In order to successfully optimise your website for search engines, you need to pinpoint exactly which keywords are the best fit for your particular non-profit organisation.

You might be covering a whole range of bases, from volunteering opportunities to fundraising events and donations, as well as the core services you aim to provide. If you're unsure of where to begin, the following advice should help to get you on your way.

While it's useful to optimise your content for low competition keywords, it's important to put yourself in the mindset of the person searching when deciding which keywords you're going to target. For example, if you're an animal charity, it may be more likely that people are searching for services you offer, such as "animal rescue', 'animal shelter' or 'animal welfare' as opposed to searching directly for a charity.

With this in mind we've identified some keywords using the Moz Keyword Explorer tool. As well as monthly search volumes, we've also detailed the difficulty score to give you an indication of how you could make some potential quick wins.

For the purpose of this article, let's say we are an animal shelter in London looking to bring in new traffic to our site:

Animal Shelter

1. Location keywords

Keyword: Animal shelter London
Monthly search volume: 201-500
Keyword difficulty: 50%

Keyword: Cat rescue London
Monthly search volume: 201-500
Keyword difficulty: 35%

Targeting users by location can be one of the best ways to gain new targeted traffic to your site. In this instance someone looking to re-home a cat is probably going to consider location as a major factor for their search, so in order to get picked up by local search make sure that your site is optimised for location-based keywords.

If you operate in a specific area then make sure that your meta descriptions, headings and location keywords are utilised accordingly so that searchers in that specific area can find you, and search engines rank you for that location.

2. Informational key phrases

Keyword: How to look after a dog
Monthly search volume: 501-850
Keyword difficulty: 33%

If you're an expert in a particular field, don't just sell your services, but also offer browsers access to a knowledge bank. 'How to look after a dog' may not initially come to mind when searching for an animal shelter, but if you're looking to adopt a dog for the first time, it's information you'll want to know.

By creating a content hub of information or simple targeted blog posts covering a range of relevant topics, your charity will stand out as an authority on the subject and the one to return to in future. In addition, you will also benefit by capturing a wider range of online searches from potential customers who are looking for services you offer.

3. Purpose keywords

Keyword: Volunteering at animal shelters
Monthly search volume: 201-500
Keyword difficulty: 33%

Considering the purpose of a search can be essential when it comes to matching your content to your users intent. A person searching to re-home a cat has very different intent to someone looking for voluntary work. You should approach your keyword strategy through the lens of your website goals.

In this instance a good content opportunity would be to create a separate landing page which details information about how to sign up and what your volunteer program involves.

Animal Sponsor

4. Transactional keywords

Keyword: Sponsor a dog
Monthly search volume: 851-1.7k
Keyword difficulty: 33%

Creating content that focuses on transactional keywords can be one of the best ways to increase your conversion rate. That's because people conducting these kind of searches are likely to be closer to the point of purchase.

This happens when a person has already searched for the information and has made the decision to make a purchase or engage with your services. Creating an attractive donation landing page for this particular keyword would be a good approach.

Make sure that when you do so you're informing your audience where their money will be spent. You might like to share case studies of your recipients who have benefited from the sponsorship, helping to tap into the emotional element. The power of storytelling can be hugely beneficial for charity organisations, as a compelling story is far more memorable and gives your brand authenticity.

Adding content for specific terms gives you a better chance of ranking in the search engines. Broad keyword choices such as 'UK Charities' are highly competitive, which means it's going to be hard to rank well for a term that generic. Choosing a more niche term like 'animal shelter volunteering London' is simultaneously less competitive and more likely to draw in browsers who are specifically looking for what you offer.

To learn how a well-maintained keyword strategy can help improve your own SEO efforts, get in touch today.

We’ve all experienced how some of the big household names in charity use hard-hitting subject matters and psychology to grab our attention.

In fact, as of September 2017 there were over 167,000 charities in the UK, each wanting to get their voices heard.

We explore charity copywriting methods including active voice, building connections and powerful call to actions (CTAs) in order to convert readers to donators. And, how excellent copywriting can inform and even save lives, while at the same time nudging readers towards allegiance with the charity and raising money.

How UNICEF leveraged its social influence

In 2013, the Swedish branch of UNICEF used a somewhat controversial message to encourage its large social media following to take action and donate. Its ‘Likes don’t save lives’ campaign highlighted the rise of ‘slacktivism’, saying ‘Like us on Facebook, and we will vaccinate zero children against polio.’

