You’ve created a clear website structure, set your website’s goals, and launched your nonprofit’s website. Now that you are well on your way, your next question should be: how does my nonprofit reach my key audience (i.e. donors, members, volunteers)? This is a common issue nonprofit’s face, and we are here to help!
Online visibility doesn’t happen overnight, but these tools can help you speed up the process and drive traffic to your website.
In this article we will cover:
SEO with Google for Nonprofits
SEO is Search Engine Optimization, and essentially it means using keywords to rank higher on search engines. To break this down further, keywords are the words that your potential website visitors are searching on these search engines. After you have created your website, you will want to make sure that you are filling it with SEO optimized content.
Knowing how to utilize this information for your website can significantly increase your website’s visibility! Lucky for you, Google has 3 tools that can help your nonprofit with SEO.
Google Ad Grants
When you search on Google, you may notice the first couple results say "Ad" next to them. This means companies have paid Google through the Google Ad program, commonly known as google adwords, to appear on your search results.
This type of advertising can be extremely pricy, but lucky for nonprofits, you can enjoy Google Ads for free.
With the Google Ad Grants program, nonprofits are granted a monthly advertising budget of $10,000 a month. That equals a budget of $329 a day for advertising!
Using this program is an incredibly effective way to gain visibility not only for your website, but also for your cause. Appearing on Google searches will allow you to access potential volunteers, donors, or anyone that wants to know more about your organization and its mission.
Google Search Console: Analyze Your Website Performance
It is important to know how your website visitors find you, which keywords they search for, and where they click on your website. Google Search Console is a free tool that provides analytics and data about your website performance.
The goal is to appear on the first page when someone searches for keywords matching your organization. There are a couple factors that affect how your website is positioned on Google Search.
One way your website would be penalized is if you have links that go to missing pages, or URLs that aren’t linked up to your website structure. For example, if you have a link to membership on your volunteer page this might confuse google, or other search engines. To increase the probability of appearing on the first page you can ensure that your website contains content that matches with the keyword that someone is searching for. More on this later!
You can set up email alerts for when Google Search Console detects issues with your website pages and URLs. This is helpful because you can immediately tackle the problem, rather than wait for it to impact your website visibility!
Google PageSpeed Insights
Another thing that can affect your website’s position on google is the page speed, or how fast the page loads or responds when a user clicks on something.
One determinant of page speed is your website’s responsiveness. In the United States, approximately 1 in 5 adults use mobile phones for daily internet use. On mobile phones, the load time is affected by whether your website is built to be mobile-friendly, with a "responsive" design so that it adapts to the screen size.
Another factor of page speed is the page’s weight. This just means that if your website has images or content that are slowing down pages from loading quickly, your website’s visibility will be affected on search engines.
You can check the speed of your website with Google PageSpeed Insights. It will flag any issues slowing down the loading speed of your website, and suggest solutions. For example, images that are too large will slow down your pages from loading quickly.
Pro Tip: You should check the insights for the mobile version of your website too! It may have a different performance scoring than your desktop website.
For more information about SEO, you may also want to read Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide. It’s a great starting point for learning about how to increase your website’s reach.
Boost Cause Visibility with Online Petitions
Another way to increase visibility is to create an online presence for your nonprofit. An easy way to do this is to move your petitions online! Not only will you drive more visibility to your cause and website, but you are also making it easier for more people to sign your petition.
Here are a couple of tools we recommend to use when petitioning online:
Avaaz is an online activist network that gives everyone an opportunity to publish their petition. With Avaaz, you can launch your own petition on their site and collect signatures.
Your petition can be displayed on their website, which boasts a whopping 63,469,596 members worldwide! In the United States alone, there are over 2.5 million members.
By becoming a part of such a huge, notably activist community, you have the opportunity to reach a quality audience that can boost your online presence and help spread awareness for your cause.
Change.org is an alternative to Avaaz that will also allow you to easily create and share petitions. No more afternoons on the street collecting signatures!
Many organizations use this platform to advance their cause and mobilize new supporters. Change.org focuses on victories made through petitions made on their platform, meaning that decision makers have had the opportunity to respond to the petition and take action. They have already achieved over 46,988 victories in 196 countries.
If you are looking for more visibility for your cause and think a petition might be the way to go, we suggest you give Change.org a look.
This is a tactic to get your nonprofit’s name out there, and increase visibility for your cause. These efforts will then in turn help to bring traffic to your website. Don’t panic, virtual networking is not as confusing as it sounds. In fact, it is quite simple and can even be done from your couch.
To be successful at virtual networking our biggest tip is to simply put yourself out there. Find a network of people that might be interested in your organization, and start a conversation. To create and/or find these networks, there are a couple of tools you can use.
Meetup is a social online platform that was designed to help people come together to join groups and attend in-person or online events based upon shared interests. There are about 35 million meetup users worldwide!
Nonprofits use this platform to create meetup groups that concentrate on their cause. It is a great way to promote events, network with anyone in your community that may be interested in your cause, and attract traffic to your nonprofit’s website.
Facebook groups are the jackpot for nonprofit organizations! First of all, they provide you with an opportunity to reach a network of people who are interested in your cause. There are Facebook groups dedicated to almost anything you can think of, and you will be able to find several that your nonprofit appeals to.
To find these, we suggest navigating to the groups section, and then looking at groups that are popular near you, as well as categories such as civics and community, and the category dedicated to your type of nonprofit (faith, arts, education, etc.). You can also look into this by using the search feature to find groups in your city or area.
Keep in mind that even if the group is not directly linked to your cause, you might be able to find a segment that is interested in what you do. For example, if your nonprofit is dedicated to language exchange, you could join a university group to see if any of the local students are interested in participating in an event. Another example would be joining groups that are particularly interested in giving back to their community, such as chambers of commerce.
Lastly, your nonprofit can use Facebook groups to grow your nonprofit network. There are many groups out there dedicated to helping nonprofits succeed. You can find anything from Nonprofit for Newbies to AssoConnect’s own Nonprofit Management Circle. All of these groups provide a space for nonprofits to get and give help, and encourage each other to keep saving the world!
Finding new, innovative ways to promote your nonprofit and its cause is crucial in the digital age! We believe that these tools can help you do just that. Combine these efforts with SEO and your nonprofit’s website will be in a good position to gain visibility and drive traffic.