Google is one of the largest, most profitable companies in the world, so it may be strange to learn that they have a program within the company dedicated entirely to nonprofits: Google for Nonprofits. This program offers useful tools for nonprofit organizations to use... all for free.
Since most nonprofits operate on shoe-string budgets, taking advantage of free programs like Google for Nonprofits is imperative. This guide will provide you with everything you need to know about Google for Nonprofits: What it is, the tools that are included, who is eligible, and how to apply. Hey Google, let’s get started!
What is Google for Nonprofits?
Google for Nonprofits is a program from Google that offers eligible nonprofits access to helpful tools like G Suite, Google Ad Grants, and more. The best part about Google for Nonprofits is that it is completely free, giving nonprofits the ability to enhance their operation without using any of their funds.
All nonprofits must submit an application in order to be accepted into the program (more on the application process later). Here are the eligibility requirements for the Google for Nonprofits program from their website:
Determining whether your organization is eligible or not will be the first step. If your nonprofit is eligible, you will then need to fill out the application, providing as much information about your organization as possible. It can take anywhere between a few days to two weeks to hear back about your application. Once your nonprofit has been approved, you will gain immediate access to all of the free tools offered by the Google for Nonprofits program and you can get right to work on spreading your organization’s mission.
What Tools Does Google for Nonprofits Offer?
- G Suite
G Suite, also known as Google Workspace, is the premium collection of many of Google’s online applications and programs. Because of this, it is one of the most essential tools that Google for Nonprofits offers. Free access to these every day programs enhances your nonprofit’s ability to communicate, plan, store, and gather information, all with instant access from any device.
Here are some of the most useful programs you will find in the Google for Nonprofits G Suite:
Gmail – Email addresses at your nonprofit’s domain. Now you can synchronize the email addresses of everyone involved with your organization by having them all end @yourdomain.com compared to addresses ending at various domains, like @gmail.com or @yahoo.com. This helps your organization to look more professional, authoritative, and integrated. You can easily add as many email addresses as you need.
Drive – G Suite provides 30 GB of storage shared across all accounts with the option to upgrade to more space at a discounted rate. Google Drive allows your organization to store all of your important files and access them immediately from any device.
Docs – Google Docs provides a straightforward writing program for all your nonprofit’s needs. Whether you are drafting a proposal, writing a thank you letter, or compiling resources, Google Docs allows you easily write, edit, and share your documents.
Calendar – Google Calendar is an essential tool to keep your nonprofit on schedule. With synchronized calendars, your entire team will be on the same page and know exactly what each day holds.
Hangouts – Hangouts provides the perfect messaging solution for staying in contact with your team and a great alternative to emailing back-and-forth. You can even access Hangouts directly on the Gmail webpage, so you don’t even have to leave your inbox.
Sheets – Google Sheets allows your organization to build spreadsheets so you can keep track of donor and volunteer information, expenses, and donations.
Slides – Google Slides equips your organization with the ability to build slideshow presentations for any situation.
Meet – Google Meet allows your organization to hold video conferences with up to 100 participants for those times where you need to hop on a video call instead of emailing or messaging. With such a large participant capacity, Meet makes it possible to video conference with large groups of volunteers or donors.
The Google for Nonprofits G Suite also gets you 24/7 support from Google, as well as Admin access over all your nonprofit’s accounts.
2. Google Ad Grants
Google Ad Grants are one of the most beneficial offers from Google for Nonprofits because they allow your nonprofit organization to market for free. Ad Grants provides your organization with access to $10,000 of in-kind advertising for text ads every month.
In a normal year, Google offers $800 million in ad grants to nonprofit organizations. This year, however, they’ve added another $200 million to that budget in response to the coronavirus pandemic, providing an astounding $1 billion to nonprofit organizations.
These grants provide valuable marketing resources to nonprofit organizations who normally would not be able to afford them. With Ad Grants yielding roughly 5,000 website visitors per month, it’s clear to see the impact they have on nonprofits. With Ad Grants, you also gain access to the Google Adwords platform, which allows you to manage and measure your campaigns.
