Molly Pelic

Molly oversees our Google Ads team- which means that if you’re in Grow, she’s working tirelessly to make sure we know all about Google’s latest changes and how we can maximize the Grant for your c... read more

The Ultimate Guide to Google Ad Grant for Churches

Across the world, people make over 350 billion Google searches every single day. People are constantly searching for answers, how-to, help, and resources. 

Think about it:

  • A tired parent Google searches “things to do with kids”
  • A lonely college freshman searches “looking for community”
  • A brokenhearted woman searches “how do I find hope?”
  • A confused man searches “who is God?”

Wouldn’t it be great if your church showed up at the top of those search results?

The good news is you can, and it won’t cost you a dime — with Google’s FREE Ad Grant!

See If your Church Qualifies

Never heard of the Google Ad Grant?

Here’s a quick summary: Google gives nonprofits $10,000 per month in advertising money to rank first in search results. So, when someone in your area searches for “things to do with kids,” or “local events,” or whatever other keywords you choose, your church ad would show up at the top of the page — you’d be one click away from drawing someone in from your community who’s searching for answers.

Now that’s a game-changer!!!

The Quick Case for Google Ads: 5 Reasons Your Church Should Use the Google Ad Grant

Not convinced the Google Ad Grant is worth it? Here are 5 reasons we passionately believe churches should utilize this tool to reach more people:

  1. The Google Ad Grant is Free. That’s right, it’s $10,000 in FREE advertising every single month. It’s a free way to reach more people!
  2. Google Search Ads let your church show up in search results when people are asking a question. This is huge. You know that the church is the answer to people’s deepest hurts, needs, and struggles. But not everyone searching the internet knows that. With Google Search Ads, your church can show up right when someone’s searching.
  3. Billions of people make Google searches everyday. Google is the most visited website on the internet, processing over 3.5 billion searches every. single. day. Your church could show up in some of those search results. 
  4. It’s easy to target Google Ads. Only want to reach people of a certain demographic? Only want to talk to people in a certain geographic area? Only want to target people searching for “online church”? Google has detailed targeting options available.
  5. You only “pay” for results. We put “pay” in quotation marks because with the grant, you’re not paying out of pocket. But one great aspect of Google Ads is that you don’t pay until you get a result from your ad (such as someone clicking on the ad). So you won’t waste any of the Ad Grant money on people who don’t connect with your church website.

We could go on, but this list should give you some reasons to consider applying for and utilizing the Google Ad Grant! Keep reading if you want to learn more about the Google Ad Grant’s effectiveness and how to make sure your church is getting the most impact possible.

Is the Google Ad Grant Effective?

This is one of the biggest questions we get asked about the Google Ad Grant. You don’t have to take our word for it. In this section, we’re going to share some stories from churches that we help utilize the Google Ad Grant:

“We noticed a definite increase in the number of visitors we’re seeing each week now as soon as CMU started managing our Google Grant.  We even had new visitors during the high point of Covid when we had to move our services outdoors and are continuing to see a steady stream of new people every week.”  

“[CMU] started running our Google Grants about a week ago (we’ve had an account for several years). It’s been unmanaged for the last 20 months… during that time we had significant decrease in guests. Last Sunday we had one of the highest guest counts in a long time in part from what we do on FB but also… because we are seeing increases in Google Grant ad clicks”

The list goes on. We’ve worked with churches who:

  • Connected with a woman searching for community who had never been to the church before. She joined a discipleship small group and heard the Gospel message
  • Grew a young adults group with new members joining every single month, all because they saw a Google Ad for young adults community nearby
  • See new visitors every single week because they show up first in search results
  • Receive calls for prayer and ministry through Google Ads, extending the church’s impact

How Does My Church Get The Google Ad Grant?

Now that you know what the Google Grant is, we know what you’re probably asking – “how does my church get the Google Ad Grant?”

The good news is that it’s not too hard! Google gives churches and other eligible organizations the Ad Grant through their Google For Nonprofits program. 

  • Log into your Google For Nonprofits Account. If you don’t already have one, apply here
  • Click “Activate Products” and activate the Ad Grant.
  • If Google denies your Ad Grant application, make changes and reapply.

Here’s a little more detail. The Ad Grant is considered a “product” in the Google For Nonprofits program. If you already have a Google For Nonprofits account, log in and Activate the Google Ad Grant product! If you think you have an account but can’t find it, make sure you’re logged in with the right Google account.



