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3 Ways to Conduct Donor-Centric Keyword Research Like a Pro

Jasmine LeBlanc 1/4/22 11:23 AM

Once you have an established donor persona, how do you attract them to your website to donate?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a cost-effective first step. But in order to maximize your SEO, you have to know what keywords your donor persona uses when they search for organizations like yours.

You discover this through keyword research.

It may sound intimidating, so we created a list of easy-to-follow tips to help you find donor-centric keywords. So you can ultimately increase online donations for your nonprofit.

Keep reading to learn more!

Keyword Research

Keyword research is the task of determining popular words and phrases that your persona uses to find your organization. If your goal is to increase donations for your nonprofit, then you want to research what keywords your donor persona uses to search for nonprofits they would like to donate to.

Through your research, you’ll explore the exact language your target audience uses in their search. As your donor persona’s needs and interests develop, their keywords will slightly change. You’ll have to incorporate performing keyword research into your content planning routine to stay relevant to your target donor persona.

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Conducting Donor-Centric Keyword Research

To start your research, think about what types of keywords your donor persona would search for when trying to find your organization or causes similar to yours.

Here are three ways to begin your donor-centric keyword research:

1. Find Your Foundational Topics and Build a Keyword List From Them

Your foundational topics are what you will build your keywords around. To discover those, create a simple list of topics based on your organization’s main cause. These topics are your foundational keywords. Once you determine your foundational keywords, find relevant phrase-driven keywords to use as well. Phrase these keywords how your donor persona would search for them, not the way you would.

Your foundational keywords will be the topics of your main pages on your website. Be sure that you are selecting foundational keywords that you want to appear high for in the search engine rankings. Then you will use your phrase-driven keywords to create valuable blog content and on your main pages to provide additional detail about your foundational topic.

Here are 3 different examples of foundational keywords with corresponding phrase-driven keywords:

Examples of Foundational Keywords and Phrase-Driven Keywords

Foundational Keywords
(main webpage topics)

Phrase-Driven Keywords
(blog post topics and additional phrases to use on main webpages)

Mentoring children

What is a youth mentoring program, why mentoring youth is important, children’s mentoring services

Rescuing pets

How to adopt a pet, shelter pets vs. breeder, why are shelter pets the best, rescued pets for adoption

Cancer support

How to find local cancer support group, support for families dealing with cancer, how to support cancer patients

2. Refine Your Keywords by Interviewing Donors

Take the keywords you gathered from your foundational topics and double-check to see that they will truly attract your donor persona to your website. Now the question is, how do you find that out? The answer is to interview your donors!

These are a few sample questions you could ask your donor audience when conducting interviews:

  • Where would you go to look for information about (your cause)?
  • What keywords would you use to search for a nonprofit to donate to about (your cause)?
  • How does (your cause) help you overcome any challenges you have?
  • How familiar are you with thought leaders and influencers in (your industry)?

The answers to these questions will provide you great insight on which keywords you should choose.

3. Use Online Resources to Help You Craft the Best Keywords

Some of the most effective keywords for your organization may be obvious, but there are other keywords that you probably would never think of using. Online tools can help make sure you’ve explored all of your possibilities.

To start, here are some of our favorite keyword research tools:

These tools help build long-phrase keywords when you enter your foundational topics:

Using online resources will provide you with a variety of keywords, so how do you decide which ones to use? Consider these factors when making your final decision:

  • Search Traffic/Volume

Consider how often the keyword is searched and how in demand the term is. The amount of search volume that the keyword generates is also something to consider. Typically, if the search volume is high, then it is a great keyword to use.

  • Competition and Difficulty

Think about what your chances for success are with this keyword. It’s better to focus on keywords that have low competition, so that you have a better chance of ranking high on the search result page. Your page and domain authority affect how high on the difficulty level scale you can go and still be successful, use these tips to determine when your site would rank well with a high-value keyword.

  • Keyword Relevance

Put yourself in your donor persona’s shoes and ask yourself if the keyword is something you would search for. Make sure that the keywords you choose will attract the right kind of people to your website. Double-check your keyword relevance by performing Google searches for the keywords you have identified. When you manually search keywords, you can see what the results are and if they are relevant to your foundational topics.


These three tips should help you formulate a solid list of keywords for your organization to build content. Once you discover how your donor persona searches and find the right keywords, you will be able to target them effectively. 

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