SEO for Charitable Foundations

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Last updated on December 21, 2023

Contrary to popular belief, SEO isn’t just about making a buck.

It can be about more. Much more. In fact, it can be about getting the word out about something great.

Like your charity or nonprofit.

Charities often ignore SEO. And that comes at a great loss for organizations like yours.

I’m going to show you why below. Here’s everything you need to know about SEO for charitable foundations and other nonprofits.

What Is SEO for Nonprofits and Charities?

SEO for nonprofits and charities is a set of practices meant to increase your visibility in search engines like Google.

It encompasses a broad set of sub-disciplines within SEO:

  • Content marketing
  • On-page SEO
  • Off-page SEO
  • Technical SEO
  • Local SEO

We’ll get into all of those later. But for now, you need to know that, for orgs like yours, SEO is all about increasing your reach through search engines.

That might mean ranking for search queries about services you provide. For example, if you’re a soup kitchen in Denver, you’d want to rank for this Google search: “soup kitchen Denver.”

Like this:

SEO is how you make that happen.

Why Charitable Foundations Need SEO

I’ve been around (and worked with) enough nonprofits to know this:

You’re busy. Like, really busy.

And the LAST thing on your mind is SEO.

But I’m here to tell you that it’s worth it to make room in your mind and schedule to make a plan surrounding your charity’s SEO.

At least, it’s worth it if you’re interested in your organization not just surviving into the future, but thriving.

Here’s why:

Expand the Reach of Your Services

Whether you distribute funds to those in need, deliver books to underserved kids, or house the unhoused, you’re not helping ANYONE if no one knows what you do.

You already have a website. But is it doing anything for you if no one is visiting it?

Of course not. But you can turn your website into an asset for advancing your cause. Through SEO.

I already touched on it a bit above, but SEO is how you show up in Google when someone searches for something related to your services:

  • Homeless services Seattle
  • Children’s grief counselors in Chicago
  • Free literacy classes for adults Miami

All of those bullet points (and so many more) are competitive searches.

As you know, more than one nonprofit in your area is serving the group you serve. And, sadly, there may even be a for-profit company looking to target those individuals, too.

And you can bet they’re all investing in SEO. You should, too.

Get More Donors

Most charities and nonprofits rely on donations. If yours doesn’t, feel free to skip to the next section. (Also, congratulations.)

How do donors find organizations they’d like to donate to?

Sure, word of mouth plays a part. And your physical, in-person events do, too.

But what if you could foster a steady stream of donation inquiries? You absolutely can — if you do your SEO right.

See — donors are just like you and me. They use Google to search for stuff they’re interested in or wondering about.

So, when they’re ready to donate to a noble cause, they whip out their smartphones or laptops. And they do a search like this:
SEO for charities

I can’t imagine it would hurt if you showed up in search results for a keyword like that in YOUR area.

Attract More Volunteers

Volunteers are the lifeblood of so many charities and nonprofits. And lots of people want to volunteer.

They just don’t know WHERE to volunteer.

If you’ve been following along so far, you know where they turn to when they want to find volunteer opportunities.
That’s right — Google.

An SEO is how you get YOUR nonprofit to show up in Google when those volunteers start looking for places to donate their time.

How UppercutSEO Can Help Your Charity

That’s all fine and good, but what if you don’t have the time or skills to do charity SEO that actually gets results?

Yeah, you’re not alone. But there is a solution: UppercutSEO.

I started UppercutSEO as an answer to the wasted SEO budgets and smoke and mirrors that plagues the SEO industry.

I started UppercutSEO to serve organizations and businesses that don’t have money to waste but DO have ambitions to grow.

Sound like your charity or nonprofit? Then you are a GREAT candidate for working with UppercutSEO.

We offer custom nonprofit SEO services tailored to meet YOUR needs and actually grow your organic reach, donor base, and volunteer network.

We provide a dashboard that lets you see exactly how your SEO budget is being spent (perfect for reporting to your board of directors, by the way).

