5 Tips for Non-Profits to Master SEO

nonprofit seo

There are many reasons why non-profits have a great opportunity in digital marketing channels. The competition is low, their brands are authoritative and private companies love to be linked to them to improve their PR and brand recognition.

One of the online channels with great opportunities for non-profits is Search Engine Optimisation. Follow these 5 tips and make it work for you.

1. Understand your potential

How powerful is your non-profit’s website? Google uses a very complex algorithm to assign a value to every website that it will later use to decide which one is shown in rankings when someone uses the search engine.

In order to understand this value we can use 2 metrics from different trusted SEO tools, Domain Authority (DA) from Moz and Trust Flow (TF) from MajesticSEO. Even if you don’t have a paid for account, you’ll be able to see this data.

I’ve used 2 non-profits as examples to see how many points they are given:

(Please note that Orbis is a big and well-established international non-profit and Help them Hope a small national non-profit operating in Peru.)

As you can see, there are big differences in the above values, but these numbers are not helpful unless you have some context. Find your competitor’s score and see how your site fares against them.

2. Understand what works for you

I am sure if you are a UK non-profit like Orbis you would love to rank for terms such as “Donate to Charity”. And as I’m sure you know, this can prove difficult. The first non-profit that shows for this term is Oxfam. They score a DA=87 and a TF=66. However, you really don’t need to go after these big competitive terms; there are thousands of long tail keywords that would be more strategic. The question is: how do we find them?

If you log into your Webmaster Tools (now called Google Search Console), you will be able to find many keywords that your site is ranking for. Go to Search Traffic/Search Queries and download these keywords in a spreadsheet.

webmaster tools

This is the data for the last month for my digital marketing blog. I sorted the data by impressions to see where the opportunities are.

You can now easily check your current rankings for the top 10 keywords and see how far you are from 1st position. In my case, I have a great opportunity in RLSA as there is lot of interest based on the number of impression and I’m just 2 positions off 1st page.

If you are a registered non-profit in the UK, you are eligible for Google Grants, free AdWords advertising in Google! You can use this grant as a testing tool to see how the chosen keywords convert for you. If you see these are working for you, you´re in a stronger position to start your SEO campaign.

Now that we have the data and we know what to focus on, let’s see how we can put this into practice.

3. Make it accessible

We first need to check your On Site ranking factors to make sure Google can access your site easily and understands what you offer to potential visitors. Here is a checklist:

  1. Title tags: Do you use unique title tags in each page? Are these under 60 characters long? Do you use keywords when appropriate?
  2. Meta descriptions: Do you use engaging meta descriptions to improve your Click Through Rates? Make sure you add ‘call to actions’ to stimulate clicks.
  3. Page speed: How quick is your site to load? This is a very important SEO ranking factor
  4. Internal linking: Do you use internal links to refer users from one page to another? Internal linking is one of the best tools at your disposal to help Google understand what your site is about.

A great tool which will help you with this checklist is Woorank. Woorank analyses your on-page SEO accessibility and lets you know what you should focus on.

4. Build Links

This is where non-profits have their best chance to improve their SEO value.

Donors: Have a look at your list of current corporate donors. Do you have a link from their sites to yours? Go and ask them if they can put up an article on their blog/news section about how cool they are by funding one your latest projects. Offer them help to write up the article and they should be happy to oblige.

Badges: Most companies that donates to charity likes to be linked to the organisation they’re supporting. Why don’t you create an official badge that every donor can proudly show on their homepage? Make sure this badge contains a link back to your site.

Events: Charities tend to organise events in collaborations with other companies/organisations. Make sure you do a write up article talking about how great these companies are and let them know once this is published in your blog. They’re likely to take the bait and link back to your article to show their customers the great endorsement you’ve written about them.

5. Monitor your results

SEO is an art; you can’t scientifically prove what will work and what won’t. Therefore most of your successes will come from testing! And in order to test, you need to monitor the impact from your activities.

One tool I really like for this purpose is Serplab. Serplab is an amazing free tool that will allow you to monitor your rankings for all your chosen keywords on a daily basis. You can even set an automatic email with a daily report so you don’t even need to log into the tool.

Implement, monitor, learn and repeat!


Alvaro Bellido is London-based digital marketer passionate about non-profits, advertising and entrepreneurship. Alvaro collaborates with a number of non-profits as a digital consultant as well as London-based start-ups. You may find him on Google+, Twitter and his personal website.

Marketing Idea #127: Silent Auctions

silent auction

Not only do silent auctions bring in money for your cause, they can also be a great marketing idea for nonprofits seeking new donors. Because you’ll need to do a little pavement-pounding to collect the items up for bid, you’ll have the opportunity to forge new relationships within the local retail community, leading to future revenue.

