Illustration of writing an article on a laptop

ASU Lodestar Center Blog

6 Link Building Methods for Nonprofits and Charities

This blog post is for nonprofit organizations and charities that are looking to increase their online exposure (without spending loads of money) so they can receive more volunteers, donations, attention etc.

Here are some tips for nonprofits to improve link earning within their online communities.

Focus on Quality Content

Link earning is building relationships with valuable websites within ones specific industry that generate high quality content.

Link earning helps improve search engine rankings and drives traffic to the website. It’s great when people share your content; it’s even better when they are real people doing it of their own accord. Quality content is the foundation and incentive for shareability.

Because many people use the internet as a means to express themselves and display their identity, content that relates to people is often shared more. More successful content invokes an emotional response. Nonprofits should carefully consider the psychographics of their target market.

Content is more than words, though. A picture, a joke, an infographic, a meme, a video, a song--all of that constitutes content. Your goal should be to provide something that appeals to a variety of senses.

Nonprofits might also have access to data that others do not (such as numbers surrounding homelessness, food donations etc.). They should be publishing this data and letting others in the niche know about it. Even creating press releases about data may be useful.

Nonprofits, for example, may also create a list of the best online library resources for their niche. If it's unique and useful, other sites in the niche will want to link to it because it brings value to their visitors.

Additonally, Timing is important as well. Spring related articles should be published in the spring. Gift guides are usually best served a few weeks before a major gift-giving event like Christmas or Mother’s Day. A Batman picture will share better right after a Batman movie is released etc.

Aim for Many Niches

Mainstream internet virality is niche marketing. Usually what happens is content is shared in one community or niche, and as that community shares the content, it spreads to other communities and niches.

An article about sewing will probably stay within the craft niche, but an article featuring a picture of an amazing piece of craft might spread beyond that niche into things people want or something they are in awe over.

The first time you saw the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, you might have thought it was great or ridiculous, but by the time 5% of your Facebook friends completed an Ice Bucket Challenge, if science is right, you should have found yourself more apt to get involved.

Do an Exciting Project

Provoking thought and invoking emotion contributes to link earning, but you can take it one step further and give people inclusion into an exciting event like fundraising, raising awareness, or a contest.

Some online events can include things like, an auction of donated items or art, an online fashion show, contest for the funniest picture caption, or maybe a call for submissions for a self-published anthology related to your nonprofit.

Events are press-worthy and should have a press release to go with them. You’ll also want to create (or use an existing) badge, button, or logo to brand your cause. Don’t forget to use a custom hashtag for twitter too.

Get Bloggers Involved

Many bloggers already have a fan-base of their own within their social media and blogging platform, and many are willing to write for you in order to bring publicity to their blog. This improves their link earning efforts and provides quality content at the same time. Add a place on your site for bloggers to submit work and spread the word with blogs who focus on blogging. Provide an “I’ve been featured” badge for bloggers to place on their blog.

Nonprofits should also be reaching out to other relevant nonprofits. They might already be working with other charities but haven't thought about asking them for a link. They can create a page that is specific to the other charity and talk about ways both charities are working towards the same goal. This way, the other charity might feel more comfortable linking to that page.

Create a Media Kit

A media kit is a webpage with all the basic necessities for sharing: tweets, Facebook statuses, images designed for Facebook, images designed for Pinterest, bios about key organizational members, press releases, a paragraph describing your organization, and anything a journalist might need to write about your nonprofit. You should also discuss copyright issues for each image to let people know that they are allowed to use the image as long as they link back to you.

Get Involved in Your Online Community

Social media works best when you are actively involved. The more you share, the more people see you. The more you comment, the more people know you.

Find blog posts, articles, and related memes to share. Create your own statuses, and try to aim for engagement. Open a couple Pinterest boards for community posting and invite bloggers to pin to your board.

Most nonprofits already stand for a cause that speaks for itself. All you need is an internet nudge to get it out there. The important thing is that the more excited you are about what you do, the more it will shine through your online presence and spread like a light in the darkness.

Melanie Nathan works with nonprofits such as Alberta Cancer Society and is a Link Earning strategist at the popular Edmonton SEO company, Top Draw. She has held many other positions in the internet marketing industry over her 12+ year career. Melanie is a graduate of Grant MacEwan, a writer for, an editor for the popular directory DMOZ and an avid blogger regarding all things internet marketing related.


ASU Lodestar Center Blog