SEO

SEO/SEM Checklist for Non-Profits

Here at SEER, we are driven to help others (when we’re not conquering the SEO industry). Combining two things I love to do, I’ve outlined some simple and useful tactics any non-profit can use to boost online efforts.

– Have you created an online donation page?

Besides the firm dedication a non-profit needs to function, all non-profits know that funding keeps an organization thriving. Every non-profit should have an online donation page which is secure and easy to use. There are many creative avenues to request funding from your supporters. For example, an Online Volunteer for UNICEF can design a personal donation page with information about their chosen cause, set a fundraising goal and then invite everyone they know to visit their page and donate to UNICEF. Volunteers can also form teams and recruit others to help spread the word.

You don’t have to be an international and well established organization to do this. JustGiving.com is a site that allows charities to create donation pages for free (but charges a small transaction fee on donations). Another site, FirstGiving.com offers the same service but provides you with additional web tools such as a fundraising widget that you can include on social media sites.

Change.org is a free service that allows non-profits to add their group to general causes such as Ending Poverty or Universal Health Care. Visitors can then donate to your specific organization or donate evenly to all groups within one cause.

-Have you applied for a Google AdWords Grant?

Under the Google Grants Program, non-profits can receive up to $10,000 worth of clicks in the AdWords program. Any non-profit organization without political or religious affiliation and a 501(c)(3) status may apply. The application seems to be competitive based on the high number of applicants but having someone on your team with AdWords experience may better your chances of being approved. Also, seeking out a specialist in the PPC field to help manage the campaign is highly recommended. Ten grand a month can have a large impact if used strategically.

-Are you requesting links from supporters?

In SEO, we have this little thing called “link juice.” Actually, it’s a big thing! The number of sites that link to yours influences the site’s importance in the search engines. Requesting that visitors link to your site from their personal websites and blogs can increase your prominence in search results and drive traffic.

End Poverty International has partnered with several sponsors who have pledged to donate a certain amount for every person who links to Endpovertyinternational.org from their .edu page. I’ve never seen this done before and it doesn’t seem to be encouraging a lot of .edu links but I like the idea! The benefit is two fold–link juice and money!

-Are you socializing?

More likely than not, there are tons of people surfing the web who would love to support your cause. But if you don’t have at least an active MySpace or Facebook account, how will you find them? Using social media sites is an excellent way to stay communicated with your supporters and keeps them up-to-date on your organization’s news and events. It is much more interactive than a static website and people won’t have to remember to visit your site–they’ll just log into their MySpace or Facebook accounts. And best of all, it’s free!

For example, this is the official MySpace page (no longer active) for the Susan G. Koman Organization. Friends can read the stories of others as well as share their own personal stories. You can also create a MySpace group like this one which discusses homelessness and creates awareness. Even enhance your page with features such as a fundraising widget from ChipIn.

I’m amazed at the amount of resources out there for non-profits. I would love to hear from non-profits who have used SEO and SEM tactics that have been successful.