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Friday
Aug302013

4 ways to supercharge your nonprofit images to connect with your supporters 

Are engaging visuals a priority in your organization? With so many things competing for people's attention today, images and photos are a more important aspect of your communications toolbox than ever before. Audiences are so accustomed to viewing images networks like Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, and Pinterest that it can be difficult to get people to pay attention without visuals.

Your audience is snacking on images with their smartphones, posting selfies, laughing at animated GIFs, and liking and pinning photos from their friends throughout the day. The best way to be on your target audience's radar is to meet them where they are. Here are some tips to help you improve your image content.

Seek out great images:

  • Borrow images from others - Flickr has a treasure trove of Creative Commons accessible images you can search through to find the perfect image for your message. Be sure you attribute photos properly wherever you post them.
  • Community events - take photos at the events your organize or cosponsor with partner organizations. Make it easy for attendees to submit photos and give permission for your organization to use their shots.
  • Conferences - Your staff work hard to make your conferences a success. Be sure you capture the experience. Conference photos can help you tell the story of your movement and help document what your organization is accomplishing.
  • Bring the silly - Do you have a mascot for you organization or for a campaign that you are running? If so, you can order a mascot costume and take photos of someone in the office dressed up as the mascot; better yet, take turns! If you can pull this off with personality, your event attendees will want to take photos with the mascot too.
  • Check out these 7 fantastic free or low cost sources to get images for your content strategy from Beth Kanter's recent blog post.

Be strategic about your subject matter:

  • Share images that tell a story.
  • Shine a light on your donors, constituents, and the communities where you are making an impact.
  • Behind the scenes - show people the progress you are making along the way on different programs. This might mean photos of your new building at different stages of construction, photos of table setups and room decor before your annual dinner to build anticipation for what's coming, or even new supplies in your offices that will help you work more effectively. ("Look at our awesome new conference room everyone. Here's how we plan to use it to convene leaders in our community and begin important discussions...")
  • "Action shots" - Capture your organizers and activists in action. This might mean grabbing photos from lobby days, meetings with legislators, protests and rallies, or other actions. You can caption these photos with brief tid bits of what happened and include links to Actions and Petitions so viewers can take action immediately.        

Choose the right message for just the right photo:

  • Choose photos that invite questions - Ask questions about the images you post. You can learn a lot from your audience from the responses inspired by question you ask with images.
  • Host a "Caption This" contest to engage your network, and get a lot of visibility for a photo.
  • Ask people how a surprising or astonishing image makes them feel.
  • Pair inspiring quotes with inspiring images that illustrate the idea.
  • Always make sure that all of the people in your images have given permission to be published online.

Share the images that you are capturing:

These are just a few of the places you can share photos to engage your community. Sometimes the right channel is different for each photo.

  • Instagram;
  • Pinterest;
  • Reddit;
  • Facebook;
  • Twitter;
  • Flickr;
  • Dropbox - This can be handy when you need to share photos in bulk or high resolution images with large files sizes.
  • Your conference program books;
  • Annual Reports - your key stakeholders want to see what you're doing. You can easily spruce up a report with a few really good photos.

Where have you gotten your best images from, and how do you use them? Share your best tips for supercharging your nonprofit's images.

Reader Comments (2)

I love this post and I find the content very helpful. However I wish you would have included a great image so that I could pin it on Pinterest!
October 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulia Campbell
Great point, Julia! We have included an image per your suggestion. Thanks so much.
October 25, 2013 | Registered CommenterJustin Perkins

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