What is the Google Ad Grant?

Google offers qualifying non-profit organizations, including churches, $10,000/month to spend on search ads. Search ads allow organizations to rank first in search results, offering relevant, keyword-targeted text ads in response to the questions people are already asking. Learn more about the Google Ad Grant here.

How can churches utilize the Google Ad Grant?

  1. Reach local community members with information about weekend services
  2. Advertise outreach events to connect with more people
  3. Reach people across the country with online ministry opportunities


Why Did My Website Get Denied?

There are a couple steps to apply for the Google Ad Grant:

  1. Apply for a Google For Nonprofits Account
  2. Log into your Google For Nonprofits account, and activate the “Google Ad Grant” Product

Sometimes, after completing Step 2, you’ll receive this vague message from Google:

Your activation request needs work. Your organization’s website doesn’t meet the Ad Grants website policy standards. Update your website and re-submit your activation request for review. Change the website to load quickly and have clear navigation. Include substantial, up-to-date content and calls-to-action.

The problem is, that feedback isn’t very specific. It’s hard to figure out exactly what to change on your church’s website.

Here are some of the common reasons churches get this response, denying their website:

1. Your Website Doesn’t List Your Nonprofit Status

Google often denies websites that do not contain information about the church’s nonprofit status. To fix this problem, add a line to your website about being a 501c3 organization, along with your EIN number.

You can find an example on this page in the bottom section and in the footer: https://thelifesong.org/about-us/

2. Your Website Contains Broken Links

Google will deny your website if the menu, header, footer, or other areas of the website contain broken links. It can be tedious to check every page on your website for broken links, but a free tool like this will check for you: https://www.deadlinkchecker.com/website-dead-link-checker.asp

3. Your Website Contains Broken Buttons/Menu Items.

This is very similar to the reason above – if some of the buttons on your website aren’t clickable, don’t lead where people would expect, or are broken, Google will deny your Grant application.

Go through your website and test every button and menu item. If something looks like a button (or looks like it should be clickable), make sure it works!

4. Your Website Loadspeed is Slow

In order to qualify for the Google Ad Grant, your church is required to have a high-speed, quickly loading website. This creates a great user experience. To test your website’s load speed, use a free tool like: https://tools.pingdom.com/.

If your website has a large load time, try to reduce your Home Page (and other pages) size below 2 MB. This can often be done by optimizing images with an image compressor and/or an image resizer:

Resize your images (https://imageresizer.com/)

  1. Banner image: recommend 1500-1800 pixels wide, 500 kb or less (less is ideal)
  2. Normal image: 700 pixels wide is a good size. Big enough to fill the space but not too large

Compress your images (https://imagecompressor.com/)

5. Your Website Contains Incomplete Pages

Google denies many websites because of incomplete pages. These could be pages that say things like:

  • 404 error
  • Page coming soon
  • Under construction
  • Livestream unavailable at this time
  • *nothing at all* (blank pages reallllllly bother Google)

Basically, if a page on your website looks or feels incomplete, it affects user experience. Which, in turn, means Google will deny your Ad Grant application.

In these cases, I recommend churches just temporarily remove those pages (or put them in draft mode) until they’re complete!

6. Text is Hard to Read

If you have white text over a photo, text that’s in a complex font, or other text that’s hard to read, Google will deny your website for lack of readability. This also applies if text (or photos) are cut off at the edge of the screen. Make sure text is readable, complete, and easy to notice!

7. Your Website Is Not Secure

In order to qualify for the Google Ad Grant, your website must be secure. To check if your website is secure, open the website in a new tab and check for a lock icon next to the website URL ????. If you can’t figure it out from the URL bar, try a tool like: https://www.hubspot.com/ssl-checker.

Once You’ve Checked Those 5 Things…

Once you check for those problems on your church website, try re-submitting your website for approval. If your website gets denied again, try posting in the Google Help Community. Your question will be submitted to Google Experts who can give you more detailed feedback. We recommend posting something like this:

Hello! Our Ad Grant application was denied, stating that:

Your organization’s website doesn’t meet the Ad Grants website policy standards. Update your website and re-submit your activation request for review. Change the website to load quickly and have clear navigation. Include substantial, up-to-date content and calls-to-action.

The website is: [website link]

We included our non-profit status on the website, checked for broken links and incomplete pages, checked our load speed, and ensured our website is secure. Can you help us figure out what else might be wrong?

Still Not Sure Why You’re Denied?

If you’ve checked your website for all 6 of the potential problems listed above, AND tried posting in the Google Help Community (give Google representatives a couple days to respond), and still can’t figure out why your website is getting denied, you can try contacting Google Customer support directly. It can be difficult to get in touch directly, but this website sometimes provides a chat option: https://support.google.com/grants/.

If you are able to get in touch with a Google Agent directly, they may be able to tell you why your website is getting denied. Before contacting them, try all of the options listed above.

CMU Team

Church Marketing University has a team of Google Ads certified professionals who run Google Ad Grant accounts for churches. These team members maintain the accounts to meet Google’s account requirements and check in with churches to create ads for new ministries and events.

Why Hire CMU?

  • Trained professionals manage the account so you have one less thing on your plate
  • Grant Managers build all ads custom to your church, rather than copy-pasting ads from other accounts
  • Grant Managers create ads that match your church’s website copy, branding, and advertise to your geographical location
  • Work with a responsive, relational team that cares about your church ministry success