Trying to find a way to advertise in the digital space but can’t increase your budget? How would you like to add up to $10,000 USD per month to your marketing budget without spending a dime? Check to see if you qualify for Google Ad Grants, which is part of the Google for Nonprofits program. Google Ads appear when the words people type in Google match your keywords.

To qualify for Google Ad Grants, your institution must:

  • Begin by applying to Google for Nonprofits.
  • Hold valid charity status. Please see the Google For Nonprofits site for definitions of charity status in your country.
  • Acknowledge and agree to Google’s required certifications regarding nondiscrimination and donation receipt and use.
  • Have a live website with substantial content.

Governmental entities and organizations, hospitals and medical groups, schools, childcare centers, and academic institutions and universities are not eligible for Google Ad Grants, but philanthropic arms of educational institutions are eligible. Some museums like the Museum of Discovery and Science have qualified and are taking full advantage of the in-kind advertising for many of its offerings.

Once you qualify for the program, you can learn how to create, measure, and manage ads from Google tech support. Your ads will be entirely text-based (no videos or images) and consist of three lines. They’ll appear only on Google search results pages. All campaigns must be keyword-targeted. You’ll receive $10,000 USD of in-kind AdWords advertising each month. Your maximum cost-per-click (CPC) will be $2.00 USD. This is where the challenge comes in because you may be competing with other advertisers that are bidding more. In the first four months of 2016, our museum has expended $20,000 that generated 339,000 impressions and 14,000 interactions. Our only cost is time spent learning the system. There are companies that will do the work for a fee, but I’d suggest keeping it in-house so that you have complete control.

Submitted by Marlene Janetos, VP Visitor Services, Marketing & Communications, Museum of Discovery and Science & AutoNation IMAX ® 3D Theater, Fort Lauderdale, Florida