And we combine decades of SEO experience with true passion for the field to become your go-to for any and all questions you have about SEO.

Before we get into more detail about how Uppercut can help you, let’s take a closer look at how SEO for nonprofits works.

How Charity SEO Works

SEO is a vast and complex constellation of factors. I’m not trying to oversimplify it, but I AM trying to boil it down in a way that makes sense to someone who, unlike me, is new-ish to SEO.

That’s what I’ve done below. Here are the parts that make charity SEO whole.


Keywords are where SEO begins. These are the queries people enter into search engines like Google — the queries you want to show up for when people Google them.

That means you have to actually find out which keywords your target audiences — potential clients, potential donors, and potential volunteers — are searching for.

You do that through keyword research.

There are a TON of keyword research methods. I won’t cover them all here, but I will walk you through a relatively simple one you can achieve with any of the basic SEO tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, or Moz.

It’s about competitor research. Basically, you find your competitor’s website. Enter it into the SEO tool’s keyword analysis section. And review the keywords your competitor is already ranking for.

Then, you decide which ones YOU want to rank for. And make a list.

Let’s say you run a food pantry in Columbia, Missouri. And your main competitor is the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri.

You’d grab their website URL and plug it into your SEO tool of choice. I’ll use Semrush for this example.

Then, you’ll see a list of keywords they rank for:

MANY of those keywords would be great for your food pantry to rank for, too.


With keyword research done, you have a list of keywords you’d like to target. But how do you actually target them and start ranking for them?

With content. Lots and lots of content.

See, Google ranks content. It uses content on websites like yours to answer users’ search queries.

So, if you want to rank, you’ve got to have content. And it needs to be tailored to the keywords you want to target.

Let’s say one of the keywords you grabbed from the keyword research walkthrough above was “how often can you go to the food pantry.”

It’s a good question, and the answer will vary from org to org. But YOU can write a blog post targeting that keyword — and rank for it.

That way, when someone who is thinking about taking advantage of your services searches for that keyword, they see YOUR content on YOUR website and contact YOU.

Of course, the content has to actually answer the intent behind the search query. And it has to be good content. Which is why many nonprofits and charities outsource content creation to professional agencies or freelance writers.

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO is all about what you do on your website to make it more likely to rank well in search engines.

Keyword-optimized content is the starting point. From there, you optimize various on-page SEO elements, including the following:

Among many other on-page SEO considerations.

I’m not here to waste your time, so I won’t go into each of those points. But suffice it to say that every single bullet point above could take hours or even days to learn how to do.

But it’s WAY worth it to make sure your on-page SEO is done and done right.

Off-Page SEO

People say “off-page SEO” because it sounds like — and pretty much is — the opposite of “on-page SEO.” But really, it’s just about one major thing: backlinks.

There are other considerations, but backlinks — links on other websites that point to yours — are the key here.

They’re the cornerstone of all SEO, in fact. They’re a MAJOR part of how Google has always judged websites (and what they should rank for and where they should rank for it).

Backlinks are hard. I’m not going to sugar-coat it. Because you don’t control what other websites do, it’s difficult to control how many backlinks you get.

That’s not to mention the quality of the backlinks. Or the anchor text (the text used with the links, which is a big deal in off-page SEO).

But you can’t ignore backlinks and killer link building service as a nonprofit or charity. Sorry, but you just can’t.

Many orgs like yours pay an org like mine to build high-quality backlinks. And you NEED to consider that.

But I’ll give you a freebie:

There are a TON of directories and list webpages that feature nonprofits. Most of them provide a backlink to the organizations they list.

For example, VolunteerMatch is a high-profile volunteering directory that could give you a nice backlink right away:

Directories and similar websites like that should be the first place you start.

Technical SEO

For the most part, technical SEO is focused on making sure search engines can crawl, render, index, and rank your webpages.

Sounds simple enough when you say it that way, but it’s actually pretty technical.