Get Organized

Putting together a silent auction is a lot of work, but it isn’t as hard as you may think. The first steps are to organize your mission statement, write a letter to potential donors, and create a form through which they can submit donations of merchandise or gift certificates. Set up deadlines on when the items need to be collected and when the auction will begin and end. All this information should be in the cover letter handed out to local business owners and managers.

Recruit Sponsors

Next, you’ll need to take a walk. Have two or three of your employees canvas several retail strips within your community. Make sure they can speak intelligently and passionately about your cause. Widen your search for items by advertising the auction on social media and Craig’s List. In your online advertisement, you’ll have the opportunity to reach out to potential bidders, too. As donations roll in, take a photo of each and share them on Facebook, Twitter, or your nonprofit’s website to further entice the bargain-hunters and philanthropists you aim to reach.

Select the Venue

An essential part of a successful silent auction is finding one high-traffic venue willing to host a board of items for a few days to a couple weeks. Small, locally-owned coffee shops and organic grocery stores are both excellent options. Typically charitable, they’ll also be hungrier for cross-promotion.

Promote, Promote, Promote

Once you have a bevy of items, a venue, and a schedule, continue to promote via print and social media. Customers can register online, receiving a bidding identification number in the process. Set up your auction board with attached photographs and space for bidders to write their I.D. number and bid amount. Don’t forget to supply pencils.

Let Them Know Who Won

Once the auction has ended, collect the bids, and notify all winners by the contact information required for registration. Appoint a time and place to pick up and pay–perhaps your non-profit headquarters over the course of a week. After that week, if a winner has not collected his item, default to the next highest bidder. This part of the process usually takes a while, with winners floating in and out over the course of several days.

Now Go Launch Your Silent Auction

A successful silent auction can bring in hundreds, even thousands of dollars depending on what type of items you receive and how many you collect. While a fair amount of hard work, it’s an excellent way to spread awareness of your cause and pull in revenue at the same time.

Contact us for more advice on how to make your small business or nonprofit a success.

11 Ways to Market Your Fundraiser Offline

ways to market your fundraiser

If you are intending to raise funds through a charity event, there are marketing techniques that can help greatly both online and offline. Depending on your desire and budget, you can try a number of promotional activities for your charity event. If you have taken care of online marketing and are now looking for offline marketing ideas, then read ahead for tips to keep your momentum building. There are many offline ways to market your fundraiser effectively and without spending much money. The best advice is to be creative, enthusiastic and passionate towards your goal of raising funds for your charity. However, if you are still stuck on how to market your fundraiser through offline techniques, then you can include any or all below given offline marketing ideas to promote your fundraiser in the most effective way.