The benefits of gaining free marketing through Ad Grants include:
- Raising awareness for your cause, which will help attract more donors and volunteers
- Driving more website views and activity
- Tracking your marketing efforts
- Reaching the people who need your help
While Ad Grants provide nonprofit organizations with crucial tools, there are some requirements in order to stay eligible:
- You cannot buy branded keywords Google doesn’t own
- Keywords are required to have quality scores of 3 or higher
- No single-word keywords or overly generic keywords
- You must retain a 5% click-through rate (CTR) every month
- Must have at least 2 ad groups, with 2 ads per each group, as well as 2 ad groups per campaign
- Must have at least 2 site-link extensions active
- Accounts must include geotargeting
Once you’ve been accepted to Google for Nonprofits, go here to apply for Ad Grants. You will need to submit an Ad Grants eligibility form, confirm the submission of the form, and then submit your activation request. Once you are accepted, you will have access to free marketing from Google each month!
3. Youtube’s Nonprofit Program
Google for Nonprofits also contains a YouTube Nonprofit Program that allows your organization to engage with supporters through videos on the YouTube platform. YouTube hosts nearly 1 billion active users per month, making it the largest video hosting platform in the world and a great way to get your nonprofit in front of more eyes.
By starting a YouTube channel for your nonprofit and uploading videos, you can:
- Raise awareness for your cause
- Reach new audiences all across the world
- Provide easily accessible information about your cause
- Fundraise through your videos or on another user’s video with the YouTube Giving feature. Donation buttons are embedded directly in videos so viewers don’t have to search for where to donate. All donations go completely to your organization
- Connect with the supporters who already love your organization
If you don’t have much experience with the YouTube platform, starting a channel and posting content may seem a little daunting. However, YouTube Creator Academy offers video production lessons that are tailored specifically to nonprofits.
4. Google Earth and Maps
Google Earth and Google Maps may seem like strange tools for your nonprofit organization to use, but through the Google for Nonprofits program you can take these applications to the next level. Google for Nonprofits provides you with credits for the Google Maps Platform, so you don’t have to pay anything to use these extra tools.
With full access to the Google Earth and Google Maps programs, your nonprofit will be able to:
- Connect people to resources. By using maps you can help people find local communities and resources quickly
- Create data visualizations to track and share your organization’s impact
- Take supporters to the front lines where your work is being done with Google Street View
- Create and share maps that visualize data important to your cause
- Create a donor map where people can see how their contributions are making a difference
Access to Google Earth and Google Maps is another way that Google for Nonprofits helps organizations to be creative, track data, share resources, and raise awareness about their nonprofit.
How to Apply to Google for Nonprofits
Now that we’ve dealt with what Google for Nonprofits is and how it can help your organization, let’s discuss how to apply to the program. Before you start the application process, there are several things you need to double check:
- Make sure your organization is registered as a charity in your country
- Then, as mentioned earlier, you’ll need to determine if your organization is eligible for Google for Nonprofits
- Make sure your mission statement is prominently displayed on your website as Google will take this into account when reviewing your application
- Make sure to apply with the Google account that is associated with your nonprofit organization. It can be tricky to alter account information after applying
Once you’ve determined that your nonprofit is eligible and everything else is in order, it’s time to start your Google for Nonprofits application. This will entail requesting a Google for Nonprofits account. After you’ve requested an account, you will need to register with TechSoup, as they handle the verification process for your nonprofit. They will email once you are verified and then you will be able to start the real application with all of your organization’s information.
After submitting your application, be sure to look out for any emails from Google. As mentioned before, the approval of your application could take anywhere from a few days to two weeks. Google may also need additional information relating to your application. You will receive another email once your application is either approved or rejected. If your application was rejected you will be able to apply again. If your application was approved, you can immediately activate and use all of the different programs offered by Google for Nonprofits!
Now that you’ve read through the ultimate guide for Google for Nonprofits, you know that the program provides nonprofit organizations access to valuable resources like G Suite, Google Ad Grants, the YouTube Nonprofit Program, and Google Maps and Google Earth all for free. So what are you waiting for? Take advantage of this incredible opportunity by applying for the Google for Nonprofits program and help your organization grow!