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An adjunct to Google's AdSense contextual advertising program, currently in beta release, has been making it easier for some non-profit charities. Google Grants, as the program is called, has been lurking silently in the background of the Google infrastructure for the past several months.
ROI-wise this is probably one of Google's best businesses.
Charity is a great thing, but if I am going to donate I want to choose the recipients and receive any tax benefits.
Google does not receive (or request) charitable donation receipts from the non-profits it helps with Google Grants. "What we haven't been looking at, to be totally honest, is any kind of benefit to ourselves, Sandberg said. "We just want to give back to our users and the non-profits."
They might not request tax info but they do track CTR's.
Ads that don't meet our minimum clickthrough rate (CTR) are shown less often and less prominently. If your keywords are too general or only somewhat related to your organization, you may not meet our minimum CTR, at which point your ads may be disabled.
I would still like to determine which charities I help out. Maybe Google should pay publishers googly-dollars for PSA click-thru's that they could then disburse to charities of their choice.
That would certainly be enough to give them my defaults rather than an ad banner network.
Also, the hoplinks for the PSAs are coded to show the grant recipients the exact URL of the page the clickthrough was generated from. This is also a change, and something that paying Adwords advertisers don't receive as a referral URL (although many advertisers can figure out the URL from the encoded referring URL.)
<added>Google has expanded their section on the Google grants as well - it used it be only one or two pages, and there definitely was no mention of meeting CTRs before. Grant recipients used to be given two separate PSAs to start with, then were reduced to only one PSA when the next group of grant recipients were brought in. I wonder if they have been overwhelmed with applications previously (it had been closed to new applications for quite a while), so they decided to have more criteria for grant recipients to meet. </added>
<more added>The tracking of PSAs has been added sometime after November 18, 2003. Still not sure exactly when though.</more added>
Second, Bill Gates and Microsoft give cash.
They will also go out and strong arm other industry
leaders on your behalf. Example, Cisco donated
routers to a public service organisation because
the Microsoft liason made the right phone calls.
It went from a Microsoft/IBM joint project, to
a Microsoft/IBM/Cisco project.
The total value of the project last year exceeded
$70 million. The project continues this year.
too bad google grants only seems to be offered to US NGOs (US post address required).
why's that googleguy? i run a project in burkina faso with friends, website and NGO are in austria, and yes, we do have adwords here.
I cannot answer for googleguy but maybe it is because no tax deduction is permitted for contributions to a foreign charity.
So, let's hear it for the webmasters for allowing all of those ads to run on their webpages! Good webmasters! Benevolent webmasters! Doing right for the world! Think kindly of your webmaster today!
OBTW, is that what is being said in the media? If not then perhaps we webmasters need a better PR firm.
Equal partners? Eh....maybe not, huh? Benevolent monarh? Hmmmm....monarch?
Yo! Google PR department! How about putting in a little good word with the media next time about the public service partnership with webmasters and how, without the webmasters, this wouldn't be happening? While you are raising your image you might also raise the stature of the professional webmaster.
That, of coure, doesn't include me...the eternal amateur.
Perhaps the headlines in the news should read "1000s of Webmasters Help Charitable Organizations by Running Free Promotional Ads on their Websites"?
Actually, AdSense publishers have the choice of whether or not to participate in the Google grant program by displaying the PSAs. It is not mandatory. Any publisher can choose to specify an alternative ad, which will display an alternative ad that the publisher specifies (such as a banner with an affiliate link).
grants only seems to be offered to US NGOs (US post address required).
A Canadian non-profit (CPAWS) has been a grant recipient for quite a while. There must be some alternative way for non-USA non-profits to apply. There is also the potential for AdSense to show geotargeted non-profits (Canadians see Canadian PSAs; UK would see UK PSAs) which I thought perhaps they might do after CPAWS joined, but there hasn't been anything yet.
Actually, AdSense publishers have the choice of whether or not to participate in the Google grant program by displaying the PSAs. It is not mandatory....
Jen, I think I failed to make my point.
The fact that webmasters aren't opting out - that they are allowing the PSAs to run - is what makes the system work. If they did otherwise - say, all opted out - what would the news be? "Good idea fails miserably?"
My point is that in the story Google would have done well to give credit where credit is due. To have said clearly that the system only works - the good news only gets published - because webmasters are willing participants, that it is the webmasters who "donate the webpage space and the traffic".
If Google put in a good word for the profession, elevating the role of webmasters in the process, they would have earned extra points in my book. That's not how anyone chose to spin the story. Instead, it looks like it's all about Google. That's unfortunate.
The only question related to the charity issue is if the alternative ads get included with the impression count. If google is not counting the charity impressions, then webmasters are making desicions based on faulty data.
As mentioned early, running your own charity ads is a good and legitimate use of the Google alternative ad space.
I'm not an accountant, so maybe I'm wrong. Google isn't charging NPOs any money, so they don't have any income to report. That's the 'tax break'.
I am a freelance service provider. If I did work for free for a charitable organization, I could decide to charge them and at the same time donate the same amount of money to the charity. That would increase my income, but I could deduct a charitable donation. The result on my taxes owed is the same.
Basically what Google is doing is the equivalent of volunteering their time. Doesn't reduce or increase the taxes to be paid. You cannot reduce your taxes by volunteering your services.
I know that there are exceptions for individuals in Canada, which is where I live. Charitable donations are now credited in the highest tax bracket regardless of the tax bracket you're in. So if you are in a low tax bracket, charge a charity for your work, and then donate that money to the charity, you get credited for the high tax bracket, but pay taxes for the lower bracket. However, this won't apply to a corporation.
Just my opinion. Feel free to tell me if I'm wrong.
Contact them to ask about non-US non-profits here:
done. i'll report here what they answered.
i received their answer (which was very accurate and polite, cheers google!), i hope it's ok if i quote from their email:
"Currently Google offers two forms of participation for Non-Profit organizations. The Google Grants program you see via our site is offered for US based organizations that qualify. However the Google AdSense Public Service Advertising Program is offered to international organizations. This is program that CPAWS is currently participating in.
As of now, we are not taking formal requests for participation for the AdSense Public Service Advertising Program. However, we may be looking to expand this offer to additional organizations in the near future."
finally they ask me to send information about my NGO to be considered.