Everything You Need To Know About Microsoft Ads for Social Impact

$3000 Advertising Grant for Eligible Charities


Many charities will already be familiar with the Google Ad Grants scheme which offers charities and not-for-profits at least $10,000 every month to spend on search advertising via Google Ads.

(NB – If you are not familiar with this and you are a charity, get in touch with us urgently!)

Microsoft, as with much of their platform, has created a similar offer for charities – named Microsoft Ads for Social Impact.

This offers $3000 per month to eligible charities to use on pay-per-click advertising.

The scheme launched in Summer 2022 where it began offering a number of charities access to the grant.

This has since been running as a pilot scheme while Microsoft review and fine tune the offering before rolling it out.

Although the scheme is not currently available to new applicants. There is an onsite form where interested charities are invited to register their interest for when the scheme is expanded after the pilot.

Everything You Need To Know About Microsoft Ads for Social Impact

In this article, we will be exploring the benefits and opportunities this program presents for UK charities.

About the Scheme

In an increasingly digital world, online visibility plays a crucial role in the success of any organisation, never mind charitable organisations.

In recognition of this, Microsoft’s Ads for Social Impact scheme will join the Google Grant scheme in helping charities to amplify reach and maximise their impact.

Via this scheme, charities will have the chance to access the equivalent of $3000 per month to invest in search advertising with Microsoft Ads.

This includes the Microsoft Search Network (Bing, Yahoo, AOL) and Microsoft Audience Network (outlook.com, MSN, Microsoft Edge, Ecosia).

How the Microsoft Ads for Social Impact Scheme Will Benefit Charities

The digital landscape offers vast potential for charities to connect with their target audiences and raise awareness about their causes and missions.

In this day and age, there are a myriad of organisations vying for attention. The Microsoft Ads for Social Impact scheme provides an invaluable solution; enabling charities to enhance their online visibility and generate more exposure.

Utilising the power of search ads, UK charities can reach more potential donors, volunteers and beneficiaries, with minimal acquisition costs.

Understanding Search Ads

Search ads refer to the text ads which sit at the top of the search engine results pages.

Everything You Need To Know About Microsoft Ads for Social Impact

NB – notice the very small ‘Ad’ indicator to the left of the ad description

Search ads allow organisations to display text ads in a prominent position, ensuring they appear when users search for relevant keywords and phrases. 

This targeted approach ensures that organisations can connect with individuals who have a genuine interest in their cause, by only showing when someone is actively searching for a related term. 

What’s more, because they appear while a user is searching, the chances of engagement and support is maximised because they are in the right mindset to see messaging about your organisation. 

Microsoft Ads For Social Impact Eligibility Criteria

To participate in the scheme, charities must meet the eligibility criteria set by Microsoft. This typically includes:

Microsoft Ads For Social Impact Application Process

The Microsoft Ads for Social Impact scheme will offer a straightforward and accessible process for UK charities to apply for and access the advertising grant.

It’s crucial that interested organisations ensure that they meet the eligibility requirements before applying.

To apply, charities should:

  • Start the application process via the designated Microsoft Ads for Social Impact website
  • Gather and provide all the necessary information about the charity

Once Microsoft has confirmed your eligibility, they will approve the application and the charity will become enrolled in the scheme.

Setting Up and Managing Campaigns

Once your charity has been approved on the Microsoft Ads for Social Impact scheme,you will be able to use the platform to create and manage advertising campaigns.

Similarly to ‘paying customers’ you will be able to work through the steps of:

  • defining your target audience
  • selecting relevant keywords
  • creating engaging ad copy
  • setting budgets for each campaign

Once the campaign is live, you’ll be able to use the in-built tools for optimise your campaign performance and track all of your key metrics.

As with the Google Grants scheme it is likely that, once approved, participants will need to follow some specific guidelines in order to continue to receive the benefits.

This includes things like:

Everything You Need To Know About Microsoft Ads for Social Impact

Measuring the Success of Not-for-Profit PPC Campaigns

Microsoft Ads offers robust reporting and analytics tools that enable charities to monitor the performance of their campaigns.

Charities will be able to track key metrics across the campaigns,including:

  • Impressions – how many times your ad has been shown
  • Clicks – how many times someone has clicked on your ad
  • Conversions – how many times someone has performed a meaningful action (as defined by you*)
  • Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) – a measurement of the amount of revenue earned for every £1 of the budget used on advertising

These insights provide valuable data to assess the effectiveness of the campaigns and make data-driven optimisations to improve results.

*Conversion Tracking is a whole other kettle of fish – this is where you set up defined actions in Google Analytics that you’d like to measure. For charities, this will typically be every time someone donates, contacts you, signs up to your newsletter, completes a form (e.g. volunteering form).

These need to be set up using your website and Google Analytics and can then be imported into Microsoft Ads.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Microsoft Ads for Social Impact Scheme

How will this fit in with our other marketing?

Don’t get us wrong, this scheme is not going to transform your charity overnight, it is not a silver bullet to sky-rocket your donations and offers of support. 

However, it is a generous monthly advertising credit which will empower charities to launch advertising campaigns as part of their broader campaign activity, while reaching wider audiences and raising funds more effectively. 

It is crucial to break down your organisation’s different objectives and identify where added visibility could help to boost your marketing efforts. 

Is This Replacing Microsoft’s Previous Scheme?

This is not the first scheme that Microsoft has launched for the not-for-profit sector. Now closed, this previous scheme required charities to also contribute financially in order to access an advertising grant. 

Microsoft Ads for Social Impact does not require any financial input from charities at all. It is purely a funded grant scheme which is great to hear! 

Should I bother with Microsoft Ads for Social Impact if I am already using Google Grants?

Microsoft Ads can be frequently overlooked in comparison to the behemoth of Google, however it is continuing to grow in market share and should not be overlooked. 

Recent reports by Statista highlighted that Bing accounted for 3.75% of the search market in the UK across all devices. 

Although that percentage seems small, this has doubled since June 2021 when Bing held just 1.4% of the search market in the UK. 

If you are using Google Grants, then hopefully you have already unlocked some great results by receiving the free advertising budget. By investing time and effort into Microsoft this can further be enhanced.

Can I import my Google Campaigns into Microsoft Ads?

Yes – similarly to paid accounts, your campaigns in Google Ads can be easily imported directly into Microsoft Ads to save you having to reinvent the wheel on each platform. 

When you make optimisations on your Google campaigns, these can be imported across with your campaigns to save time. 

Will I be able to manage the campaigns myself?

The short answer is- it depends! 

Some charities have a very established marketing team which includes people with the right digital skills to be able to confidently manage pay-per-click campaigns. 

However – for many- this is a luxury and internal teams are more focused on fundraising and campaigning. 

Simply leaving the campaign to ‘manage itself’ or being hands-off with the optimisations is not an approach we would recommend. 

It is likely by doing this that not only would you not see measurable results from the advertising grant, but inactivity could see you suspended from the program. 

Many digital agencies offer PPC management services which includes Google Grants and Microsoft Ads for Social Impact support. Be sure to choose an agency which has demonstrable experience in the charity sector to ensure they are familiar with the requirements of the grants programmes. 

Do Atelier offer support with Microsoft Ads for Social Impact?

Yes – we have worked with many charities to help them navigate everything that comes with digital marketing in the not-for-profit sector. This includes the likes of theatres and arts venues through to children’s charities. 

Everything You Need To Know About Microsoft Ads for Social Impact

We focus on affordable, flexible support which focuses on generating results which help you achieve your mission, while empowering and training your internal teams. 

Get in touch with us for a no obligation conversation about how these schemes could work for you.