Nonprofit organizations depend on marketing efforts to achieve important goals such as increasing fundraising, attracting volunteers, and spreading awareness for their cause. These are goals that can be helped dramatically with quality SEO efforts. Despite this, nonprofits are often slow to add SEO into their marketing efforts, likely due to internal competition for scarce resources, having comfort and expertise with more traditional marketing efforts like direct mail or events, and/or a lack of understanding about the benefits of SEO. It is unfortunate because nonprofits may have more to gain from SEO best practices than their corporate counterparts.
Here are 3 great reasons why nonprofits should care about SEO:
Content is King in SEO & Nonprofits are Kings of Content
A key best practice in SEO is making sure a site has robust, meaningful, and fresh content. Unlike businesses that are busy racking their brains to create such content about things like office supplies, accounting software, or deodorant—nonprofits are naturally poised to deliver great content. Whether its blogging to rally people against injustice, telling a client’s amazing success story, or giving needed advice on coping with a chronic disease—nonprofits live in spaces that are rich with potential site content. In addition, other sites will likely be more open to linking to content coming from a trusted nonprofit with no overt commercial interest.
SEO is Affordable
Most nonprofits operate under a very tight marketing budget because donors often wish to see their donations go directly into programs rather than be used on marketing. Traditional marketing tools such as direct mail, advertising in the media, or hosting large-scale events can be too expensive for cash-strapped nonprofits. SEO efforts on the other hand, whether done internally or with the help of an outside agency, are not only relatively inexpensive but will also continue to pay dividends for longer periods of time. Nonprofits are unique in that they often have a cadre of volunteers willing to help out with such efforts for free.
SEO Efforts Help Build Community
An overlooked by-product that can come from SEO efforts is that they can help an organization create a stronger sense of community. Enlisting staff, donors, and volunteers to generate site content for SEO purposes is a great excuse to share stories and create a collective narrative about the organization’s accomplishments and goals. Reaching out to other sites to potentially link content also expands the organization’s community of potential allies and supporters.
Randy Brians has an MBA in Marketing and an MPA in Nonprofit Management, both from the University of Washington, and is currently a Senior Online Marketing Consultant at Sparkplug Digital. Randy welcomes questions or comments here or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org