As you may have already realized, marketing your church isn’t cheap. In fact, it could easily eat away at your budget, leaving little left behind for ministry.
However, Google works to help support nonprofits in their marketing efforts. Through the Google nonprofits grant, you could be eligible for $10,000 in free AdWords credits every month.
It’s important to note that most churches are eligible. If you’re not sure, see if you meet the requirements below and then apply.
Google For Nonprofits Program
Before you’re eligible for the Google nonprofits grant, you have to apply for the Google for Nonprofits Program. The first and most important requirement is being registered as a charity organization in a participating country. Don’t worry, the United States is included. For more on what constitutes as a valid charity status, see the Hold A Charity Status section next.
Any organizations that are considered a governmental, health care or academic institution aren’t eligible. However, special programs are in place for educational entities.
The Google for Nonprofits Program grants you access to various products to help your church grow. Once you’ve been accepted into this program, you’re eligible to apply for Google nonprofits grants.
Hold A Charity Status
Google only recognizes nonprofits that are have been validated as a charity by the IRS. If a charity is fiscally sponsored, it isn’t eligible.
Even though churches by default are considered a non-exempt entity, you still have to have official 501(c)(3) tax exemption recognition by the IRS.
One final requirement to be considered a valid charity is to be validated by TechSoup or a TechSoup partner. It’s important to note that every participating country does have its own eligibility rules. These are the rules for churches in the United States.
Accept Google’s Required Certifications
Google has detailed requirements concerning how donations are used. To be eligible, you must agree to use donations only for charity purposes, such as running your church and ministry programs and/or supporting the community. Using donations gained as a result of the grant for other purposes, such as supporting a political candidate, could result in the grant being revoked. The full agreement is listed on the application form.
You must keep detailed receipts of donations. You also have to agree to be a non-discriminatory organization.
Maintain An Active Website
The last requirement to be eligible for a Google nonprofits grant is to maintain an active website. You’ll already need a site filled with content for Google to consider you. After all, you’ll need a site to direct ad viewers to.
Your website needs to be updated often and be Google-friendly. If you’re not sure how to do this, Google provides guidelines for creating and maintaining a Google-friendly optimized website. Review the following Google guides to ensure your site meets the eligibility requirements:
If you don’t already have a website, you’ll likely need to wait a few months after you put your site online to apply. This gives your church time to start building a blog and getting members active on the site.
Continue To Maintain Eligibility
Even if you are eligible, you don’t get to automatically keep the Google nonprofits grant month after month. Instead, you have to maintain your eligibility. While you have to meet all of the requirements above, you also have to maintain a set performance rate. Any grant accounts must maintain a 5% click-through rate per month. If you don’t meet this minimum for two consecutive months, your account might be temporarily deactivated.
Don’t worry though. You don’t have to meet this requirement right away. Google knows it takes a little time to figure everything out and learn how to best target your audience. You have 90 days before you have to meet the 5% CTR requirement. If you’re still struggling, Google allows you to pause any active campaigns and use AdWords Express which structures your account automatically for better performance. You have less control, but your account won’t be deactivated.
Once you’re able to meet the requirements, you can request your account to be reactivated. The requirement is mainly in place to ensure you’re making the most of your ad credits.
Need help maintaining eligibility? Let us help your church get the most out of your free ad credits.