How to Apply for Google for Nonprofits – the Comprehensive Guide

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This is the second post in a series about Google for Nonprofits. In this installment, we’ll be going through the step-by-step instructions to apply for the Google for Nonprofits program.

If you’re still curious about Google for Nonprofits and want to know what it can do for you, check out the first post in this series, or this post of frequently asked questions.

Finally, if you want to take advantage of our free consultation to help you grow your business, sign up using the form below.

Grow Your Nonprofit With Google Grants

Sign up for a free consultation from a digital marketing expert specializing in Google Grants. Learn about getting help with setting up and managing your campaign so you can make the most of this opportunity. 

Do you currently have a Google Ad Grants Account?

1. Before you begin…

  1. Make sure you are registered as a charity in your country (501c3 in the US)
  2. Review the eligibility requirements to ensure you’re not on the list of ineligible organizations.
  3. Ensure your mission statement can be easily found on your website. Google uses it to determine your eligibility.
  4. Log into an appropriate Google account before you start the application, such as your work email; it will be linked to your organization’s application. You can add other linked accounts later.

2. Get a TechSoup Validation Token

Google requires all nonprofits outside the USA to be registered with TechSoup. If you’re a 501c3, skip right to step 3.

What is TechSoup? It’s an international affiliation of organizations that provide verification of nonprofit status and free & discounted software to member nonprofits. It’s completely free to join, but there is a waiting period of up to 10 business days. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Begin here and select the country your org is registered in. Click Enter
  2. On the next page, click New to if you don’t have an account yet, otherwise click Already a Member to view your validation token
  3. Click Register Your NGO to Get Validated on the popup screen
  4. An application screen will appear. On the first page:
    1. Fill out the appropriate information and click Continue >
  5. On the second page:
    1. Select your organization’s status
    2. Input your EIN. You can find it by searching your org on GuideStar in the US, and on GuideStar partner sites internationally.
    3. Click Continue
  6. On the third page:
    1. Select your organization’s type, based on its primary mission. This is only for TechSoup internal use.
    2. Add your organization’s contact information and budget
    3. Click Continue
  7. Verify your organization’s information on the next page, and click Register This Organization
  8. The following page will display an “association code” and a notification that your application was submitted. Your association code is NOT your validation code. TechSoup will email your validation code to you up to 10 business days after you submit the application; they have to confirm you’re registered as a 501c3 with the IRS before sending you the code.

3. Fill out the application

If you’re outside the US, TechSoup will email you once they’ve confirmed your organization. The validation code will look something like 123a4567@MyOrgName123. Now you’re ready to do the “real” application and get a bunch of free stuff from Google! Just follow the steps below.

US nonprofits can skip right to these steps:

  1. Begin here and select your country
  2. On the first page:
    1. Check the boxes to certify you meet the requirements
    2. If outside the US, enter your TechSoup Validation Code.
    3. Hit Continue
  3. On the second page:
    1. Fill out your organization’s contact info, website and mission statement
    2. Fill out your contact information.
    3. Select your communications preferences and “where did you hear about us”
    4. Click Submit application

4. Wait for a response

After you click “Submit application” you should see a screen that says something like “Application received”.  Google states that most applications will be processed in 10 business days, but I’ve seen some accepted in as little as 24 hours.

Conversely, Google might require more information from you, so keep an eye on the inbox of the email you used to apply. You can log into your Google for Nonprofits dashboard at at any time to check the application status.

If your application was rejected for any reason, send me a message and I will happily help you.

Otherwise, congratulations on being accepted into Google for Nonprofits!

5. Enroll in Google Workspace for Nonprofits

Unfortunately, getting accepted into the overall Google for Nonprofits program is not the final step. You’ll need to apply to each program that makes up Google for Nonprofits as well. Luckily most aren’t very complicated.

We’ll start with the application for Google Workspace, the enterprise version of Gmail, and Google Docs. If you’d like to know more about this invaluable tool, check out this post.

