprofit CRM to Power Every Department

All and all, Andar/360 has impactful tools for all areas of your organization, even those departments not covered in Pam, Karen, and Bill’s examples. Andar/360 is a fully integrated CRM.

As Karen says, “think of Andar/360 like a Swiss army knife with a corkscrew, a knife, scissors and a spoon.” Think of these gadgets as each of your departments. She continues, “you don’t necessarily need to know how to use the other tools [outside of your department], but once you learn one piece [of Andar/360], you can learn it all.” Karen follows up with an encouraging statement to “get comfortable and learn the tools in Andar/360 and it will make [learning any other area of the system] much easier.”

For more information on the Andar/360 nonprofit CRM, contact us.