Content Strategy for Nonprofits: How to Make Your Site Evergreen
Your nonprofit organization thrives on donations to fund your cause. Without a consistent audience looking at your site and supporting your efforts, you can’t further your mission. By investing in your website, however, you ensure your site ranks higher on search engine results pages and becomes more visible to the right people.
Your site should be easy to navigate and should provide visitors with a unique experience. But above all else, stellar content shows your audience that you care about their experience on your site as much as you care about your own cause.
So how do you create high-quality, SEO-friendly, evergreen content that ranks well, benefits your visitors and spurs them to action — especially as you work with a limited budget and resources? Try the content strategy tips listed below.
Create Donor Personas
To inspire your audience to act, it’s important to know who they are. Before you post any content to your site, create a few donor personas so you can craft content they’ll find appealing.
By establishing different personas based on different criteria, you allow your organization to engage with a wider audience base — which means more potential donations. Brainstorm with your staff and determine which aspects of your campaign appeal to different demographics.
For example, if you want to target a younger audience, you might ask which generation would have the most to gain from your cause. Which parts of your campaign are they most likely to relate to and why? Would Millennials engage more with your organization than Gen Z?
On the other hand, you may want to recruit nontraditional patrons to spread brand and mission awareness. What sets those individuals apart from a typical donor? What are their needs and how can your organization make their lives better?
Establish Your Tone
Once you know who you’re talking to, decide how you’ll talk to them. Think about it this way: Would you speak (or write, in this case) to a middle-aged adult the same way you’d speak to a young child?
With one, you can offer more complex, detailed information in a direct manner. With the other, you need to explain ideas simply and with excitement. This same principle applies to your content strategy. By using a certain tone for each donor persona, you keep them engaged with the content on your site.
Try these simple tips as you decide what tone to use:
- Keep the tone and voice clear and active.
- For your site’s informal, fun content, use a more conversational tone — the kind you’d use to talk to a friend or family member.
- Avoid grammar mistakes and jargon, as they lower your authority and credibility.
Consider the context of a piece and adjust your tone accordingly. Let’s say your NPO provides disaster relief. If you’re writing a resource guide about preparing for a natural disaster and a local city experienced a devastating flood, light jokes or an overly enthusiastic tone in the piece could turn readers away from your site.
Build a Content Calendar
It’s tempting to just post content on your site whenever you think of a topic, but your site will be more successful if you create a calendar to help you stay organized as you plan, craft and publish content.
Start with a list of pages or articles you want to write. Then, add that list to a spreadsheet or content calendar template and set a publication date for every piece. This way, you know what content to expect throughout the year (or quarter or month depending on how you set up your calendar) and when you need to have those pieces written.
Remember to post content when the topic is relevant to your donors or site visitors. You wouldn’t want to publish a blog article in July about local service opportunities during the winter holidays!
Create Content Hubs and Spoke Pages
Content hubs are a great tool when you want to create more content — whether you know what you want to write about next or not.
To start, write one page or article about a topic that relates closely to your organization. Make sure to include reliable and quality links to other pages on your site as well as relevant keywords you wish to rank for. Once you publish that piece on your site, you can use it as a hub for additional articles.
When you need something new to post, use that hub article as your base. Pull an idea from the content hub and write a new article that relates to that idea. Keep writing pages that tie back to your main topic, and link every new page (called spoke pages) back to the original hub article.
For example, if your nonprofit helps animals find new homes, you could write a hub page about what your organization does and why. Then, you could write several articles on topics like the following:
- How to care for a newly adopted pet
- How to train older animals
- When to take your pet to the vet
Include a link to the hub page so readers can see how these articles relate to your organization. By continually adding new articles that relate to the content hub, your site (and, by extension, your organization) becomes more valuable to current and potential donors. And if you update your site with more evergreen topics like the ones listed above, your site stays valuable because the content you post is always relevant.
Review Competitor Sites
Like any company or organization, you have competitors who need donors and volunteers as badly as you do. Reviewing competitor sites allows you to see what other nonprofits are doing with their sites and how they’re succeeding. You can then adjust your content strategy to use the things they’re doing well (that also fit within your site goals) while avoiding any pitfalls you see.
Building a website that houses creative, evergreen content typically has more value than an immediate surge in ranking or visibility. Even if you don’t see SEO wins on your NPO site immediately — and it’s likely you won’t as crawlers take a while to index your site — implementing these tips now can help make your site more relevant and evergreen in the long term.
This form of content strategy for nonprofits lets you carefully craft a site that focuses on your audience, while still helping you rank well. As a result, you can continue reaching more people who will help you achieve your organization’s mission.
Caleb Cosper is an SEO strategist at Portent—a Clearlink Digital Agency in Seattle, WA. He earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Oklahoma (Boomer!) and has turned his passion for all things data-driven and scientific into passion for SEO. Outside of Portent, his life consists of games (video and board), food (at-home and in-restaurant), and craft beer (any and all).