When it comes to fundraising, search engine optimization (SEO) is a high-interest topic. There are generally two schools of thought: a focus on SEO to raise money or ignoring SEO because it has no impact on fundraising. Neither view is particularly strategic nor true in all cases. For most, SEO has some value, for some, SEO can be used for proactive fundraising.
Everyone interested in fundraising should be mindful of SEO. The primary benefit is that it allows people who are looking for you and what you do to find you. Marketing, events, public relations, and more work to generate awareness. People with an interest in your cause will search you out, and if they cannot find you, then you have missed an opportunity. They may not exactly remember your website URL or even your name, so they have to be able to find you by typing something relevant into a search engine.
The other side of the conversation is that SEO only helps people find you who are looking for you. That is a pretty important thing in and of itself; you must have a baseline of SEO in order to capitalize on all your efforts to make people aware of you. But the general thought is that SEO does not help new audiences find you. And that is true, to a point.
Most nonprofits have very specific content on their website, and the potential audience looking for that content is going to be small. And often that is how it needs to be. Your site should be laser focused on what is most important. However, sometimes other opportunities exist.
A blog or news section of a website could be engineered to provide complementary content in some cases. This enables you to reach beyond you narrow niche and attract an audience that may be interested in learning more about you.
For example, say your cause helps people in a particular country. You could potentially add a blog to your website where you publish long-form content about recipes, tourism sites, culture, and even issues in that nation. You end each article with a short statement about your work in that nation and how people can get involved. People interested in that nation will find their way to your website, hopefully get lost in your web of interesting content, getting exposed to your message repeatedly. They may join your newsletter to get more of your articles, and every now and then you send them an appeal email as well.
This strategy will not work for everyone, but could it be a fit for you?
In any event, you must be somewhat mindful of SEO. And you may perhaps have more use for it than you think.