Is your nonprofit looking for more volunteers?
Getting your message out to the community is important when trying to find like-minded individuals to contribute to your cause.
But to do so, you need to be visible. In Google search results, that means putting a little thought into your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Sure, promoting your events on social is a great way to grow and cultivate your audience, and you should definitely be maintaining your social presence.
But how do you find new audience members that might not have otherwise heard of your nonprofit efforts? That’s where basic SEO techniques come in.
Nonprofit Site Structure
No matter what type of volunteer opportunities you offer through your nonprofit, you’ll want to make sure the information about those opportunities has a place to live on your site— organized in a way that makes sense for the user.
Planning a thoughtful site structure out will help you organically with keyword targeting and boosting user experience, and set a great foundation for all of your digital promoting efforts.
Take a moment to think about the best way to display your volunteer opportunities that site visitors can easily understand. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you offer ongoing volunteer opportunities or recurring events?
- Do you offer different types of volunteer engagements such as individuals, groups, or for specific ages?
- Do you have different focuses under the main umbrella of your nonprofit efforts? Community vs. education, outdoors vs. indoors activities, etc.
- Are you looking for long-term or short-term volunteers?
- Do you connect with any other programs?
A good rule to follow: put yourself in the searcher’s shoes, and make a unique page for what that searcher would want to find (within reason).
For example, if someone is looking for ‘group volunteer opportunities in Portland’, having a single page for that searcher to find that specifically outlines just your group activities would meet their intent far better than a generic contact page about a variety of volunteer activities.
By splitting up your volunteer opportunities into relevant categories and creating unique pages, you can deliver a better experience to users looking for a specific type of opportunity.
In the eyes of search engines, having a tailored page for each type of relevant volunteer opportunity would give you the potential to appear for a wider variety of searchers. Your pages would be more easily understood and correlate to a number of key terms by bots crawling your site.
In the case of recurring events, since those events would cycle through with more frequency, we would suggest creating parent pages for each type of volunteer opportunity the events fall under, and then link out to the temporary event page from there.
In all cases, we recommend creating a main, top-level page for your volunteer opportunities to summarize what is available, and then link out to each individual type of volunteer page. From there, you could link out to temporary events per type of opportunity if you need to. This creates hierarchy and proper nesting of pages on your site that all relate to volunteering.
Once you’ve planned out a page structure that makes sense for your nonprofit volunteer opportunities, the perfect way to capitalize on that thoughtful structure is to keyword-optimize each page.
Knowing which terms to choose for each page can be tricky. If you’re not sure, try to be descriptive yet concise, and think about who might be searching for your page.
For example, if you offer local volunteer opportunities that you want to promote to residents in Portland, Oregon organically, you can add that location identifier onto your page title. For example, you could have 2 separate pages titled “Individual Volunteer Opportunities in Portland, Oregon” and “Group Volunteer Opportunities in Portland, Oregon” that would target 2 different groups of users based on their search intent.
If you need help choosing or writing these, an SEO specialist can help you pick the best keywords to use based on the difficulty of competition in search results and the number of relevant users searching for certain terms.
Have you claimed your nonprofit’s Google My Business listing?
Optimizing your Google My Business listing is the best way to make sure your local search presence is accurate. You can also manage your online reputation by monitoring and responding to reviews.
Beyond that, Google My Business allows you to promote specific events or opportunities through Google Posts.
By consistently using Google Posts for your volunteer opportunities, visitors discovering you for the first time in search results can see your posts right away. This helps them get a better idea for your nonprofit efforts and entices them to potentially click when maybe they wouldn’t have before.
Take each page you’ve created for your volunteer opportunities, and set up a recurring task to continue to share them on Google Posts (since these posts expire after 2 weeks). Or share specific upcoming event URLs as they come up to get attendees to sign up.
Bonus: Google may even give you a boost in your local search ranking for this. 😉
Barnacle SEO & Link Building
Are there local directories in your area that list volunteer opportunities?
If so, get your nonprofit volunteer opportunities listed on as many as possible.
By appearing on larger directories for volunteer opportunities, you can cast a wider net for visitors looking to contribute to a cause like yours. For example, Hands on Great Portland collects volunteer opportunities from a number of different nonprofits and organizations that users can search for all within their platform.
Plus, if those directories provide a link to your website, it lets Google know that your site is relevant and legitimate. Backlinks like this can lead to an overall boost in your organic search presence.
As a note, be cautious of paying for links because many are free. Research your opportunities fully and make sure you’re working with trustworthy directories that will be worth the effort.
Promoting your volunteer opportunities across a variety of social platforms is essential to growing and cultivating your audience.
Social media allows you to connect and communicate with followers in ways that search engine results cannot, but the two go hand in hand.
Our advice? Prioritize your site structure and keywords to lay the groundwork for bringing in a steady stream of new, organic visitors. Use social media to build loyalty and communicate your vision to those already interested in your cause, so that they can share your content and your followers stay engaged.
If you prefer to focus on the social media presence of your nonprofit, consider partnering with an agency that can get you organic traffic while you do that.
Partner with a Digital Marketing Agency
Working with a digital marketing agency can free you up to focus on your nonprofit’s mission.
As a values-based company, we love working with nonprofits in our community!