How to Drive Traffic for a Nonprofit Website


You’re trying to solicit donations and recruit more volunteers for your organization. That means you need to direct more people to your website, so they can learn why your mission is important and how they can get involved. Unfortunately, figuring out how to drive traffic for a nonprofit website can be tricky.  

It’s natural to assume you should cast a wide net and aim to target as many people as possible. But taking this approach isn’t the way to go. In fact, it’s a good way to set yourself up for failure.

There is a critical factor to consider in your quest to generate traffic to your website. Once you’ve grasped that, choosing the appropriate tactics becomes much easier. 

So, let’s take a deep dive and look at how to bring in the right traffic more effectively.  

The Key to Driving Traffic to Your Nonprofit Website

The reason you’re not succeeding in your efforts to drive traffic to your nonprofit website could be that you’re laser-focused on numbers. Boosting traffic to your website isn’t just about putting it in front of as many people as you can. That approach forces you to implement any means necessary to increase traffic—from any source you can—which is often a waste of precious resources. 

Using time and money wisely is important for any organization, but it’s especially crucial for nonprofits. To make the most of limited resources and get a better ROI, you need to focus on bringing in the right kind of traffic. Prioritize quality over quantity.

Instead, shift your focus toward identifying your target audience. 

Here are some important steps to take…

Build Donor/Volunteer Avatars

One of the best ways to ensure a targeted approach is to create avatars. These are fictionalized versions of the people you want to target and attract to your website. Mapping out these avatars enables you to tailor your marketing message so that it appeals to them.

You can build your donor/volunteer avatars by consulting your community database. This allows you to identify patterns and attributes. Once you’ve created your basic avatars, you can break them down further based on your specific programs and their unique needs. 

Tackling this step first allows you to identify where your audience hangs out (certain social media channels, discussion forums, etc.) so you can target them accordingly. 

Run a User Test on Your Site

Another way to improve your efforts to drive traffic to a nonprofit site is to perform user testing. Test your marketing on a focus group to acquire feedback. This group can offer constructive criticism and relevant feedback that you can implement for better results. 

Over 50% of nonprofit website traffic comes from mobile devices. So, test your website on different devices to ensure an all-around great user experience. This is essential for encouraging people to not only visit but also spend more time on your site.  

7 Ways to Drive Traffic for a Nonprofit Website

As hinted at previously, your goal shouldn’t just be to drive traffic to your website. You want to make sure you are attracting a targeted audience that is interested in your cause. That way, you’re bringing in people more inclined to donate or volunteer.  

Here are 7 tips to make this happen…

Creating a robust blog section on your website is strongly recommended to drive traffic for a nonprofit website. It can take time for your articles to appear in the search results, but it’s well worth it in the long run. Along with bringing in organic traffic, it can establish your organization as an authority in your space. 

With each blog you write, make sure it’s well-optimized for a specific keyword related to your cause and your target audience’s search intent. Framing each blog around a specific keyword increases the likelihood of it showing up when a person searches for that term. So, before you start writing, do extensive keyword research to ensure you’re writing about topics that appeal to your target audience.

In addition, ensure your blogs are always high quality and valuable so that readers are compelled to share them, which will bring more awareness to your blog and website. 

2. Post Inspirational Content on Social Media

Taylor of Viral Solutions taking a picture of Joel and Holland sitting in a park holding a clipboard.

Identifying your target audience makes it easier to drive traffic for a nonprofit website since it helps you identify the platforms your audience uses online. Then, you’ll know what social media channels to focus on. 

Building a social media profile for your nonprofit organization will help you leverage your chosen platform(s) so you can provide information about your cause and gain followers. Post inspirational content, such as the activities you are involved in and the lives of those you’ve helped. 

Show people how they can make a difference, and direct them to your website to learn more.

According to a study by Blackbaud Institute, online giving activity saw a 42% increase over the last three years. Social media is an effective way to drive people committed to your cause to join your effort.

3. Start a YouTube Channel

Web users turn to YouTube for interactive content across various subjects. Having a dedicated channel where you can share useful information about your nonprofit activities is a great way to increase your traffic. You can include CTAs in your videos directing people to relevant pages on your site. 

Video is more compelling than text, creating an emotional pull because people can see and hear the message instead of just reading it. You can leverage the power of YouTube to drive traffic for a nonprofit website and move people into action with the power of visual storytelling. Make no mistake—emotion in nonprofit video can go a long way toward increasing engagement and encouraging sharing.  

4. Apply for Google Ad Grants to Run Paid Ads

Did you know that Google offers free advertising for nonprofits? You can take advantage of this unique opportunity to leverage the web’s largest search engine and generate high-quality traffic to your website.

You must first register your organization for Google Ad Grants. If approved, you will be granted access to Google Workspace and YouTube for Nonprofits. Use your grant dollars to expand the reach of your website and reach people you haven’t been able to tap before. 

Using paid ads is a great way to increase the amount of traffic to your nonprofit website quickly. Make sure to identify the parameters of your ads based on the demographic and age range (you can turn to your donor/volunteer avatar for this). 

Email marketing is often an untapped marketing channel for nonprofits. The people on your email list have already expressed interest in your cause. You can capitalize on that by sending emails that encourage them to visit your site again and again. 

Send emails on a frequent basis (e.g., biweekly) to ensure that you can maintain engagement with your audience. And make sure you have a way to get people onto your email list, such as offering something of value that they can opt in for on your website. Some examples are as follows:

Bonus Tip: By including share links at the bottom of newsletters, you can give those on your list a convenient way to share your content. This can help generate additional traffic from friends, family members, and coworkers. 

Link building is an important part of any SEO strategy, as it can improve your search rankings and bring more traffic to your nonprofit website. However, it can also be challenging. And if you don’t approach it the right way, you can do more harm than good.

The best way to get backlinks from relevant websites is to focus on creating valuable, well-written content. If you do this right, people will naturally link to your content in their own. 

You can also reach out to bloggers and organizations in your niche to see if they’d be interested in linking to your content. Just make sure to direct your request to the right person and explain how your content would benefit their audience.           

7. Include Your Website in Print

Many nonprofits use traditional methods of marketing—such as print newsletters, postcards, and magazine ads—to reach out to donors and volunteers. If this is true in your case, utilize it as another way of driving traffic to your website. Simply include an appropriate link (e.g., to your donation page) in your print materials to encourage people to visit your site and learn more.

Final Thoughts

To drive traffic for a nonprofit website, it’s crucial that you start by understanding your target audience—who they are, what they want, and where they spend time online. Using a generic approach won’t cut it because not all website traffic is useful. Bringing in qualified visitors is what will really have an impact on donations and volunteer signups. So, apply the tips provided here and take a multichannel approach to boost your web traffic effectively. 

Learn about our specialized marketing services for nonprofit organizations. Let us make the process of building website traffic easier with a higher ROI!


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About Caitie

Caitie's background as an editorial assistant, blog writer, and proofreader has served her well in her current position within our content department. She applies the skills she has acquired through training and hands-on experience daily, ensuring the quality of the content provided to clients.

In her role, Caitie is responsible for conducting research and producing various types of educational content and sales copy. She is committed to ensuring each piece is optimized for search and speaks to the client's target audience.

Caitie is passionate about learning and seeks every opportunity to further expand on her knowledge of marketing best practices. In addition to undergoing StoryBrand agency training, she has met the necessary requirements to become a DigitalMarketer Certified Content Marketing Specialist and Direct-Response Copywriting Specialist, as well as Yoast SEO Copywriting and Keyword Research certified.

During her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to podcasts, and spending time with loved ones.