What is the Google Ad Grant?
If you aren’t accessing Google Ad Grants, you are missing out on an excellent opportunity for your organisation. Google offers $10,000 of advertising credit every month to nonprofits to allow them to share their story and outreach to new donors and volunteers.
Google Ads appear when people search for certain keywords, meaning that you will appear in relevant search results to people who are already likely to be interested in your nonprofit. This means your website could appear to an audience of thousands, and more exposure will hopefully mean more donations. To read more on this, visit our blog’s dedicated Google Ad Grant area.
Why do I need a good website?
Firstly, a good website is simply part of Google’s eligibility requirements – but you might wonder why they ask for this.
If your website seems dated and unprofessional then visitors won’t donate, even if your website has a lot of exposure. Providing a good user experience is a great way to increase donations and Google knows this – which is why they only want to support nonprofits which meet their criteria. This article focuses on the features you need to qualify for the Google Ad Grant, but to learn more about what makes a great nonprofit website, read our post on it here.
Having a great website is a major part of Google’s eligibility requirements, but before you apply make sure you read our Ultimate Google Ad Grant Eligibility Checklist, too.
We’ve broken down Google’s rubric into easy to follow steps which will result in an effective website that will help you to access Google’s Ad Grant. Take a look through your current website and see if you can meet everything on this list.
Scroll down for more information on each of the areas of criteria.
- Own your web domain
- Add a clear mission statement
- Add detailed information about your projects and causes
- Start a blog to flesh out your site
- Make it easy to navigate
- Update it regularly
- Use calls-to-action
- Make sure your content is unique, not reposted
- Speed up your load time
- Make sure all your links work
- Secure and encrypt your site
- Limit any selling of products and services and make it clear how they contribute
- Don’t accept sponsorship for blog or vlog posts
- Make it clear how your money is used
- Remove any ads that are irrelevant or obtrusive
- Don’t use ads to make money
If you need more information on what that all means and how to implement these criteria, read on to see our explanations.
Own the domain that your ads lead to
It’s important that you have control over your domain name and can guarantee that your website will not be taken down. This means you must own your domain, rather than have it in the name of your website host.
Clarify your mission statement
You must make it easy to understand what your organisation does, to make sure your nonprofit comes across as reliable and transparent. Re-write or more clearly label your mission statement if you need to, to make it clear that you are meeting this criterion. See this guide to writing a great mission statement for your nonprofit for more advice.
Provide information on your nonprofit’s projects and activities
Again, make sure your website is as transparent as possible about your nonprofit by providing extensive information about your cause and how you are helping the communities you support.
Have plenty of content on your website
This will make sure your website seems reliable and proves that you are working on and passionate about your cause. Your website might actually look and work okay, but if it’s too sparse, then you still won’t be eligible. A good way to do this is to use a blog to post regular updates about your cause and work, presenting you as an engaged and approachable organisation. Success stories are also a great way to build credibility and demonstrate the positive impact you’re having.
Make your website easy to navigate
If you haven’t already, add clear navigation bars and links to make sure that it is easy to access your site content and to provide a good user experience for your supporters. This is particularly important for mobile devices – as users have access to limited screen real-estate when looking for the information they want.
Update your website regularly with information about your events and projects
Your supporters need to know that you are still working for your cause; if they see out of date information, they may presume you are no longer active as an organisation. To keep your website of high-quality, you need to monitor and edit it frequently.
Updating your events information will also make sure you actually get attendees, as well as making your organisation seem reliable and organised.
Use clear calls to action
Calls to action are direct requests for support on your website, such as buttons that say ‘Donate Now’ or ‘Volunteer for Us’. These should be prominent on your site as they are how prospective donors will access your donation system.
Keep your website content unique to your organisation
Make sure your content is not simply copied from other sites – this will hardly make you look trustworthy! Original content will also make you perform better in search engine results and if you have a solid network of volunteers it should be pretty easy to achieve. If your content is copied from other sites – consider removing it or at the very least indicate the original source via a canonical link.
Have a quick loading time
Maybe your website looks really great, but all that complexity and high-quality imagery might actually be losing you traffic! Slow load rates might mean that users get bored or that they can’t access your site at all.
Use a testing tool like GTmetrix to analyse how fast your site is and reveal where you can improve. Some common changes which increase performance are simplifying page styling, decreasing image file sizes, or switching to a more reliable website host.
Make sure your links work
Use a broken link checker to make sure that all your hyperlinks and buttons take your users to the correct destinations. Broken links make for a horrible user experience and will make you lose traffic.
Encrypt your site with HTTPS
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure and is a protocol that makes sure that the information passed between your site and a user’s computer is private and secure by end-to-end encryption. You can read Google’s full policy on HTTPS here. If your website isn’t secured with HTTPS, get on this straight away, or you might be putting your users at risk when they donate to you – this is particularly important given the GDPR.
Use for-sale products and services responsibly
The main purpose of your website cannot be to sell a service or product. Rather, focus on providing information about your nonprofit with the option to donate to your cause. You also can’t promise results for your causes after consultation or purchase.
Although it’s okay to offer rewards for donors who have signed up for specific causes or have donated a specific amount, your website cannot resemble a for-profit business. WWF makes a good reference in this case – although they offer sponsorship packages which include receiving a stuffed animal toy as a reward, they don’t sell the stuffed toys for any profit in any other context.
If there are any charges for services or products (commercial activity) this must be limited and it must be clear how it supports your cause (such as through the publication of a disclaimer or an annual report).
Don’t make money through blog sponsorship
Another form of business you cannot use if you want to receive the Grant is to receive income from content on your blog or vlog, for example through advertising products for sponsorship. If you are currently doing this, you’ll need to remove this to be approved.
Be transparent about how your money is used
If you charge for any products and services, you should make clear how this money is used. This would probably be through publishing an annual report of your spendings as an organisation. Even if your income is from donations only, and not commercial activity, consider creating an annual report anyway as it is best practice for nonprofit organisations. The most important figure is the percentage of every donation that actually goes towards your cause.
Serve the public, not buyers
Your website should make clear that your nonprofit is for the good of a public community or cause, and does not only help people who pay for a service or product.
Remove irrelevant or intrusive ads
It’s best to avoid advertising all together on your nonprofit site, but if you do have any, they should not interfere with a present user experience for your viewers by being overly distracting.
If you do need to advertise something, it should be clear how it relates to your cause. Remove any irrelevant ads from your site before applying for the Grant (and to improve user experience).
Don’t make money from ads
You cannot use Google Ad Sense or affiliate advertising links on your website; again, keep adverts close to your cause, limited, and not a means of making money.
Website not up to scratch? Get in touch!
We are on a mission to help more nonprofits access Google’s Ad Grant and use it effectively to increase their donations. We can guide you through creating an outstanding website for your nonprofit.
If you’re not sure whether you are eligible for the Ad Grant after reading this checklist, sign up for a free eligibility check now and we can guide you in the next steps.
If you are already certain your website needs work, book a free consultation with us instead to discuss how Twenti can guide you to a stunning new website. With our intuitive website builder and plans suited to your level of expertise, that $10,000 of free advertising credit is at your fingertips.
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£8,000/month of free ad credit?