  1. Sign up for Google Workspace for Nonprofits here if your org doesn’t have G Suite already. If you do, you’re one step ahead!
    1. Fill in your contact information on the first page, hit Next
    2. Select Use a domain I have already purchased, unless you need to buy a domain.
    3. Type in your domain and hit Next
    4. Create your personal G Suite account at your organization’s domain.
    5. Hit Accept and Sign Up
  2. The next page will say “there’s only a few more steps!” but don’t let it confuse you. You just need to verify your domain. You can find specific instructions for your domain host here.
  3. Once you’ve verified your domain, Sign in to the Google for Nonprofits portal
  4. Click the Sign Up Now Button
  5. Click the Enroll button beneath the G Suite for Nonprofits product on the “Enrollments” page in your account
  6. Fill out the application along with your verified domain, and click Enroll

Once you apply, Google will get back to you within 3 days about the next steps, or simply confirm your account.

6. Enroll in Google Ad Grants (AdWords)

Next to G Suite, Ad Grants is probably the most useful of the programs, but also the most complicated of applications. Pay attention closely to these steps so that Google will accept your application.

Google Ads

If you’re not confident in your ability to successfully enroll, or manage your Ad Grant, contact us for our free “Google Grants 101” consultation and we will be able to answer all your questions:

Grow Your Nonprofit With Google Grants

Sign up for a free consultation from a digital marketing expert specializing in Google Grants. Learn about getting help with setting up and managing your campaign so you can make the most of this opportunity. 

Do you currently have a Google Ad Grants Account?

NOTE: During this process, ignore requests to enter your billing information. Doing so will disqualify you.

  1. Create a Google Ads account, beginning with this specific link
  2. Add US Dollar as your currency, regardless of where your nonprofit operates
  3. Click Save. You may need to re-sign-in or create a new account afterwards
  4. Click Create your first campaign on the left
  5. Choose the following settings for the campaign
    1. Type: Choose Search Network only.
    2. Networks: Uncheck the box next to “Include search partners”.
    3. Locations: Choose where you want your ads to show.
    4. Languages: Choose what languages you want people who will see your ads to speak.
    5. Bid strategy: Click I’ll manually set my bids for clicks.
    6. Default bid: Choose $2.00 USD or less.
    7. Budget: Choose $329 USD or less. You will have $329 USD to use across all of your campaigns. If your budget isn’t displaying in USD, you’ll need to create a new account in USD
  6. Skip the “Ad extensions” section and click Save and continue

In this next sub-section, you’ll be adding Ads and keywords to your account. Google requires you have one ad in the account to apply. Don’t worry about making the best ad ever, but they’ll reject you if you have irrelevant dummy text. Just write something plain and informative off the top of your head and move on with your life.

  1. Choose at least one keyword (like “animal rights nonprofit”) for your ad to display under Keywords
  2. Click Continue to ads
  3. Add the destination URL for people who click your ad. (the Home page works fine)
  4. Write the text of your ad. If you’re really stumped, check this article
  5. Click Save
  6. Click Save and finish
  7. Click Save and finish again. DO NOT ADD BILLING INFORMATION

Now that we’ve made your Adwords account, now we need to submit it for Ad Grants:

  1. Starting from your Google for Nonprofits Dashboard, sign in and click “Enroll” under to Google Ad Grants
  2. Enter your Google Ads customer ID in the form, you can find it here
  3. Click Enroll

That’s it! Again, Google should get back to you in 1-3 days.

7. Enroll in the YouTube Nonprofit Program

The YouTube Nonprofit Program (a.k.a. YouTube Social Impact) gives you access to special promotional features, such as promotional cards, which are video annotations that prompt viewers to donate. You can find out more about this feature here. The process is super-easy, so there’s no reason not to add them to your videos! Assuming you already have a YouTube channel, here are the steps to apply:

  1. As with the other programs, Sign in to the Google from Nonprofits portal
  2. Click Enroll underneath YouTube for Nonprofits
  3. Enter your organization’s YouTube Channel ID and complete the form
  4. Click Enroll

And that’s all! Google will get back to you within 3 business days.

