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4 Jul ‘18

SEO For Nonprofits: Is It Necessary?

4 Jul ‘18

In: Branding & Visual Design, Marketing, Nonprofit Resources, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Web Design & Development, / By: Ripe Media

I heard a question asked recently about whether or not SEO for nonprofits is necessary. The simple answer is: absolutely YES! And if that doesn’t quite convince you, here is an expanded answer to that question.

SEO for nonprofits

Why is SEO important?

The fundamental goal of SEO is to increase website traffic. In very basic terms, any organization that has a website should want as many visitors to that site as possible. Therefore, if SEO is designed to increase website traffic, it stands to reason that any organization—nonprofits included—could benefit from effective SEO strategies.

One important point, however, is that marketing for nonprofit organizations is, necessarily, very different from corporate or product marketing. The main difference comes down to what, exactly, is being marketed. A nonprofit organization will be primarily interested in raising awareness of the causes they stand for. This is in contrast to a for-profit company that’s trying to sell more products.

How to do SEO for nonprofits

So, how do we go about developing SEO strategies to raise awareness for nonprofit causes? To properly answer this, we need to take a slight step back.

Many nonprofit websites focus on highlighting their performance. Showing proof that an organization is doing well both financially and in terms of its reach is very important, and a website is the perfect platform to share and announce these success stories. A website is also a great avenue through which to collect donations.

The challenge, however, is that when thinking about website marketing for nonprofits and how to market the organization’s successes while also enticing people to make donations, the effective options aren’t easily apparent.

When the general public is already aware of a nonprofit’s name and cause and already has a positive perception of the organization, it’s quite easy for them to do a quick Google search on the organization’s name, find the site, and make a donation. However, when a person has no knowledge of the organization but is sympathetic to the cause the organization stands for, how do we bridge that gap and make the potential donor aware of the organization and then convert them into a supporter?

A great first step is to develop a nonprofit branding strategy that properly positions the organization based on its primary objectives. One important outcome of the brand strategy is messaging that conveys the organization’s mission in a compelling way. It is critical that all messaging draw potential donors in on an emotional level, and then compel them to take action.

Emotion vs Performance

Messaging that focuses exclusively on the success of an organization—the way many nonprofit websites do—is simply not as effective as messaging that speaks to people on an emotional level.

For example, when an organization’s messaging simply states: “We’ve raised $xx amount of dollars and have had xx amount of impact” chances are it will not bring in nearly as much in donations compared to messaging that fully explains the importance of the needs the organization is meeting.

The messaging needs to be the kind that is difficult to ignore. And when an organization has done their work to position the brand around a solid foundation, the SEO strategies will more easily fall into place.

All SEO tactics need to focus on harnessing emotion to draw potential donors to the organization’s website. Once there, the content needs to convert them into advocates for the organization and then compel them to support the organization by giving.


40,000 searches are performed on Google every second. That’s 3.5 billion searches per year. That statistic alone should make it clear that SEO is important for each and every website owner. To the extent that nonprofit organizations want even a sliver of that traffic directed at their own website, the importance of SEO for nonprofits cannot be overlooked.

Ripe provides a wide range of SEO and SEM services including brand strategy, website marketing, content creation, competitive analysis, keyword research, link building, paid campaigns, and inbound marketing. Send us a message about your project for a free consultation.

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