How Instagram helps tell a visual narrative

Using pictures to help tell a fundraising story can help nonprofits tell their narrative.
Date Published
03/31/2014

When nonprofits tell their story, how should they approach the subject? Certainly, most organizations want to have a coherent narrative that clearly puts their projects, campaigns and accomplishments into a recognizable context. However, as a recent article for Nonprofit Quarterly suggested, every individual will understand a nonprofit’s mission and programs from a unique perspective.

The experiences in contributors’ lives – which are often largely affected by the community they grow up in, their gender, race and a host of other characteristics – influence how they interact with a charitable organization and the way they interpret the nonprofit’s narrative. As the Quarterly writes, it’s sometimes difficult for nonprofits to craft a storyline that everyone understands exactly as the organization intended. As a result, it’s important for philanthropic groups to use a variety of sources to help tell their stories.

How to integrate Instagram
One digital tool that has steadily gained in popularity is the photo-sharing social network Instagram. According to recent research conducted by eMarketer, roughly 35 million people in the U.S. logged into Instagram, mainly using their mobile devices, at least once per month in 2013 to snap a photo and share it with their online friends. This represents a 35 percent increase in usage compared to the previous year, and this figure is expected to rise over the next few years.

This presents nonprofits with an opportunity to tell their stories using visuals that can frequently convey meaning more quickly than an extended article. Accordingly, nonprofits can create a photo-based narrative using Instagram as a vehicle, while at the same time connecting with other social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.

Another important aspect is the fact that charitable groups could potentially give donors the option to participate in creating the storyline by contributing pictures from fundraising events they’ve participated in or programs that have affected their lives – hashtags helps to connect with other social networks and participants. When more people add to the storyline, it becomes more complete.

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