How Much Do Nonprofits Need to Spend on SEO? 

How much do nonprofits need to spend on SEO? Nonprofit organizations need to utilize search engine optimization for their websites, just like a for-profit company does. Nonprofits need to make sure that their websites are visited by prospective donors or people who want to contact the organization. This is why every nonprofit organization should learn the tools for search engine optimization. This article will answer the question for you of how much nonprofits should spend on SEO, how nonprofit SEO works, why nonprofit SEO is important, and more. 

seo for nonprofits

What is Search Engine Optimization?

First of all, what is search engine optimization? Commonly called SEO, search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your website to get the most web traffic possible. This is accomplished by choosing the correct keywords for your web pages, and having the correct word counts for your blogs. Search engine optimization can also be done by having quality links to other websites, and having relevant topics displayed on your website. Learning how to effectively use search engine optimization is important, as it is crucial in getting your website displayed higher in search engine rankings. The higher your website ranks, the more people who will see and click on it. 

Nonprofit SEO

Donations are the key to a successful nonprofit organization, as nonprofits have no ways of producing profits on their own. If you are a nonprofit like Groundwater World, one of the ways that they receive donations is online through their websites. As more and more organizations increase their online presence, this means that more people are using the internet to donate to organizations. This is why nonprofit search engine optimization is very important to nonprofit organizations. They need to attract the most donors as possible, and to do that, they need the most people to visit their website as possible. Using their website for donations is also a relatively inexpensive way to promote what the nonprofit is all about. 

To ensure you successfully implement search engine optimization on your website, you must know exactly what it entails. Next, let’s break down how much you need to spend on SEO and some nonprofit SEO best practices. 

nonprofit seo best practices

How Much Do You Need to Spend on SEO? 

According to the Better Business Bureau, at least 65% of a nonprofit organization’s total expenses should go towards worker’s salaries and general program expenses. The fundraising aspect of the total expenses should not exceed 35%. In an ideal nonprofit business model, only around ten percent of the total expenses would go towards fundraising. Since you could consider search engine optimization a part of a nonprofit’s fundraising activities, less than ten percent of your organization’s budget should be spent on SEO. 

For nonprofit search engine optimization, most SEO companies will charge between $750 to $5,000 for monthly retainer services, along with an additional payment at the beginning of the contract. Obviously the higher the monthly price, the more services the company will give you for search engine optimization. For nonprofit search engine optimization best practices, you should be spending in that range per month for SEO services, and should take into account your total expenses to make that decision. However, you never know how much an individual SEO company might charge before you contact them! 

Nonprofit SEO Best Practices

There are a variety of ways to implement nonprofit SEO for your website. While most of these practices do not differ much from the best SEO practices for a for-profit company, it is important to correctly implement them for a nonprofit organization.

Choose Your Keywords

One of the most important practices is choosing the right keywords to target. Identifying and then focusing on the correct keywords for your website will bring in more visitors when people search for those keywords. Choosing the right keywords depends on what your organization is, and the services you provide.

Have Quality Content 

Another one of the best practices for nonprofit search engine optimization is simply having quality content on your website. If your website is empty and outdated, even people who searched for it will not stay on it for long. Taking the time to fill your website with information on your organization, testimonials, pictures, videos, and blogs are a great way to draw in more web traffic. 

SEO tools for nonprofits

Focus on Local SEO

For nonprofit search engine optimization, a good way to go about gaining more search traffic is to focus on local SEO opportunities. This is one of the best practices for nonprofit SEO because many nonprofits benefit from neighborhood donations. Whether a food bank or animal shelter, or anything else that helps the community, these organizations benefit from local donations.

Promoting yourself locally is quite easy. For starters, claim your listing in Google My Business. This ensure syour website is displayed in local searches. Promote your nonprofit organization as a local business on your website, showing potential donors that you are an active part of the community. You can do this by promoting local events, and showing pictures taken of your nonprofit helping around the community. These are some of the best methods to make use of local search engine optimization. 

Optimize Your Web Pages

A less utilized but important best practice for nonprofit search engine optimization is to make sure your individual web pages are formatted correctly and optimized. This is accomplished by making sure your tag lines are correct. To do this, make sure you properly label your headers at the start of each article, and each section. After that, make sure you have the best word count for your web pages. This is usually between around one thousand to one thousand five hundred words. All of these methods will make your web pages the format that searches engines tend to highlight. This means your website will be more likely to be clicked on when somebody conducts a search about your topics. This leads to more web traffic, and will increase the exposure of your organization. 

Hire an SEO Company

The final great way to use nonprofit search engine optimization is to hire an SEO company. Instead of wasting time and money in trying to figure out the best ways to utilize SEO for your nonprofit, simply use the consultation services of an SEO company. An SEO company will quickly identify the methods you can use to improve your website and help you implement them, or provide you with the tools to do so. This will improve your website, and lead to increased web traffic (and donations!) in no time.

nonprofit seo

SEO Tools for Nonprofits

While there are many search engine optimization tools for nonprofit organizations, we are going to highlight some of the most effective ones. These are websites and plugins that can help increase your nonprofit website’s search ranking. 

Google AdWords

Google AdWords promotes your nonprofits advertisement on Google. You only play if a person clicks on your ad, so there is no wasted advertising money. It will also evaluate how your ad is performing, so you can make changes if necessary. This is an effective search engine optimization tool for nonprofits. 

Keyword Eye

Keyword Eye is another great search engine tool for nonprofit organizations. As we previously discussed, keywords are crucial to successful nonprofit search engine optimization. Keyword Eye helps you pick the right keywords to focus on for your website. It gives you the data of which keywords are drawing in the most clicks. This is important if you need to change a poor keyword, or promote a solid one.

Keyword Spy

Keyword Spy is an expensive, but worthwhile service to use in search engine optimization for nonprofits. Essentially, Keyword Spy allows you to see how your competitors are using search engine optimization. You can see what is working for them, and how you can implement that into your own website. This is a great search engine optimization tool for nonprofits, as you are generally competing with them for donations. This can make sure you do not fall behind your competition, and are consistently making the right adjustments to your website. This ensures you remain relevant, and are always up-to-date with the best search engine optimization methods. 


WordTracker is another great SEO tool for nonprofit organizations. This program has both a paid and a free version, so it can be great for a nonprofit on a budget. The free version simply allows you to see the amount of traction a single keyword will get when searched for. You could see how a specific word would perform in an online search, and then build around a successful one. The paid version does that, along with trying out different phrases. There are around 200 to 300 phrases that have been consistently searched for, and how they have performed.

This makes it easy to know which words or phrases you should be targeting for nonprofit search engine optimization. The paid version costs around seventy dollars a month, but the free version is still a valuable resource to use. 

how much do nonprofits need to spend on seo

While search engine optimization may look similar for both nonprofit and for profit organizations, nonprofit ones generally have smaller budgets. This can limit the tools and resources they can use in search engine optimization. We hope you learned some ways to use the smaller budget of nonprofit organizations for the use of search engine optimization. 

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