8. Enroll in Google Maps API Grant

This feature of Google for Nonprofits gives you advanced capabilities to integrate Google Maps with your organization. It’s particularly useful if your organization is building an app and you need a map feature; I’ve cataloged a few different ways to use it in this post.

  1. Sign in to the Google from Nonprofits portal
  2. Click Enroll beneath Google Maps API Grant

And presto! Your application will be automatically approved and you’ll be able to start using the API.

That’s all, folks!

I hope that this post will make the application process much simpler for you. If it still seems like a daunting task, comment below to get help with enrollment.

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15 thoughts on “How to Apply for Google for Nonprofits – the Comprehensive Guide”

  1. Gravatar image of Kinberry


    Thank you for offering advice on applying for the Google Nonprofit Workspace. We’ve been in the process and have gotten several rejections. After reading your website, I’m thinking that our mission statement being on a website may be the issue. We bought a domain name but we don’t yet have a website to put our mission statement on. Do we need to purchase a place to put our website on before we can join Google Nonprofit? I thought once we were accepted, we could park our website within the Google Workspace at no cost.

    Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. We are not a school, hospital, or government agency. We are a local chapter of a religious organization (Bahai). We submitted our EIN number as our registration number. The email I use to set up the account is a gmail email. We have a domain name, however it’s not setup with emails yet. Is that the problem too?

    Thanks again, Kim Milai

    1. Gravatar image of Yaron Marcus

      Hi Kim,

      If you are not a 501(c)(3), you will likely run into issues with the approval process. If you are a 501(c)(3), then the website may actually be an issue, but you can build a simple site with a hosting plan for under $100 via a low-cost hosing provider.

  2. Gravatar image of Lisa Hillis

    Hello. I’ve read through the material which is so helpful. When switching our paid G Suite over to nonprofit version is there any risk to work we have already done to improve SEO?

    Thanks so much

  3. Gravatar image of Michelle Etime

    Hello, I’m a church organization and runs a lot of educational activities for the community. Would like to know if a church organization can qualify for the non-profit google Suite. THanks

    1. Gravatar image of Yaron Marcus

      Hi Michelle,
      According to Google, if you meet the below requirement, then your church can be approved.

      “Organizations, such as churches, that are automatically considered tax-exempt under group exemption must still obtain recognition of 501(c)(3) tax exemption from the IRS to qualify for the Google for Nonprofits program.”

      If you would like to read more about this, please see Google’s guidelines here –

  4. Gravatar image of Sarah Delaney

    Feeling disappointed and frustrated by the fiscal sponsor exclusion. Any tips on how to go around this?

    1. Gravatar image of Yaron Marcus

      Hi Sarah,

      Not to the best of my knowledge. Google is pretty strict when it comes to the guidelines and requirements of this program.

  5. Gravatar image of Shayla

    I read above that Google uses our website to verify a non-profit’s vision/mission. If you don’t have a website yet, will getting verified become a problem? Specific to our non-profit, we are in the beginning stages of getting our exemption and will not likely have a website by time we want to apply for the Google for Nonprofit. Thanks for being such a great resource in trying to decipher Google for Non-Profit. -Shayla

  6. Gravatar image of Judy

    We are a 503c, however, we are under the EIN number of the state organization and are listed on the EIN paperwork. We are a local chapter. Can we sign up for just our chapter/town?

  7. Gravatar image of Gary Bradski

    Great! When I set up my org, during the time we applied for 501c3, I just paid for G Suite. Now we’ve been granted 501c3 status retroactive to Feb 2019. Is there a mechanism to switching our G Suite over?

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