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Blog > How to Keep your Google Ads Account Active

How to Keep your Google Ads Account Active

posted on Dec 6, 2019

By David Bird

Faculty_of_Instructors/Birds-Eye-Marketing-LI-company-logo-300sq.jpgMost of the information in this blog came from course notes for the Google Advertising course offered at Volunteer Ottawa by David Bird. David is a Marketing Consultant and owner of Birds Eye Marketing, which provides marketing services for a number of clients in the Ottawa area, particularly in Google AdWords and Analytics.


You have a Google Ads account, right? Any registered not-for-profit can get a free account which will give you up to $10,000 of advertising PER MONTH. Given that 88% of Canadians are online [1], and 90% of searches are on Google [2], you need to get on this one. Read our previous blog post to find out how to get a Google Ads Grant.

Keeping your Google Ads account active

Staying in the Grants program is actually pretty easy, and the rules are really just best practices anyway. Here are the rules:

  1. You must have at least
    1. One campaign
    2. 2 ad groups per campaign
    3. 1 site link extension
  2. You must use one automated bidding strategy
    1. This means you need to have conversion tracking set up
  3. Maintain a Quality Score of 3 or higher
  4. Maintain >5% click-through rate for your overall account

In this post, we’ll look at the first requirement in this list. We’ll look at the other requirements in future posts.


A Google Ads campaign is a set of ad groups which share the following:

  • A budget
  • Location targeting
  • Language
  • Other settings

Campaigns are often organized by categories of products or services that you offer. For example, at Volunteer Ottawa, we offer a number of different professional development courses. We have a separate campaign set up for each course, as well as campaigns for the type of courses (e.g. volunteer management or board governance courses)

You can set up as many campaigns as you want. Once a campaign is no longer relevant, you can delete it or pause it if it will be useful again in the future.

Ad Groups

An Ad group is a grouping of keywords which share a theme, and ads which are linked to those keywords.

1.      Start by brainstorming a list of keywords.

For example, when I develop an ad group for our course, Google Advertising for NFPs, I might come up with the following:

  • Not-for-Profit advertising
  • Google Advertising
  • Google Ads course
  • Search Engine Advertising
  • Not-for-Profit grants
  • Charity grants
  • Non-Profit Organization grants
  • Non-Profit Advertising
  • Get found on Google

(Note that Google Ads calls them keywords even though they actually do not allow single words. Key phrases is more accurate.)

2.      Look for common themes

Look for common themes in your keyword (key phrase) list:

  • Not-for-Profit,
  • Advertising,
  • Grants.

Each of these becomes the basis of an Ad Group. Each Ad group can have an unlimited number of ads, but you’ll likely want to keep it to 2-3 ads per group.

Make sure you have at least 2 ad groups per campaign.

3.      Create your Ads

An advertisement in Google promotes something specific. If your product or service can be applicable in multiple ways, and/or to multiple users, then use multiple ads to target each one separately.

You need a minimum of 2 ads per ad group. The name of the Ad Group should be in each ad.

Here are the components of a Google Ad:

Ad component

Max characters (includes spaces)

What to say

Final URL


Link to the specific page on your website which is related to the ad, e.g. the registration page for the workshop.

Headline 1

30 characters

What you have

Headline 2

30 characters

What’s special about you

Headline 3

30 characters

What’s special about you

Path 1

15 characters

Where your user will go if they click

Path 2

15 characters

Reinforce that your page is the right place for them

Description Line 1

90 characters

Who is your company? Why should I trust you?

Description Line 1

90 characters

More about your company


Pay attention to the final URL and the first two headlines. Don’t worry too much about the rest. Very few people read past the second headline.

A note about the final URL: this is really important. The page should contain a clear call to action, e.g. register for a course, sign up for a mailing list, sign a petition, make a donation. We will talk about conversion tracking in a future post.

If people do not act on your call to action, then something in the chain needs to be fixed.

  • If people are not clicking on your ad, then fix your ad.
  • If people are clicking but not doing the action, then fix your page.

What next?

Google Ads is a fantastic way to get found. Come to our upcoming course to learn more.

Click here to register Thursday, May 7, 2020. 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Want to learn more? Come to an upcoming workshop.

Click here for more information, and to register.

Volunteer Ottawa offers a comprehensive suite of courses related to all aspects of running a non-profit or a charity. Click here for our event calendar. Subscribe to our Event RSS Feed to be among the first to know when a new workshop is added to the schedule.

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Related blog posts:

[1] Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), "Communications Monitoring Report 2018," Government of Canada, 29 July 2019. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 28 November 2019]. [2] J. Clement, "Global Market Share of Search Engines 2010-2019," Statistica, 9 September 2019. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 28 November 2019].
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