Best practices for using visual imagery in nonprofit fundraising efforts

The use of images can help nonprofit fundraising efforts generate positive results.
Date Published
03/24/2015

For nonprofit fundraising to be effective, a charitable organization must make a strong connection with a potential donor to get him or her to contribute financially. There isn’t one strategy that can be used to generate consistently positive results. However, adding a visual element to campaigns can help to connect with constituents emotionally, causing them to make a donation – hopefully on a regular basis and not just as a one-time gift. 

Visual storytelling can be a powerful way to increase giving. Here are a number of helpful best practices that a 501(c)(3) organization can use in campaigns of this kind:

  1. A picture is worth 1,000 words: Convince&Convert wrote that the human brain processes pictures 60,000 times faster than regular text. Not only does this apply to still images, but video, presentations and infographics as well. Nonprofits should use pictures as much as possible to help sway donors into giving.
  2. Show off the nonprofit’s internal culture: Many constituents partner with a charitable organization and have no idea of what takes place behind the scenes. A good strategy would be to showcase the inner workings of the nonprofit, PRNews wrote. This can be done using pictures that identify key members of the charity and what their roles are. By giving donors this kind of visual data, it helps to strengthen the bond with the nonprofit and encourages giving.
  3. Make content relevant: One of the best ways to have a successful visual storytelling campaign is to make sure that the images being used are relevant to the donor, Nonprofit Marketing Guide wrote. For example, now that spring is finally upon us, sending constituents pictures of snow, reminding them of the long winter we’ve all just experienced, wouldn’t be a wise idea. The goal of visual storytelling is to create a shared experience with both existing and potential donors. This is why making imagery relevant is so important.
  4. Ensure that content is shareable: With social media becoming so popular with people all over the world, nonprofits employing the use of visual campaigns should make sure that the images are compelling enough to make people want to share them. Not only will this help nonprofit fundraising efforts by driving increased donations, it will also raise awareness about a charitable organization. This could make other people want to donate either their time or money, ultimately strengthening the efforts of the charity. 

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