Your Nonprofit Marketing Plan Needs SEO: Convince Your Board!

By Olivia Diercks | June 2021

It’s likely that your NPO has a nonprofit marketing plan of some kind. Whether you work with an agency or have internal resources to help push things forward, your plan might include anything from content marketing, to social media strategy, to paid advertising. But does it include SEO? Search engine optimization (SEO) is a vital component to any healthy marketing plan, and SEO for nonprofits can be a game changer.

Here are a few factors to help convince your board that your nonprofit marketing plan needs SEO:



The goal with SEO is to increase organic traffic (traffic that comes to your website through search results) and improve your rankings in SERPs (search engine page results). Part of the beauty of SEO is that it’s zero cost, and as such, you don’t need a huge budget in order to compete with key players in your field. SEO is extremely powerful because it is earned rather than purchased. Your website’s reputation with both users and Google is how your rankings are determined - not by the number of dollars you have.

Yes, the high-level purpose of SEO is to increase organic traffic and improve SERP rankings, but what does that mean for your organization? Your audience will find you more easily, and benefit from your services because of it - and it won't cost you an arm and a leg.

Potential For More Donations

According to the Blackbaud Institute, online giving to nonprofits grew over 20% from 2019 - 2020 and, depending on the size of the nonprofit, some even more than that! What's more, 12.9% of total fundraising came from online giving in 2020. Of course, some of this was due to COVID-19, but it is important to note that while we're excited to lose some pandemic-required lifestyle changes, there are some we will keep around - and because of its ease, online giving is likely one of them. 

Making it easy for donors to find your website and resonate with your cause is vital to your nonprofit marketing plan. This is where your SEO strategy is crucial. Targeting keywords users are already searching - and optimizing your website for those keywords, so that it is displayed when they are searched - is the best way to ensure users resonate with your cause. From there, they click on your website and are given the opportunity to donate. 

Reach Local Audiences 

There are many SEO tactics aimed specifically at boosting your local reach. Some are likely already happening naturally for your organization. But increasing the amount, frequency, and infusing them into your nonprofit marketing plan and strategy could do wonders for your org, allowing you to expand your reach and serve your local community in a more meaningful way. Bonus: they're all free! Some of these tactics include: 

google my business

Create or update your Google My Business account so that it matches the contact information on your website exactly. This improves Google's indexing of your site. 


Soliciting reviews from your donors, volunteers, and/or recipients of your organization's services can make a huge impact on your reach. In fact, reviews are 12 times more trusted than other marketing efforts

include local news in your content calendar

In order for local users to make that initial connection with your nonprofit - and a connection that will stick - it's important for them to see themselves and their community directly reflected in your messaging and stories. Seeing news stories, videos from important community spots you serve, and other local shoutouts will build trust with local users that, yes, you are dedicated to helping your community - right where you're at. 

utilize online business directories

Think Yelp, YellowPages, Facebook, Bing, and many others. These sites require a simple profile with organization name, address, contact info, and a brief but clear description. As such, they allow users to quickly search a list of companies and organizations in their area that can help them achieve their desired action. Being a part of these lists is key to staying in front of your local audience.

Streamline your Marketing Efforts

Believe it or not, social media is part of SEO (off-page SEO), even though it's likely already built into your nonprofit marketing plan. As such, a solid overall SEO strategy will feed directly into your organization's social media efforts - its keywords informing content/posts - making it more effective and appealing to your users and to the search engines who serve up your content to those target audiences. 

SEO is a long game - both in execution and in showing results - but it should not be dismissed. The inclusion of SEO in your nonprofit marketing plan not only saves your organization money but has the potential to increase engagement and donations. Just as important, SEO helps reach your users where they're at, connecting with them and furthering your organization's mission to change lives. 

Here are more ways to help explain SEO and its importance!

Wondering how to get started in managing your nonprofit SEO? Read more, here!

Topics: Nonprofit Help