SEO to increase website visitors and donors

Search Engine Optimisation helps your website perform better in search engines like Google.

SEO is important because good SEO practices improve the usability of your web site and your visitor’s user experience. You’ll get discovered by the right people more often, allowing you to grow your base of supporters and donors.

Users trust search engines – if your site is in at the top of a search for the keywords used by your visitors, they will have more trust in your site.

Many small charities face 2 problems – not enough website visitors and the ones who find you are not engaged enough to stay.

So how can you improve your SEO?

  • Regularly updated, quality, relevant content
  • Identify and use your target keywords
  • Use Google Search Console
  • Use Google Analytics
  • Ensure your site is mobile-friendly
  • Use a plugin like Yoast
  • Fix 404s

The higher your google ranking, the easier your website will be to find. You’ll attract more visitors and persuade them to donate and support you with an interesting and attractive, navigable site – easy!

social proof fb

Use Social Proof

The Rule of Social Proof: ‘If others are doing it, it must be the right thing to do.’

92% of consumers worldwide trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of marketing. People care about what others think and you can use that to attract new donors and supporters.

Tell the stories of your beneficiaries and supporters in text and pictures. A good story will spark emotion and empathy in your reader and persuade them to answer the call to action on your donate page. Images in the online world increase engagement by 313%. Not everything can be expressed with words, but nearly everything can be explained with visuals. Pictures help us relate to content, which will increase credibility and trust in your cause.

Use numbers on your website donation page. Show the number of people who have already given or who have fundraised for you to motivate visitors to donate. Tell your readers your total so far if you have a target amount to raise, this inspires them to help you reach your goal.

If you’ve received positive mentions from credible media sources, influencers or publications, put them on your website as well as key quotes from experts. Don’t forget to include social media buttons on your website pages to demonstrate broad support for your organisation and so people can easily share your content.

The internet has made social proof a powerful way to influence social behaviours.  By building and increasing the visibility of social proof for your cause, you more clearly demonstrate the value of your organisation to prospective donors and fundraisers.



More Than Just a Thank You

Did you know that thanking someone for a donation within 48 hours makes it 400% more likely that they will donate to you again? Research shows not being thanked continues to be the most common reason people give for not making further donations to an organisation.

You spend a considerable amount of time and budget finding donors – shouldn’t you spend as much time making sure they stick with you?

Thanking donors should not be a chore, it should be a genuine recognition of their gift. Lack of appreciation is bad manners and a waste of an excellent opportunity to start a conversation. This is your best chance to tell your story, explain what the donation will mean for your beneficiaries and build a relationship with the donor.

NCVO survey found that 70% of donors felt that the thank you was important but that many acknowledgements were dull and predictable. What a shame!

There are lots of great examples out there but the principles are:

  • keep it short
  • make it personal (use their name)
  • be quick (less than 48 hours)
  • thank them for something specific (ideally the amount £)
  • tell a short story on how the donation will be spent
  • include your website link
  • close with another thank you

Treating donors as long-term partners who share your passion for the cause will go a long way in securing further support and hopefully repeat donations.

Have a look at an excellent example from Charity: water

site comparison

Charity Donation Sites Comparison

Choosing the best donation site for your charity can get complicated very quickly. There are lots of options to consider:

  • What are the donation site’s fees?
  • Is Gift Aid collected automatically?
  • How many other charities are on the donation site?
  • What extras are available?

The cost of being on a site should be weighed up against the visibility of your cause to the general public:

  • If your website attracts a lot of visitors and the public are donating to you by clicking through to the donation site via your website, why not collect donations directly using a payment gateway like PayPal who charge transaction fees only.
  • If you’re a small charity and don’t get much web traffic, you may want to be on a known donation site where the public can find you by searching for a cause they want to support.

A large number of charities on a well-known donation site can be an advantage since it gives the donator confidence in making a donation. They trust that the causes are genuine and that their bank card details are secure. A lesser known site will have less charities and less visitors but will cost less and you may just want to use the site to process donations and gift aid.

Do you have supporters who raise funds by taking part in events? Some sites allow them to create an individual fundraising page and any money raised is paid directly to your charity. Most collect Gift Aid and offer optimisation for mobile giving which is an important consideration since 24% of all online donations were made on a mobile device in 2017.

Have a look at the table from White Fuse of the top donation sites and the costs to the charity for £100 raised per month and read the site comparisons to help you make a decision about which site is best for your charity:

Just Giving

Just giving is the market leader so, as you’d expect, they have a very refined product. One big plus is that many fundraisers will have used this before for other charities. However, the fees are some of the highest.

Virgin Money Giving

Another very established option with a decent interface but high fees.


Wonderful is a relatively new entrant with no fees (not even for payment processing) and a modern clean interface. Not as many features as the bigger sites but definitely worth a look.

Golden Giving

Golden Giving is another low-cost option, with charges equivalent to BT My Donate.


Everyclick is distinctive because it allows people to raise money for your charity by simply browsing the web. If you refer your supporters to Everyclick and they use it to browse the web using the Everyclick search engine they will pay you a small commission.

The Big Give

The distinctive element of The Big Give is the matched giving functionality. Time-limited matched giving provides a great context for small charities to run direct fundraising campaigns.

Local Giving 

As the name suggests, the focus of Local Giving is local charities. Their website homepage features a postcode-based search to match up donors and fundraisers with charities in their local area.


Where all the other options on this list prioritise their own branding and only let charities upload their logo, Raisely offers a fully customised fundraising system that allows the charity much more control over the design and branding.

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