And unless you’re a BIG charity or nonprofit, you probably don’t have an in-house “tech” guy.

That likely means that technical SEO is just a little too technical for you to completely take care of on your own.

The basics of technical SEO are fairly approachable if you have at least decent technical skills:

  • Sitemaps
  • Basic crawlability
  • Plugin-created redirects

But it gets A LOT more technical than that:

  • Core Web Vitals
  • Schema markup
  • Log file analysis
  • JavaScript rendering
  • Server errors

All of those things can be super important for nonprofit websites. Which is why it’s important to invest in your technical SEO (not just the fun stuff like content and links).

Local SEO

If your org serves a defined geographic area (like a city or group of cities), local SEO is going to be extremely important for you.

Local SEO is, primarily, about increasing your visibility in Google Maps and the so-called “Map Pack” that appears directly on the search engine results pages:

It also involves trying to rank for local search queries, such as “Minneapolis nonprofits.”

And that’s pretty much it. Of course, that leaves the “how” of local SEO for charities.

Local SEO is almost entirely done through your Google Business Profile.

Google Business Profile is your free business listing from Google. You’ll need to claim it, completely optimize it, properly categorize it, and post regularly on it.

Also — and this is a big deal — you’ll need to encourage and respond to reviews on your Google Business Profile. An ongoing, steady stream of positive reviews REALLY moves the needle for local rankings.

There’s a lot more to it, such as getting local links and citations and creating local content, but even without those things, local SEO is a HUGE job for any nonprofit to tackle.

That’s why so many charitable organizations outsource their local SEO.

Why an SEO Provider Is Worth the Investment

Most SEO providers are NOT worth the investment. Let me clear that up right now.

But a select few actually can do the job. They have the experience and dedication to get it done.

Those are the ones that’ll cost you. SEO is expensive — no doubt about that. But it’s worth the investment when you partner with the right provider.

Let me back that up with some quick math:

Imagine you pay an SEO company $3,000 per month to do some basic SEO: an initial technical cleanup, keyword research, content, and a few backlinks.

A few months in, you’ve spent $9,000. You see that you’re getting more impressions and traffic from Google, but you’re starting to doubt that this is going to be worth the cost.

Then, the email comes in. It’s from the contact form on your website. And it’s from a donor.

They want to donate $40,000 to your cause. And you can see in Google Analytics that they found you through a Google search for a keyword your SEO provider helped you rank for.

That’ll cover an entire year of SEO and then some. And everything else the SEO investment you’ve made yields is gravy.

Why UppercutSEO Is That SEO Provider

That’s a fun story, but is it realistic? If you partner with UppercutSEO, it is.

I’ll tell you why:

Because, in my 15-plus years of doing SEO in some of the most competitive industries and locations on the planet, I’ve seen this play out time and time again.

Uppercut isn’t my first venture. But it’s the one I built to solve the kinds of problems charities and nonprofits have:

  • Limited budget
  • Low SEO knowledge to begin with
  • (Rightful) distrust of SEO providers in general

I created the best SEO dashboard in the industry to solve ALL of those problems.

You get to spend your SEO budget on exactly what you want and nothing that you don’t want.

Need more content? Order it through the dashboard. More backlinks? Same deal. You get the idea.

And I assembled the absolute best SEO team in the business so you never have to fly blind. So you know EXACTLY why your previous efforts haven’t worked, what is going to work, and what you need to do to make it happen.

And we do ALL of that with absolute transparency. If you have a question, we answer. If you need reporting, it’s right there in the dashboard — any time you need it.

I challenge you to find that with any other SEO provider. I’ll wait, and I’ll be here when you come back.

UppercutSEO: Game-Changing SEO for Charitable Foundations

Ready for your charity or nonprofit to stop struggling to grow? Ready to stop scrounging for funds, clients, and volunteers?

SEO for charities is the answer. And UppercutSEO can provide it.

To get started, contact me or sign up for your free dashboard (no credit card required) today.

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