Before joining Anvil Media, I worked for almost three years at a local nonprofit here in Portland, Oregon.A� Coming in fresh out of college meant that I was the youngest person in the organization, and by default, in charge of all online and email marketing.A� I knew very little about search engine marketing (or that it was even called that), so I spent most of my time optimizing the look and feel of the site instead.
Had I known then what I know now though, my day-to-day work would have been much different.A� Instead of focusing my time making the site as pretty as possible, I would have spent it targeting keywords, link building, and developing robust social media communities to drive as much traffic as possible.A� Here are the three things I would focus on if I was still working at a small nonprofit with limited resources:
- Optimize your site with specific keywords. It’s search engine optimization 101, but very few (especially small to mid-size) nonprofits do it.A� Most nonprofits already have a pretty good sense what they want to be known for, so put those keywords on your site in title tags, content blocks, and image file names, among other spots. (Tip: use Google Webmaster Tools to identify duplicate title tags, making sure each page has a unique tag.)
- Keep an eye on your competitors. Therea��s a sense of congeniality among nonprofits which is great, but at the end of the day you are competing for donor dollars the same way for-profit businesses compete for dollars.A� Identify your top three nonprofit competitors, see what theya��re doing well in terms of search engine marketing, and aim to beat them at it. (Tip: The freeA� version of SpyFu can give you a quick snapshot of what your competitors are up to in paid and organic search.)
- Use social media, but have specific goals. Social media is wonderful for nonprofits, but many think ita��s free and that just throwing a profile on Facebook will lead to the dollars rolling in.A� Bottom line: if your staff is spending time on it, ita��s not free.A� By all means dive into social media, but figure out first how youa��re going to measure success.A� Is it more email newsletter signups?A� More donations?A� You need some metric to track (even if ita��s only one number) to gauge if the staff time is being well spent. (Tip: set up free real-time Google alerts, and use free tools like Social Mention to get a quick snapshot of how people are talking about you.)
- Bonus tip! Get on LinkedIn. Too many nonprofits arena��t on LinkedIn, and ita��s the place where most business connections are getting made now.A� Set up an organization profile, and make all your employees set up personal profiles as well (ita��s completely free, except of course for the time to set it up).
With limited resources, nonprofits need to spend their staff time wisely, especially when it comes to their website.A� Keep the above tips in mind as you think about how to drive more traffic to your nonprofit site, and dona��t be afraid to embrace the world of search engine marketing — it can often make a difference in ways nonprofit leaders never thought possible.
What’s the best tip you have for nonprofits who dona��t have a lot of money?