I wanted to expand on the excellent SEJ post about link building with charities. There is another method that can also help people in need and help you build links as well, Project Sponsorship. I know the debate on buying links will not end until they stop working but Matt Cutts even mentioned sponsorships as a relevant link building technique in one of his Google Webmaster Tools videos (although I can’t find the video now).
Typical sponsorships with local projects, charities and businesses are not always easy to come by and typically cost a quite a bit of money or resources. Enter Kickstarter. From their website “Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative ideas and ambitious endeavors.” And build links! Click around kickstarter.com and read about the different projects people are hoping to get funded and see what interests you & who is offering links. Look around and you’ll see notes like “offering web credit” or some will outright say a link on their site.
Projects range from “Documenting the History of Maine’s Waterfront” (link) or helping a web series documenting the building of a new habitat for a Chimpanzee (link) to even funding a Facebook competitor (link) For as little as $1, but usually around $5 to $10 you can help fund a project that interests you and build links at the same time.
Like all link building it takes some time and effort but can reap rewards and you get the warm fuzzy feeling of helping someone reach follow through on their dreams. A win-win if you ask me.