  1. Build a team: A team — i.e. your battery of friends, some volunteers from your fundraising campaign and family members — can contribute towards promoting your fundraiser. A big team like this can create a good buzz about your charity event. Marketing of your fundraising event can be done by knocking door-to-door and telling them about your cause and campaign as well as by word of mouth publicity. The more number of people know about your charity event, the higher are the chances of increasing funds for the cause.
  2. Posters: Posters have always been a very effective offline marketing idea. Get your poster done from a person who will charge you nominal or do it for free. Keep the posters attractive with the message written in bold. People looking at the poster will get the message clearly and instantly. Also try and stick your posters at strategic locations, i.e. where people are more likely to see. Posters can be stuck near schools and churches. You can also ask your local shopkeepers and medical stores to stick it in their premises. People coming to buy groceries and medicines can definitely have a look.
  3. Flyers: Just like posters, leaflets or flyers can also help a great deal. You can either give flyers door-to-door (which requires efforts and time from you and your team), or ask your local newspaper vendor to include your leaflet with every newspaper they drop. This can help promote your fundraiser quickly and to a lot of people at once.
  4. Announcements at other events: Official and unofficial functions and events keep happening every now and then. You can take advantage of such events to promote about your fundraising event. School sports days and annual day function, church meetings or congregation, an event organized at your local club, etc. can all serve this purpose. You can talk about your fundraising campaign to event organizers and include a short announcement about your charity event and your intention to raise funds to a large group of people present there, at the end of the event. This way you have a great chance of marketing your fundraiser to a group of distinct people in a straightforward and easy manner.
  5. Phone calls and direct speaking: If you feel that your offline marketing efforts like distributing flyers and sticking posters are not being seen by people, then you can make a direct call. Get a list of all previous donors and make them a phone call. You can also stand in front of a school or church and tell passersby about your intentions to raise fund for a noble cause. This is a direct way of spreading message about your fundraising event. While speaking to people, use emotional, strong and persuasive words. It works best.
  6. Public Service Announcements (PSAs): PSAs are a good way to market your fundraising event. Radios, magazines and even newspapers are effective in putting your message across to a large section of people. You can speak to local radios and get yourself included as a guest. You can discuss about your intentions and persuade listeners to donate generously. Similarly you can have a small section in a magazine or newspaper where you can advertise about your charity event.
  7. Hold contests: A wonderful way of marketing your event and get people interested is by holding contests. You can hold quiz contests, kite -flying contest or any other contest that involves minimal spending on your part. You can keep a sponsored prize for the winner to make the contest more engaging and competitive. This is also another good way of promoting your fundraising event.
  8. Get in touch with associate groups and clubs: As an independent volunteer and as a frequent fundraiser, you can get in touch with other affiliate clubs and groups that are known to make generous contributions or considerably help fundraisers through their unique ways of promotion. Find out about them and get in touch.
  9. T-shirt fundraisers: This is another very popular charity event marketing technique. If you have a social cause and want to seek funds then you can first get your and some of your friends t-shirts printed with the cause of your charity. Leave an e-mail ID beneath. T-shirt fundraisers are not only a popular idea, but also help you communicate your thoughts to a number of people, without actually conversing with them.
  10. Contact local businesses: There are many local businesses who would love to contribute to a charity. If they donate funds, then it would not only help them save money in tax but also showcase their responsibility towards the community. You can first try contacting established businesses, as they have a wider reach and can promote your cause effectively. If the business is very keen on helping, without donating funds, then you can move a step higher in promotion by including your message in their product. You can then try contacting lesser-known local businesses. Tell them it is not necessary that they donate funds, but they can be of great help if they promote the fundraising event through any ideas that are feasible for them.
  11. Try to convey your message through public speakers: There are many orators who know how to weave magic through words. If you feel that your persuasion powers are not that effective, then you can definitely seek help from a public speaker. Get in touch with someone who often visits schools, clubs and other events to speak on a given topic. Talk to them and ask them to make a message supporting your charitable cause and the need to collect funds to sustain good work in the community. This will help immensely.

These are just 11 offline marketing ideas to promote about your fundraising event. Now you know ‘how to market your fundraiser’ through offline techniques. With creativity and a bit of elbow-grease, you can certainly come up with more unique marketing ideas to promote your charity event and make it a success.

The One Program Your Nonprofit Needs (and Probably Doesn’t Have)

nonprofit affiliate networks

Are you involved with a nonprofit organization (NPO)? Is your organization looking for a cost-effective way to increase donations, further the cause and grow your management or volunteer base? If you answered yes to these questions, starting your own nonprofit affiliate network may be the right solution for you.

For most nonprofit organizations these are very challenging times. The global economy is worse than it has ever been in our lifetime. While the need for services and support from nonprofits continues to grow, a global economic slump means both sponsor contributions and supporter donations may also be at an all time low.

Now, the good news. As a nonprofit, you have considerable options at your disposal for increasing your outreach and fundraising. One of those options is to start your own nonprofit affiliate network. A thriving nonprofit affiliate network can be leveraged to help sustain your organization’s cause, mission, fundraising and overall growth.

nonprofit affiliate network

4 Great Reasons to Launch a Nonprofit Affiliate Network

While there are many different reasons to launch your own nonprofit affiliate network, here are four of the most common:

Low-Cost Marketing

Online or off, affiliate marketing is one of the most cost-effective methods of marketing currently being used today. For our purposes, we’ll focus online, but affiliate marketing can be translated to the ‘real world’ (think referral fees, commissions and the like.) The way an affiliate network works is simple:

  1. First, a would-be affiliate marketer signs up to promote your cause.
  2. As the marketer directs qualified donor traffic to your site, a tracking code ensures they get credit for any donations their referral generated,
  3. Through that donation, the affiliate marketer is compensated by receiving a small portion (called a commission) from the amount received.

So you see, creating an affiliate network can provide you with a very quick, easy and cost-effective way of increasing your future donations.

Increased Outreach

Much of the marketing cost involved with driving potential donors to you is shouldered by the affiliate marketers who sign up to help promote your cause. Often, these affiliate marketers already have well-established traffic generation methods. They may be savvy about using search engine optimization (SEO), AdWords (Google’s pay-per-click advertising engine), social media, email marketing and other techniques. This means a well-established affiliate marketer will be able to promote your cause, organization or message, extending your reach into a larger audience than what you would have achieved on your own.

