You read it right. I can guarantee there is no click bait happening here.

At some point in history, Google decided that they wanted to help nonprofits by giving them free advertising. They do this by giving charities a whole load of spend (approx £100,000 in sterling) each year with their Google Adwords programme.

Did someone just say one hundred grand worth of free advertising? For some reason this fact is remarkably unknown in the church space.

A few caveats before we start:

1. This is only for registered charities (which most churches are or at least should be)
2. I’m not familiar with all of the rules outside of the UK but it seems that the requirements are very similar

So what is Google Adwords?

Google Adwords basically provides adverts to people who are using Google search. What’s so cool about online advertising in general is that you have the ability to target people who are already looking for you.

When you give out 10,000 flyers around a neighbourhood, a whole bunch of people don’t actually want your flyer. Not only do you potentially irritate some but you definitely waste a lot of time in the process.

With Google Adwords, you can make sure that every single person you connect with is at least vaguely interested in finding out more.

Google of course is the largest search engine with over 70% of the market share. Second is YouTube which is of course owned by Google too.

How churches can use Google Adwords

Most simply, you can start by advertising to people who are looking for a church in your area. If someone types into Google “church near me” or any other plethora of options then you can hit them up with an advert which will appear right at the top of their page. Not too shabby.

Running successful paid advertising campaigns requires a good knowledge of keywords and SEO to maximise your results. Think about how brands engage the community with campaigns. “Come to church” is an ok start but there are plenty more opportunities to take a hold of.

(You might like this campaign I helped design which captured 500 email addresses of first year students: The Hidden Gems of York)

Google does have some rules about minimum engagement on your ads to stop spam so it’s worth doing properly.

So wait… how much are they giving us again?

You get $10,000 USD per month to use on Google Adwords. This works out (depending on when you check the exchange rates) as £100,000/year.

How do we sign up?

Google offers this free advertising in the form of a grant. All you have to do is head to and apply.

Expect to be taken through a fairly bitty process full of forms, verification, back and forth and the like. Or reach out if you’d like some help accelerating up the process.

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