Use Visual Storytelling For Your Nonprofit


Engaging with donors is one of the most important tasks a nonprofit needs to attend to. With new social platforms and communication channels to contend with, nonprofits need to take the time to consider their message and who will see it. When it comes to crafting your message, one key question should come to mind: Is my audience willing to read a paragraph about my nonprofit?

Unfortunately, in many cases the answer to that question is ‘no’. You may lose the attention of your audience if your nonprofit’s communication relies solely on copy; however, many of your followers and donors are interested in news from your nonprofit. So how do you bridge the gap?

Nonprofits have a unique opportunity when it comes to reaching constituents online. Studies have proven that stories, and more importantly, the visuals that accompany those stories, drive more meaningful engagement from users. Senior product manager of digital fundraising at Abila, Rich Dietz, asserts that web posts with visuals can create up to 180% more engagement than text-only posts. Further research indicates that web consumers process images 60,000 times faster than plain text. So how can you incorporate more resounding visuals into your nonprofit’s communication?

Find Compelling Imagery

From websites and social networks to email blasts and printed newsletters, success stories are no longer compelling without the imagery to accompany them. Gone are the days when simply filling a page or a post with text is enough to encourage engagement. According to a survey by Microsoft, the average attention span of internet users is 8 seconds – less than the rumored attention span of a goldfish. Consider including photos of individuals impacted by your nonprofit’s efforts, a completed outreach project, or photos of volunteers getting their hands dirty at a worksite. A picture is worth a thousand words, and including real people and real projects in your images will help to create an emotional draw to your cause without drowning readers in text they very likely won’t read.

Statistics Are Not Enough

According to Erika McNichol, visually presenting an organization’s financial story and success is key to successful communication from any nonprofit. Rather than rambling a list of statistics to demonstrate how your organization is reaching its goals, board members and potential donors alike want the information broken down into digestible chunks. Can the statistics you’re presenting be made into colorful and compelling graphs? Can more qualitative data be summed up with a series of before and after photos? Get creative with the format you use to present your data. Consider utilizing infographics or highlight quotes and facts by overlaying the text on a compelling image. The more visual your message, the easier it will be for your audience to comprehend.

Document Nonprofit Events

Your nonprofit is an active entity. Rather than taking the time to tell your followers about the work (and fun!) your volunteers and staff are engaged in, why not show them? Be sure that someone at your organization is snapping photos of all planned activities. With authentic, crisp photos from events, your nonprofit will have material to create an album on social profiles, or to include in email communications at a later time.

Your nonprofit can quickly harness the power of imagery to boost the impact of its online presence, engage with donors and share information more efficiently. Where can your organization add images to augment your communication strategy?