What’s possible with this? At its best, we’re talking global outreach to millions of potential donors sympathetic to your cause. The global nature of the Internet enables you shed local boundaries or territories. This will be especially poignant for you if your nonprofit operates internationally. If you’re more locally-focused, you may want your ‘global reach’ to only extend to your city borders. If that’s the case, no worries. An affiliate program for your non-for-profit may still fit. Your goal is to have your cause promoted to those who are looking for you, whether they live in your town or on the other side of the planet.

Expand Your Volunteer Base

Having your own nonprofit affiliate network will also make it easier for you to find and recruit potential board members and volunteers. You should be communicating to your affiliate marketers regularly. Part of that marketing communication will be in the form of messages for your affiliate network to send to their own audiences. This helps them bring value to their audiences and of course, it gets your word out. In this case, however, it’s not a “buy our stuff” or “donate to our cause” message, but more of a “we need your helping hands” message.

Save Some Dough

By starting your own nonprofit affiliate network, you will be saving on the service and administration fees paid when you join existing affiliate networks. For example, joining an existing affiliate network system could cost you anywhere from $200 to $800 or more per month. This monthly service fee can seem like a small amount initially. Over time, however, those fees may amount to hundreds and even thousands of dollars per year in expense—simply because you joined a pre-existing network.

nonprofit affiliate network

Now let’s take a quick look at the role of the affiliate marketer and the part they play in helping you reach your organizational goals.

Who Will Be Your Affiliate Marketers?

Through your nonprofit affiliate marketing program, you will be able to enlist the marketing genius of website and blog owners all over the world. As you push forward, however, you will want to establish basic guidelines for your affiliate marketing program. This will be established in your initial affiliate agreement.

Typically, your affiliate marketers will be content creators who own and manage websites that publish content related to your charities, organization or cause. In most cases, they have either built up a large online following through regular traffic to their website or they have a large mailing list of engaged subscribers who may be sympathetic or interested in supporting your cause.

How Much To Pay Your NPO Affiliates?

Your payment model should be a performance-based commission founded on a percentage of the marketer’s referred revenues. All other elements being equal, the higher the commission you offer, the greater the interest in your affiliate program. On the other hand, the higher your commission payout, the less you will be able to invest in other necessary activities. Since you’re just getting started, you may want to enter the affiliate marketing foray with the industry standard of 20-30% and adjust as needed. Compare your commissions to what you would have paid in a more traditional advertising model. If you receive a $100 donation and it cost you $20 or $30 to get it, can you live with that?

How Are Affiliate Payments Handled?

Payments to your nonprofit affiliates can be set up to be automatically sent on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis and using a variety of different payment options such as PayPal, ACH or direct deposit. Try to keep this part of the process smooth, automated and easy to understand.

Your Nonprofit Affiliate Network is Launched! Now What?

Once you have your own nonprofit affiliate network established, you can start contacting high-ranking blog owners to let them know about your new opportunity.

(Tip: Make sure your affiliate program compliments their offerings. Otherwise, you’re wasting their time, and yours.)

One of the best ways to find high-level affiliates is to turn to the search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) Enter a search phrase related to your type of charity. Scan the top 10 to 50 blog sites listed. Will your nonprofit affiliate program bring value to their efforts? If you think so, simply ask them if they’re interested. Many may say no. There is no need to convince them. Thank them for their time and move on to the folks who want to say yes.

Afterglow

Launching your own nonprofit affiliate network can be a very strategic way to implement an online marketing system. Leveraged properly, an affiliate network has the potential to help your organization reduce marketing costs while growing your revenues, members and outreach. This creates a win-win-win situation for everyone involved.

Marketing Idea #20: Donate to Charity

Marketing Ideas Donate to Charity

Donate your products or services to a charity auction. In doing so, you add value to the fundraiser while promoting yourself. Furthermore, the fact you’re willing to offer your time for a good cause can only help your own cause, and you just might be helping someone who wouldn’t have been able to afford your services otherwise.

Tip: Get started by contacting your local radio stations, libraries, or newspapers. You might also do a search online for charity auctions in your area.

Marketing Idea #24: Volunteer for Local Nonprofit or Charity

Marketing Ideas Volunteer

Volunteer for a local nonprofit group or charity. Maybe you have something to offer by volunteering on an advisory board. Maybe you want to climb into the trenches and help on the front lines. Whatever direction you choose, be sure your efforts are a reflection of the values you hold close to your heart. The cause you support must inspire you on a deep, personal level. Otherwise, you will tire quickly and may end up abandoning the effort before you’ve even begun—and that is not the way to build a reputation for quality and service.