maximize conversions image of a laptop open to google ads

Should Nonprofits Use the Ad Grants “Maximize Conversions” Bid Strategy?

updated 11/13/2023


As everyone who has either owned or worked with a Google Ad Grant account knows, the max cost-per-click (CPC) bid has been capped at $2. For many nonprofit organizations, this limitation makes gaining traction feel arduous and unlikely as they strive to maximize conversions while achieving their ad grant marketing goals.

In January 2019, Google announced that they lifted this max CPC bid cap. But, is this true and accurate today? Yes, and no. Discover what this means for your nonprofit and the tactics you can use to work around this limitation.



For most nonprofits, the keywords directly attached to their missions, programs, and/or services typically come at a higher cost—which is why your campaigns may be struggling in the first place. 

If you are using the “Maximize Clicks” or “Impression Share” bidding strategies, you may have noticed that your average CPC is still below $2. Even if you go into Google Ads Editor, it will still flag any max CPC bid over $2. 

The first trick to overcome this cap is using the Max Conversions (or Conversion Value) strategy. With the $2 max CPC bid lifted for Max Conversions, you are more easily able to compete for higher-cost keywords. 



For example, our client below has great brand awareness and a uniquely spelled name, which leads to lower CPC for their brand keywords. Using the Maximize Clicks strategy, the Average CPC for their brand campaign historically has not gone over $2. 

However, for their Disaster Relief Program campaign, they used keywords with high CPC and search volume (i.e. hurricane relief, wildfire relief, etc). With the bidding strategy set to Maximize Conversions, we were able to break the $2 bidding cap and bid for keywords that cost an average of $6-8.


Campaign Name

Bidding Strategy Avg. CPC


Maximize Click $0.89
Disaster Relief Program Maximize Conversions



Utilizing the Maximize Conversions strategy for your campaign can be a game changer, helping you reach more of your intended audience. 



While you can easily switch the bidding strategies and see significant improvements in a few days, there is an underlying catch here to truly reap ALL of the benefits. You need to have an accurate conversion tracking setup for your Ad Grant.

The Google for Nonprofit Ad Grant program requires conversion tracking to be set up on every account; so, you may have imported Google Analytics conversions already. But, we have found that the more accurate your conversion tracking is, the better your ads serve your intended audience and the more efficient your ROI. 

As an example, our AFS-USA Case Study highlights how improved conversion tracking produces higher-quality outcomes.



While Ad Grants will always be considered “second priority” in Google Ads bidding auctions, with the Maximize Conversions bidding strategy, we now have a tool that can help us have a more competitive edge in reaching our intended audiences. Whether you change your bidding strategy and use only a few basic conversions or dive deep into more complex conversion tracking, you are bound to see improved results over time. 

At Media Cause, our goal is to help our clients do just that—achieve results that move your mission forward and create lasting impact. Our expert team of marketers would be happy to partner with you to help you navigate new strategies and develop a more robust Google Ad Grants understanding and practice to take your account to the next level. 

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