• Paula Alionyte

Use your Google Ad Grant, or lose it!

Guest blog by Jason Williams, a member of the Fair Development Collective and Google Ad Grants and AdWords for nonprofits expert.

Remember that sinking feeling when your parents said they were stopping your pocket money? Okay, maybe that wasn’t such big deal, but replace Mum and Dad with Google and turn 50p a week into $10,000 per a month…that’s a bit more scary right?

That was the case for small NGO, Team Kenya , but luckily for them Google has a friendly, two strike parenting policy, before permanently removing charities from Google Ad Grants.


Google Ad Grants is free Google AdWords credit. It uses Google AdWords, a form of online advertising which millions of commercial businesses pay to use, but as a charity you get $10,000 per a month for free. Your adverts will appear mostly in Google search results. Google AdWords works on a system of “bidding” for keywords people use in a Google search, for example ‘charity in Uganda’ or ‘donate to children’s charity’. With a Google Ad Grant you can bid a maximum of $2.00 per a click. $10,000 could equal around 300 clicks/visitors to your website every day!

Google suspended Team Kenya’s Google Ad Grant status because they hadn’t logged in once a month and made at least one change to their account in 90 days. This is one of Google’s official rules they are clear about, the others can be found here and are worth knowing.

Team Kenya had no idea their account had been closed and only found out by eventually logging in to be presented with “Your account isn’t active – Your ads aren’t running because we’ve disabled your account. Contact us.” This can be easily & quickly fixable by contacting Google.

A common problem for small NGOs like Team Kenya is that they don’t have a dedicated member of staff responsible for managing something like Google AdWords, or perhaps a volunteer had once set it up but since left the organisation without handing over their expertise and knowledge. Sadly, it often slips to the bottom of the list of priorities even though it could potentially be very beneficial to the charity. That’s been the experience of Victoria at Team Kenya,

“Our AdWords account was set up by a volunteer years ago, who then stopped managing it and so we just left it ticking away in the background thinking nothing of it. We didn’t know it would be closed down if we didn’t use it. We also don’t really have the skills in-house to effectively use AdWords so Jason has really come to our rescue!”

Google does send account notifications to a registered email address warning you that this will happen however it is often the case that the person who set the Google Ad Grant up, no longer works for the charity, so the warnings can go unnoticed.


The best way to stop this happening is to put a repeat reminder in your calendar to log in once a month and make at least one change to your account every 90 days or find someone who will manage it for you.

Up until cut off, Team Kenya had benefitted from $115,000 worth of free advertising with Google. Their adverts had attracted over 75,000 visitors to their website and been a steady source of people discovering Karibuni Cottages, which provide income for the charities projects.

In addition to these rules, Google have recently updated their eligibility guidelines. With these changes, Google Ad Grants became part of a larger program called Google for Nonprofits. To keep your Ad Grants account active, you need you to enrol in the Google for Nonprofits program before 31st March 2017. Those who need to do something about this will have received an email from Google.

Victoria, who is a Co-Founder of Team Kenya, and the Founder and Director of FDC. Jason Williams is one of the consultants working in partnership with FDC, offering his Google Ad Grant expertise to small NGOs at reduced rates.

If you’d like his help via Fair Development you can contact us at hello@fairdevelopmentconsulting.co.uk or you can reach Jason directly at hello@jasonwilliams.work.