FAQ – What role do keywords play in Google Ads for not-for-profit organisations, and how should they be selected?

Keywords play a crucial role in Google Ads for not-for-profit organisations, serving as the foundation for campaigns that aim to capture the attention of potential supporters and beneficiaries. In the context of Google Ad Grants, which offers eligible not-for-profits free advertising on Google, selecting the right keywords becomes even more vital. These keywords are the terms and phrases that people use when searching on Google, and they should closely align with the services, missions, or calls to action of the not-for-profit.

Choosing the right keywords involves a deep understanding of the organisation’s audience and objectives. Keywords should be relevant to the content on the organisation’s website and specific enough to attract the right visitors, yet broad enough to ensure a good volume of searches. Not-for-profits should conduct thorough keyword research using tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to identify terms that their target audience is searching for, considering both high-volume keywords that attract more searches and long-tail keywords that are more specific and less competitive.

It’s also important for not-for-profits to continuously refine their keyword strategy based on performance data. Google Ads provides insights into how different keywords perform in terms of clicks, impressions, and conversions. Organisations should regularly review this data to identify which keywords are most effective at driving engagement and achieving their goals, and adjust their campaigns accordingly.

Moreover, not-for-profits should be mindful of keyword quality scores, which affect how ads are ranked and how much they cost. High-quality scores are achieved by ensuring that keywords, ad copy, and landing pages are highly relevant to each other. This relevance not only improves the performance of ads but also maximises the value of the Google Ad Grant, helping not-for-profits to reach more people and make a greater impact.


To qualify for Google Ad Grants, a not-for-profit organisation must first be recognised as a valid charity within Australia, typically holding a current Charity Tax Concession Status (CTCS) or being listed as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Additionally, the organisation must agree to Google's required certifications regarding non-discrimination and the receipt and use of donations. It's important to note that government entities, hospitals, and medical groups, as well as schools, academic institutions, and universities, are not eligible for Google Ad Grants. However, philanthropic arms of educational organisations may qualify.

Once these eligibility criteria are met, the organisation needs to apply for the Google for Nonprofits programme. After acceptance into this programme, they can then enrol in the Google Ad Grants programme specifically. The application process involves verifying the nonprofit status, submitting the necessary forms through the Google for Nonprofits website, and setting up a Google Ads account following Google's specific guidelines for Ad Grants accounts. These guidelines include, but are not limited to, setting up campaigns targeting specific keywords, creating high-quality ads, and maintaining active account management to meet the performance standards required by Google. Compliance with these rules is essential for both obtaining and retaining the Google Ad Grants.