Google for Nonprofits: Why & How to Apply

Google for Nonprofits

Want to step up your nonprofit’s marketing, but don’t quite have the budget for new tools and programs? Google for Nonprofits can help with that.

Through the Google program, your nonprofit can apply to use a variety of Google products and other Google tools for free, where payment would typically be required. When the program is used correctly, Google for Nonprofits is a great (and most importantly, free) way to get your communications organized and expand your reach.

In my personal opinion, it’s a super cool resource that Google has opened up to all sorts of nonprofits, both small and large. But we’d never recommend that you waste your time on applications if the program is not a good fit for your organization. So, let’s dive into the benefits and drawbacks, the tools it includes, and what an application will entail.

Benefits

As we see things, the benefits are fairly straightforward. Google for Nonprofits includes:

  • Wide range of eligibility for most registered US nonprofits (and some other countries)
  • Tools to expand your audience
  • Opportunities to streamline and connect your processes
  • No cost

That said, the main drawback is that all of these programs will take time to set up correctly, learn how to use and adequately maintain to get the most benefit.

Google for Nonprofits Programs

Once your application for Google for Nonprofits is accepted, you’ll need to apply separately for any included programs that you’d like to use. The following are all options.

G Suite for Nonprofits

The G Suite for Nonprofits program is essentially a free G-Suite Basic account, including Gmail, Docs, Calendar, Drive, and Hangouts Meet.

The Wired Impact crew is deep in all of these Google tools and loves them. G Suite will provide your team with the tools it needs to easily collaborate and streamline processes more effectively. Using Gmail, you’ll be able to set up professional-looking staff email through your domain name, for example, name@nonprofit.org. And Drive will save your internal documents and files online, in a central place that’s safe, easily accessible for your whole team and doesn’t hog your computer memory.

Without Google for Nonprofits, this service would be $6 per month for every user. While it’s not an outlandish price, setting up the free version could be worth it to your nonprofit long-term, especially if you’re planning to make use of other Google for Nonprofits programs down the road.

Google Ad Grants

An Ad Grant is a free Google Ads account with a $10,000 monthly budget. There are restrictions and policies surrounding the types of ads you can run through an Ad Grant account.

Google search ads, the types of ads that are included in the Ad Grant, are a great option for nonprofits hoping to dramatically expand their reach through search. The ads will appear above or below the search results for targeted keywords and phrases that you note in your account. It takes a lot of time to manage a standard Ad Grant account, but there is an Express Ad Grant that can be relatively hands-off once it’s set up.

YouTube Nonprofit Program

The YouTube Nonprofit Program gives your nonprofit access to YouTube Giving fundraising features, Creator Academy tutorials and YouTube global creator studios. You’ll also be able to link supporters to external URLs, like pages on your nonprofit’s website, from your channel page.

If your nonprofit uses videos to engage your audience (or would like to start), this program is a great opportunity to take advantage of free resources to level-up your YouTube page.

Google Earth and Maps

Organizations with Google for Nonprofits can apply for Google Maps Platform credits to use for things like data visualization or publishing maps on your website.

If your nonprofit has multiple locations, Google Maps could be a great option to show visitors where you’re located and supporters where your impact is. Nonprofits working in remote or international areas could also be a great fit for a virtual tour, using Google Street View.

Google One Today

Google One Today is a free app that features a different nonprofit every day and allows donations to participating nonprofits through the app.

Only organizations with Google for Nonprofits can apply to be listed in the app. While it could potentially bring in extra donations for your nonprofit, it will take a little time to manage and you will not be able to access the contact information of donors who use the app.

How to Apply

Think one or more of these programs could be a great addition to your nonprofit’s marketing strategy? The Google for Nonprofits application process is fairly straightforward.

  1. Check your eligibility. Government organizations, health care facilities, schools and nonprofits in certain countries aren’t eligible for the program.
  2. Track down your nonprofit’s EIN number, physical address and online contact info. You’ll need it for the application.
  3. Complete the short, online application.

Google may take up to two weeks to review your application before approving it, so be prepared for a little waiting.

Does your nonprofit have Google for Nonprofits? Which programs do you use? Would you recommend it to other organizations? I’d love to hear your thoughts and chat in the comments.