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August 20, 2009

Google Grants 101

Some of the most frequent questions I receive are about Google Grants – how to apply, what’s the process, what to do if approved, and how to increase their efficacy. Due to popular demand, I’ll be tackling these questions in a special series on Search Engine Marketing.  Today we’re going to start with the basics.  Soon we’ll get to some advanced tips for you SEM veterans out there.  Even if you are up and running on Google Grants, you may still want to read because there may be a few nuggets that could be helpful.

If you don’t yet have Google Grants, it's worth applying: you can receive up to $10K/month (or more) in free advertising (!).  And, your organization can apply for more than one grant for individual initiatives.

Here are some beginner’s tips to Google Grants:

Tip 1:  Know the rules

Google does not have a limited amount of grants to give out.  The selection process is not excessively stringent, but it does take approx 3-4 months.   To date they have approximately 4000 active grants -   To be eligible, you must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Eligible organizations include (and are not limited to) Animal rescue & conservation, Arts, Disaster & relief services, Education, Environment, Health, Science & technology, Voluntarism & community outreach, Youth advocacy & programs.

The application is very straightforward.  You’ll need to explain how you expect the Grant will contribute to your organization, describe your target audience, and write a sample Google ad.   Ads need to be mission based.  If you’re selling a product for a charity for example, you must include this mission or cause in your ad copy.

Tip 2:  Use your grant wisely

If you are a lucky recipient, Google will initially grant you $10K/month.  Google sets a default daily spend of $330/day so that you don’t spend your entire grant at once – but this daily cap can be overridden.  The maximum amount that you can bid for each keyword is $1.00.  “Keywords” are the search terms people use when searching on Google.  By selecting targeted and relevant keywords & keywords phrases, you’ll find that many ‘cost’ under this amount. 


Tip 3:  Define your audience & goals – and become a keyword ninja! 

As with any SEM paid campaign, define your target audience and your campaign goals.  What do you want to accomplish?  Obtain an email address? Obtain a donation?
Initiate your keyword list by thinking of search terms from the audience’s perspective.  Use the free Google Adwords Keyword Tool to find related terms, synonyms, and search phrases.  Develop multiple keyword Ad Groups: set up each group of keyword phrases to display a different relevant Ad in Google search, and direct users to a relevant landing page.  For example, you’ll probably want to direct a person who searches for “Support Oregon Parks” to a donation page.  However, you may want to direct a person who searches for “Volunteer Oregon Conservation” to a volunteer page. These are examples of different “Ad Groups.”


Great – you’re on your way!  There’s no need to renew or extend your grant if you login once a month.  Don’t forget - you’ll need to always provide Google with valid contact person and be responsive to the Google Team’s emails.

Stay tuned for Google Grants 201 & 301!


Additional info:
If you don’t use them yet – then click here to get started:
http://www.google.com/nonprofits/grantstutorial.html

Google Grant Program Details:
http://www.google.com/grants/details.html

Google tools for Nonprofits portal: 
http://www.google.com/nonprofits/

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This is a very good initiative by google. Honestly, i have not heard about this but this seems to be a real fund raising option for true genuine charity organizations. I am sure google is going to verify it through all levels whether the applying organizations wants to use this google grant for charity purpose. As an SEM i know the value of $10k/month google ad, it can give an huge exposure to the ad.

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