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Using Google Ad Grants to Accelerate your Volunteer Program

Anyone working for a nonprofit organization knows that resource management is one of the most important aspects of success. With limited resources, nonprofits must do more with less and come up with strategic plans to use those resources efficiently. 

To do this, many nonprofits institute a volunteer program, using generous community members to accomplish important goals. These volunteers are the lifeblood of many nonprofit organizations. While most volunteers are willing to provide their time and energy, nonprofits should always be reaching out to new volunteers so as to maintain a healthy base.

However, without a robust outreach campaign, maintaining a volunteer program can be difficult to sustain. Over time, your existing volunteer base may change, requiring that you frequently expand that base while furthering the reach of your organization. While many nonprofits struggle with these kinds of volunteer programs, there are many ways to address the problem. 

As experts in the Google Ad Grant, we at Nonprofit Megaphone find it to be an excellent way to expand your base of volunteers while also contributing to vital outreach for your volunteer program. To help you achieve these goals, we’ve prepared a guide covering the following:

  • Understanding the Google Ad Grant
  • Using the Google Ad Grant to find interested volunteers, drive traffic to your site, and increase conversions.

In addition, the Ad Grant can be used to market numerous other programs your organization is doing, making it an ideal and efficient way for your nonprofit to thrive.

What are Google Ad Grants? 

The Google Ad Grant is a fantastic way for any nonprofit organization to jumpstart their digital marketing efforts. Google Ads are sponsored links that appear at the top of any Google search. Usually, these are paid ads that companies bid on depending on keywords and competition. 

In such a market, most nonprofits would be unable to allocate enough money to these ad campaigns and would therefore be crowded out by for-profit competitors. The Google Ad Grant, funded by Google, attempts to balance that playing field and give compliant nonprofits a chance to compete.

The Google Ad Grant gives nonprofits up to $10,000 every month to use on Google Ads. This money is allocated automatically based on the competition and can therefore only be used for this purpose. For most nonprofits, this is more than enough to compete in digital marketing and gives them an affordable opportunity to spread their message. Nearly any nonprofit can apply for the Google Ad Grant, through acquiring and maintaining it can take some diligent management and commitment to quality digital content.

Because Google awards this grant at no cost, they have relatively strict compliance requirements that must be adhered to to keep the Google Ad Grant. However, these requirements aren’t unreasonable and ensure that nonprofits are using the Grant successfully. 

Acquiring and managing the grant can be done by any nonprofit, but many choose to partner with an agency like Nonprofit Megaphone to do so. This allows nonprofits to focus on their content and mission, while the agency can use their expertise to make the most of the digital marketing efforts. Nonprofits have tremendous freedom to use the Grant as they see fit, allowing them to allocate resources to it depending on their priorities and capabilities.

Growing Your Volunteer Program With Google Ad Grants 

But how does the Google Ad Grant translate into helping a volunteer program? One of the reasons why the Grant is so useful is that it is entirely flexible to suit the organization’s needs. 

No matter what your organization’s priorities, the Google Ad Grant can be used to drive digital traffic to your website and the campaign of your choice. Many nonprofits use these ads to increase donors or newsletter subscribers. Others use it for outreach and communications efforts. It can just as quickly be used to jumpstart your volunteer program. There are several general strategies that nonprofits often implement to make the most of their Google Ad Grant:

Intercept Interested Volunteers 

The success of a Google Ad campaign often depends on the keywords employed and the ads’ ability to capture the searcher’s attention. Whether your ad appears in any given search depends mainly on whether the keywords attached to that ad create enough traffic. 

While this digital marketing element creates a natural feedback mechanism, it can be challenging to find the right keywords that are both searched often enough to attract your audience and clicked on enough to maintain the ad. 

Therefore, if your goal is to attract volunteers, you’ll want to hone in on the things potential volunteers are searching for and intercept them. Volunteers are likely to be searching for action-based keywords rather than informative ones. They’ll be looking for opportunities to put themselves to work in service of something that matters to them. 

As such, your Google Ad campaigns should orient your organization’s mission to demonstrate how the searcher can get involved. Similar to a donation campaign, where an organization asks for a person’s money, you’re asking for their time and energy. Depending on your mission and your audience, this may be a more difficult plea. Regardless, it’s important to make an appeal to someone’s sense of duty or emotional conviction.

Drive Traffic To Your Site 

You may decide to take a more indirect approach. While this kind of strategy may not yield as many volunteers, its broader appeal is more likely to expand your general audience of donors, supporters, or volunteers. 

Instead of using the Google Ad Grant to reach out to volunteers directly, you can use the ads to drive traffic to your volunteer page. This opens up the potential keywords you can use but may require that you orient your volunteer page to a more general audience

This isn’t a disadvantage, however, as the volunteer page can easily serve as a landing page. If set up correctly, this landing page will guide the visitor to any part of your website that is relevant to their level of interest. 

Introducing new people to your organization and expanding your audience may well be the first steps toward expanding your volunteer program. With good management of the Google Ad Grant, you have a valuable tool with which to conduct long-term campaigns.

Increase Conversions 

The success of a Google Ad Grant campaign is often measured in terms of conversions. A conversion is a measurable outcome that a user takes after clicking on a Google ad

This can be the act of making a donation, watching a video, or signing up for a newsletter. Like many things with the Google Ad Grant, what a conversion is–and which conversions are important–is flexible. In this case, a primary conversion may be signing up as a volunteer or downloading volunteer resources

While your conversion goals may differ from other organizations, there are commonalities between sites that get a lot of conversions. The key here is to optimize your pages to maximize conversions. This means that every design decision you make about the page should be made with the ideal conversion in mind. 

Often, this means having a page that is clear, concise, and makes a strong appeal to the visitor. Contrary to landing pages, which are designed to get visitors off the page to somewhere more important, a conversion-focused page should be designed to keep the visitor engaged to complete the desired action.

Beyond the individual pages, increasing conversions entails optimizing your whole website for user engagement. This ensures that visitors can easily navigate your website, increasing the likelihood that they’ll find themselves on your volunteer page or other page with high conversion value. 

Further, you can use analytics data to track how visitors engage with your website, allowing you to constantly update and tweak things to increase your conversions.


One of the great things about the Google Ad Grant is its flexibility. A targeted digital ad campaign gives you the ability to market in accordance with your organization’s priorities while also increasing your audience. Typically, this would cost a nonprofit a fortune, but the Google Ad Grant gives any nonprofit the opportunity to compete in digital advertising. While hiring someone to manage your Google Ad Grant is a great way to maximize its impact, many nonprofits can acquire and manage it themselves to good effect.

Whether you aim to drive donations or accelerate your volunteer program, the Google Ad Grant can be a valuable tool toward achieving your organization’s goals. If you’d like to learn more about the Google Ad Grant and how nonprofits are using it to great success, learn from the experts at Nonprofit Megaphone

 With a well-designed website, optimized pages, and careful management of your Google Ads, you can use digital ad space to drive traffic to your website, expand your reach, and gain new volunteers.


Grant Hensel is the CEO of Nonprofit Megaphone, an agency focused 100% on Google Grant Management for nonprofits. NPM is honored to manage the Google Grant for 370+ leading nonprofits worldwide and to be an inaugural member of the Google Ad Grant Certified Professionals community.