As well as these adverts, four video ads were also distributed through social media. One of the most powerful was a direct address to the camera from a 10-year-old orphan. The clever copywriting in the script used a sarcastic tone to get people thinking, with the boy saying:

“Sometimes I worry that I will get sick, like my mom got sick. But I think everything will be alright. Today, Unicef Sweden has 177,000 likes on Facebook.”

The result of UNICEF’s application of impactful psychological wording was a huge increase in donations. In fact the money raised was enough to vaccinate 637,324 people against polio. Likes alone can’t fund UNICEF’s work, but leveraging those likes with smart copywriting can.

Oxfam asks the underdogs to work together

The tagline of Oxfam’s ‘Even it up’ advert portrays an injustice that the everyday person can relate to, brought in the form of a heavyweight statistic:

‘The world’s 85 richest people own the same wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest people.’

This statistic draws on the readers’ knowledge of the wealth disparity in the UK – much touted in the press – while also putting it into perspective. That’s because the image portrays a child in a third world country wearing whatever clothes he can find, who is far worse off than the average Brit.

Readers are encouraged to visit Oxfam’s website through use of the inclusive wording ‘together, we can end extreme equality’ and ‘join us at’. Once there, you’re asked to sign a petition that’ll be sent to world leaders, through the use of further astute copywriting.

After explaining Oxfam’s belief ‘that everyone should have a fair say, pay their fair share of tax, have equal access to good healthcare and education, and decent wages.’ The final CTA is a question that again signifies working together and implies that everyone else will be signing the petition: ‘The world is ready to act, are you? It’s time to Even it up!’

RNLI – saving lives and increasing engagement

For the fourth year of the RNLI’s ‘Respect the Water’ national drowning prevention campaign, the charity has launched cinema and radio ads, as well as cleverly worded and laid-out social ads that engage on a number of levels.

One of the slogans used in RNLI’s social media ads is:

‘Extend your arms, legs and life expectancy’

This succinctly and directly explains what to do if you fall in cold water. The wording shows how a simple action has a profound effect.



Extend your arms, legs and life expectancy.

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Another tweet uses the acronym F.L.O.A.T. to give full instruction on what to do, in an easy to remember way.



Fight your instinct and F.L.O.A.T to live.

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70 people are talking about this

Using the overarching message ‘Float to live’, the copywriting primarily has the aim of informing and saving lives, rather than actively encouraging donations. However the ads promote understanding of the good work that the RNLI does, encourage social engagement through the hashtag #RespectTheWater and direct people to their website, where they can learn more and potentially donate.

The Respect The Water webpages contain videos, challenges and expert opinion, ending in the CTA ‘hear about our lifesaving work, keep in touch’. And when people hit keep in touch the orange donate button is looming in the top right.

Leaving legacies to The Donkey Sanctuary

In 2013 The Guardian released data on the top 1,000 charities in the UK ranked by donations received; and there were some surprising rankings. In fact, the Donkey Sanctuary received more donations than The Samaritans, which was due in large part to legacies.

So we took a look at the legacy pages on their website to see how they were encouraging people to leave money to the charity in their wills. Leaving a legacy is one of the four main ways of giving to The Donkey Sanctuary provided on their ‘ways to help’ page, in addition to various forms of donation. Incidentally, we also liked the way that the section was called ‘ways to help’, which is a far less pushy title than simply ‘donate’.

Headed with the words ‘Leave a lasting gift’, the main legacy page encourages action in a traditionally effective way – by flattering readers. It says:

So here’s to those who change the world.

The selfless devoted ones, the compassionate ones, those whose conviction protects the abused, the overworked, the unwanted and unloved.

The CTA on this page is a very direct ‘email us’, which works due to the effectiveness of the other pages in the legacy section, such as a ‘How to leave a legacy’ information page and a testimonial from a benefactor. The content on these pages allows the reader to make a firm decision about leaving a legacy while on the website.


As well as showing that others are leaving legacies to the Donkey Sanctuary, and thus encouraging donation through a feeling of inclusion, the wording on this testimonial page highlights that legacies of any amount are gratefully received:

I’ve decided to leave The Donkey Sanctuary a bequest in my Will. My family will come first, but then I’m planning to leave what’s left to charity.

However small my contribution, I am made to feel that ‘every little bit helps’.

It’s clear that charities can use a number of tactics such as using a financial copywriter to encourage people to donate. Knowing the way your potential supporters feel and how to persuade them to get involved is key in creating effective copywriting for charities.

As a copywriting agency, WooContent can offer advice on charity copywriting that leads to support, so get in touch today to find out more.


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