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How to Reach More Donors: SEO for Nonprofits

How to Reach More Donors: SEO for Nonprofits

How to Reach More Donors: SEO for Nonprofits

SEO is critical for any business looking to increase their online presence. Nonprofits value positive attention in order to succeed, which means having a stable showing online. Learn how nonprofits can leverage SEO strategies to attract more donors.

Do a quick Google search for nonprofits near me.

What comes up? You will likely get a directory list, a map pack, or some PAA results. How do you get your nonprofit to the top of that list?


While the placement of results on SERPS (search engine results pages) is constantly evolving, SEO continues to be a main driver of organic traffic and conversions for organizations. Many nonprofits rely on a certain level of exposure to reach their target audience and goals – a simple web page isn’t going to cut it in a competitive industry.

This article will go into different SEO tips nonprofits of all sizes can include in their digital marketing strategies to drive support and exposure.

Browse a list of trusted SEO firms your company can hire on The Manifest.

How Does SEO Help Nonprofits?

SEO helps nonprofits in the same way it does for other organizations:

  • Increase brand exposure online
  • Improve page ranking for targeted keywords
  • Drive site visitors

SEO helps nonprofits in a competitive market drive support for their mission. Whether a nonprofit is looking to increase donations, spread their message more widely, or generate interest in volunteering, a great SEO strategy can help.

Nonprofit organizations looking to leverage a successful SEO strategy for their service should continue following best practices that benefit ranking factors and more.

Best Practices for Nonprofit SEO

  1. Focus on page experience
  2. Use the correct keywords
  3. Optimize your website
  4. Strategize with link-building
  5. Speak to journalists
  6. Leverage local SEO
  7. Invest in visuals
  8. Craft excellent content for your site and others

Focus on Page Experience

To get your nonprofit organization in front of donors, your SEO strategy must start with a plan for page experience.

Delivering a great user experience (UX) for site visitors include several off-page and on-page SEO tactics:

  • Page speed
  • Clear layout and organization
  • Lack of pop-ups and clutter

Your nonprofit website should also work well on mobile devices. Google frequently rolls out updates that benefit mobile-optimized pages, which in turn helps them rank higher.

Additional Reading: ‘How to Create a UX Design Budget [With Template]

Use the Correct Keywords

Choose the right keywords that your target audience will be searching for in order to find organizations like yours. But remember to be strategic – especially if you are in a competitive area. For example, if you search “kids nonprofit” you will get a variety of results.


Make sure your nonprofit is targeting keywords that will attract the right attention. Sparse down ideas by performing keyword research. Focus on phrases that will capture your vision, not just ones that have a high search volume. For example, instead of “kids nonprofit," why not target “kids physical fitness nonprofits”

Tailor keywords that appeal closely to your target audience while avoiding competition with high authority competitors.

Optimize Your Website

Your website’s goals may be increasing your supporters and collecting donations. To achieve this, your team should make sure your website’s user experience and overall presence is optimized.

There are a couple of small ways to do this:

  • Ensure all your website’s content has headings, meta descriptions, title tags, etc.
  • Build a clear site map to help visitors with navigation
  • Include short blocks of writing - not long paragraphs
  • Optimize new content with keywords
  • Invest in technical SEO support for finding instances of duplicative content, including alt text, or improving site speed

A user-friendly website will make all of the difference when it comes to asking site visitors to donate or learn more about your organization’s mission.

Strategize with Link-Building

All web pages on your site should have internal links to help users better navigate your website. This also helps search engines better understand your site, reduces bounce rates, and helps search engine rankings for relevant keywords.

Outbound or external links can also give your website more credibility, which makes them more valuable for SEO. Make sure your team is including external links from authoritative resources.

Link building and content promotion can bring outside attention to your nonprofit. For example, a report regarding your nonprofit’s progress with key data can be repurposed as shareable content, which will lead to backlinks. 

Finding unlinked mentions of your site through the media and other PR campaigns can be a good way to promote your business, and then find where there is opportunities to turn that unlinked mention into a new content link for your nonprofit.

Backlinks are one of the most traditional and effective SEO tips to bring website traffic.

Speak to Journalists

Nonprofits rely on the media to spread their message and raise awareness about their cause. Whether it's a local newspaper, radio station or national TV network, getting the word out about your organization is critical. Speaking to journalists and securing media coverage can help you reach a wider audience and engage potential supporters.

When a news outlet publishes a story about your organization, it often includes a link to your website. These links are important because search engines like Google use them as a signal of your website's authority and credibility. The more high-quality links you have pointing to your website, the more likely it is that your site will rank higher in search results.

Leverage Local SEO

Regarding SEO for nonprofits, results in local geographic locations is very important. It will get your nonprofit more media coverage for fundraising events and volunteers to help out your organization.

As mentioned in the intro, a lot of local results with different SERP features appear. To have your nonprofit rank higher, do the following:

  • List your nonprofit in local directories
  • Ensure your office and business appears on Google Maps
  • Create a Google My Business listing for your nonprofit
  • Target local keywords that include “near me” or your specific city

All of these local SEO tips can help your organization land on the front page for various local search queries.

Invest in Visuals

Incorporate visuals that will reach new and existing audiences. These can be photos from events, videos for social media, or data visualizations or infographics that engage searchers.

For example, Connecticut Foodshare uses this “Hunger to Health” infographic on their website to showcase key data points and its mission.

food drive infographic

Visuals benefit search while attracting supporters to learn more and engage.

Craft High-Quality Content

If your nonprofit doesn’t have a blog section, that is a missed opportunity. A blog can be a great SEO tool, especially if it is regularly updated.

A frequently updated blog sends signals to search engine crawlers that your website is relevant, resulting in higher rankings and consistent indexing. Your blog is also another opportunity to target keywords that wouldn’t necessarily fit on other web pages.

Your content must be well-written, in-depth, concise, and meet user search intent for a successful blog. Your nonprofit must have a set of skilled writers to keep the blog alive. If that isn’t possible, invest in guest blogging, where outside parties can write for your website in a mutually-beneficial agreement.

Other Factors to Consider with Nonprofit SEO

Along with SEO, nonprofits must consider these other factors to attract positive press and attention. All of these are worth the time and investment:

  • Web design
  • Social media marketing
  • Public relations & media promotions
  • Fundraising opportunities
  • High-quality content creation
  • Relationship building (link-building, guest posting)

Strengthen Your Nonprofit’s Online Presence

Hiring an SEO company for a nonprofit organization can provide many benefits. Nonprofits can access expert advice on optimizing their website and digital presence to increase visibility, reach more potential donors, and gain new skills and knowledge to help with their mission. 

The upfront cost may be intimidating for some nonprofits, but the long-term returns will more than make up for it. Investing in SEO services for a nonprofit is a great way to ensure that the organization's website is properly optimized and reaches its full potential.


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