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Nonprofits receive Google Grant budget increases to aid in pandemic response

Nonprofits like food banks and healthcare organizations have seen a surge in donations during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s important to remember that this crisis is a marathon not a sprint.

Human need will continue to increase as a growing population struggles with hunger and unemployment. More than ever, nonprofits will need to lean in to get their message out.

Google Grants have proven to be a versatile option for nonprofit organizations during times of disaster.

As search traffic increases, ads not only help bring in more donations, but they can also be positioned to reach those who need help, telling them where and how they can get it.

Here’s how you can ensure your Google Grants are being used to the fullest and optimized for the best results:


As a Certified Professional Community Agency, RKD Group has a direct link to the Google Ad Grants team. Because of this, we have the unique opportunity to gain additional funding and access to sensitive keywords and whitelisted campaigns on behalf of our clients.

Through our partnership with Connecticut Food Bank, we were able to secure additional funds for their campaigns in April. In fact, several of our clients have received a 50% boost in Google Grant funds through June to help during the pandemic.

“Having a Google Grant has allowed us to quickly connect our community with the resources they need, whether it’s searching for help from a local food pantry or donating to the food bank to help support our neighbors who desperately need assistance,” said Paul Shipman, Senior Director of Marketing, Communication, and Government Relations at Connecticut Food Bank.

From April 9 to April 16, donations to the Connecticut Food Bank increased by 1,960% and clicks rose by 530% year over year.

Budget increases to aid in pandemic-1

In order to use this funding to your advantage, let’s look at a couple of key things to keep in mind when running your grant ads.


When we look to past disasters, there’s always a correlation between what’s going on in the news and what happens with web traffic. If your local news station is running spots on your organization, you will then see a rise in both organic and Grant traffic.

After Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017, SPCA of Texas deployed disaster response efforts in North Texas to assist the Gulf Coast. They needed to generate awareness for their services, raise funds and recruit volunteers quickly.

By updating branded ad copy and creating disaster-specific campaigns, SPCA of Texas was able to utilize the increased web traffic to help their cause, resulting in a 723% increase in donations and a 2,830% increase in conversions.

Budget increases to aid in pandemic-2

However, it’s important to remember to track meaningful conversions – like completed donations and emails. High click rates, although exciting, are meaningless if they don’t lead to conversions.

The key is to use this data to mold more effective bidding strategies.


Messaging is king during a disaster, and this rings true across all channels. Staying up to date on messaging in your ads will help provide audiences with the most accurate information.

Urgent messaging will also help ensure that your donors know about your increased need, driving them to donate.

To make sure your message is getting seen, it’s a good idea to have a dedicated landing page discussing how your organization is helping fight COVID-19. A dedicated landing page will help improve the quality score of the keywords and improve the users search experience.

Finally, take full advantage of the opportunities Google Grants offer to your organization. As people search for ways to help their communities, having your message in front of them will help your organization in the long run.

Want more? Check these out:

Ashley Walker

Ashley oversees PPC and Google Ad Grant efforts at RKD Group, helping manage how we optimize conversions across our client's marketing platforms. Ashley is actively involved as an ambassador for the Ad Grant Certified Professionals, a cohort designed to develop and share best practices across the Google for Nonprofit member community.

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