SNAFU alert and how to avoid it

Setting up a Google Ad Grants account

After spending several days of my life trying to set up a seemingly simple Google ad words account, I thought I’d take the time to write about the pesky details to keep in mind. The full step by step set up process can be found here.

Google for non-profits
Google for non-profits

First off you need to qualify to be eligible for the “Google Ad Grants”: They offer a whooping $10,000 per month or $329 per day for a qualifying non-profit. Of course there are certain limitations that will basically prohibit your organization from ever spending that much on any given campaign, such as these:

-Maximum cost per click (CPC) of $2.00 (you might never rise to the top of the search)
-Run only keyword-targeted campaigns (no images)
-Will only appear on Google search results
-You can only run text ads (no videos or images)
-Linking to one website of the non-profit

You need to follow their set up instructions precisely, otherwise your application will be denied. The issue I ran into was related to email addresses: the organization for which I set up the account already had a paid account. Now the same email address was associated with the paid and the supposedly unpaid account (you can not enter payment information for the Adgrants account, or you will be charged inadvertently or your grant application will be denied, as in my case.)

At some point in the set up process you have to be prepared to write a nice 300-500-word essay about the vision and mission of your non-profit and how you are changing the world and helping the community with your free account. I would highly advise you to write this in either text edit or word and not in the window provided, as my essay “disappeared” twice before it was finally recorded.
Than you have to sit back and wait two to three days to see if your account is going to be approved or denied. If it is denied initially you should insist and get on the phone with one of the nice Googlers, often it is just a technical issue that can be resolved, although it can be rather time consuming. One of my phone calls with them lasted more than two hours!

Things to remember:
1) It’s good to bring at least one other user in your organization on board by inviting him or her to be another administrator. Very important in case you need to regain access after another snafu with you email address! (SNAFU is a military slang acronym meaning “Situation Normal: All Fucked Up” and this is quite likely to happen if you don’t keep your email addresses all separate for different purposes)
2) You will have to sign into your free account at least once a month to keep it current and open, otherwise Google will shut you down. They will also send you very nice reminder emails even if you don’t log into your account for two weeks.

Overview of the process can be found on this PDF.

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