See if your church qualifies

If you don’t have a Google For Nonprofits account yet, visit this link to make sure your church is eligible. Eligibility requirements vary by country, but in the United States your church must be recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization formed for charitable, educational, religious, literary, scientific, or other tax-exempt purposes (chances are, you’ll fall in that religious category!). If you’re tax exempt under a group exemption, such as a denominational affiliation, you can get more info here

Once you confirm that you’re eligible, visit the Google For Nonprofits website, click Get Started, and follow the steps to apply. Google will confirm your application and let you know when your application is approved. Once it’s approved, log into your account and Activate the Google Ad Grant product. 

Activating the Google Ad Grant will require filling out a second, short form with information about your organization and advertising goals. Google will review your request (as well as reviewing your website) and either approve or deny your application.

If Google denies your application, don’t worry! You can make changes to your website, or follow any other feedback provided, and reapply. If you aren’t sure what specific changes to make, check for issues like broken links, 404 pages, or other functional problems. If you get denied again, try reaching out to Google for Nonprofits support or ask the Google Help Community!

How to Use the Google Ad Grant At Your Church (options)

Okay, so you’re convinced. You see the value in the Google Ad Grant and you know how to access it for your church. In order to continue to qualify for the Google Ad Grant, organizations must meet Google’s ad performance requirements. Here are 2 approaches churches take to make sure this happens:

Option #1: Hire a Team of Experts to Run the Google Ads Account

Most churches choose to hire an agency to run their Google Ad Grant account. Why? Because worrying about click-through rates, keyword quality scores, maintaining account performance, creating new campaigns, building new ads, and taking care of the account can quickly become a huge task on someone’s plate. Many churches choose to outsource their Ads Management so they don’t have to think about it, and so they can trust that someone’s handling it who knows what they’re doing.

  • Pros to this approach: You don’t have to stress about meeting Google’s performance requirements. You can trust that an expert is taking care of the account and helping you get as much impact as possible.
  • Cons to this approach: Hiring a team to manage it costs money. Also, many companies copy-paste ads from other accounts or use very broad, irrelevant targeting. We never do that.

Option #2: Run the Account Yourself

Through a combination of free and affordable courses and resources on the internet, someone on your church team or a high-capacity volunteer can learn to maintain and manage the account. It takes some learning, but some churches choose to go this route to save money and keep the Ad Grant Management in-house.

  • Pros to this approach: You’ll save money, rather than paying someone else to manage your ads. It gives a willing volunteer or leader an opportunity to serve the church in this way.
  • Cons to this approach: Maintaining an account takes time. On top of that, learning to manage Google Ads can be a big project. It’s often hard to find resources other than Google’s technical training, which will only take you so far. Most available resources are not designed for churches.

Why Choose CMU Grow?

Our CMU communications, church, and Google experts are adept at not only securing the grant, but putting it to use for churches who’ve achieved life-changing results. Here’s what they’re saying:

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.

  • 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

What Does CMU Offer to Help My Church Utilize the Google Ad Grant?

Want to increase your impact with the Google Ad Grant – but don’t have a volunteer or team member who wants to take on that project? Church Marketing University has an option to do just that.

The CMU Grow Google Ad Grant PRocess

  1. If you don’t already have the grant, we’ll walk with you through the grant application process
  2. We’ll build out local ad groups based on your website and community (and we’ll make recommendation of pages you can build so we can max out your church’s ad account!)
  3. We’ll monitor your Ads account, update your ads, and manage your monthly grant spend so you get the most impact
  4. We’ll connect with you regularly to create custom, keyword-targeted Ad Groups based on your current events, ministries, and more
  5. Our team will take care of everything – you don’t have to worry about it!

Join the Grow Waitlist

Further Resources

If you’re still not convinced that showing up in Google search results is important, take a look at these stats about how many people use Google daily.

Want to become Google Search Ad Certified? Check out Google’s free Search Ad course and certification.

Google gives qualifying non-profits the Ad Grant through Google For Nonprofits. Learn more about the Ad Grant and GFN here.

As you’re managing your Google Ad Grant account, you’ll want to make sure the account is meeting Google’s requirements. They’re listed here (this list changes periodically. Be sure to stay up to date on Google’s requirements at this link and by doing your own research).

Are Google Search Ads really beneficial? Check out this article to learn more.

See if your church qualifies

Use the Google Ad Grant Eligibility Checker to see if your church qualifies for $10,000 in free advertising money!