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8 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Nonprofit's Images

Choosing good photos to represent your nonprofit is crucial for your branding and for the success of your fundraising campaigns. Learn how to optimize for success by picking the correct type of images.


How to choose a good photo for your fundraising campaign

Photography is a powerful tool for online fundraising. A good picture grabs the attention of others in seconds in a way that no amount of words can.

Since many of the users that reach your page on GivingWay might not have previous acquaintance with your nonprofit, pictures are a good way to both present your organization's mission & activity, and to create trust and show that you are a serious NGO.


Below are some tips to take into consideration when choosing the photos to represent your cause and brand.


1. Show positive photos


Nonprofit marketers often debate about what is the most effective way to engage donors: Presenting the hardship and seriousness of a cause by showing sad, hard, maybe even provocative photos; Or presenting optimistic, happy, easy to look at sort of photos.


The answer to this question is conclusive. Always prefer positive imagery when fundraising.


Positive images remind people of the potential benefits of their donations. Images conveying distress however, create an impulse to avoid negative emotions. Studies comparing the impact of happy photos vs. sad photos for fundraising campaigns, showed that happy images with positive messages had a much higher impact on the intention to donate than either happy images with a negative message or sad images. The explanation for this is that happy images with a positive message made participants feel more confident that their donation would make a difference, increasing their intention to donate.


Look at the following pictures for example, both are promoting fundraising for hunger causes in Africa:



While the first one on the left is obviously very shocking and affective, it also very unpleasant to look at and makes people want to turn their head away and scroll to something else. The second photo is very sweet and aesthetically beautiful. It makes you want to click on the photo and understand more about it. Bottom line, even though the first photo is better in explaining the severity of the situation, the latter is more effective in raising donations.


2. Choose multiple photos


Photos are very effective and there is no reason to limit yourself to one. Choose a variety of photos that tell the story of your organization and show different sides of your activity.

Keep in mind that too many photos can overwhelm so only upload photos that truly add important information and context. A good number of photos is in the range of 5-10 images.



3. Choose your best photo as the cover image


The first photo is the photo that will determine if a user will continue to scroll on to your other pictures, that's why it should be very captivating. The cover photo may also appear in search results, on the site’s homepage, in marketing emails, and on social media. It’s imperative that your main photo be your strongest, and the one that captures you most completely.


4. Pick photos that have great quality


The quality of your images reflect on the quality of your organization and brand.

If you can't catch 5 good images of your organization's activity it might seem to potential donors that you aren't a vert serious organization.


Blurry, unfocused, or grainy photos can harm your fundraising efforts and make your organization seem less competent. Photos that are clear, in focus, have vibrant color, and are high “resolution” will appeal most to your donors and strengthen their trust in you.


Luckily, with today's technology, you don’t need to hire a photographer to get beautiful, high quality photos. Even a simple smartphone will take fantastic photos, just make sure your camera is set to the highest quality and resolution settings possible.



5. Show real people in real situations


The donors want to get to know you, your organization, the community you are helping, and it's more important that your images are authentic then professional. Refrain from using stock images and avoid adding filters and too much editing. Donors will respond more positively to genuine, real, authentic images.



6. Combine a mixture of photos that create emotional connections with photos that add information


The photos that create the deepest sense of connection often include expressive faces, a person making eye contact with the camera, people helping each other, and moments of common humanity. In general, photos where the camera is very zoomed-in on a subject creates emotion. That being said, you should also combine pictures where the camera is zoomed-out, and the donor can see the bigger picture and get more context.


7. Obtain informed consent and share photos responsibly.


Make sure you have the rights to use a photo before publishing it and sharing it. Give credit when it's needed, and see that you have the consent of anyone shown in the picture to use it in this way.


8. On GivingWay, treat organization images differently than campaign images


GivingWay's platform offers you various tools to help you with your fundraising efforts. Your organization page is like your mini-site on GivingWay. This is the place to share all of the information about your organization (such as description, images, running projects, volunteer opportunities, reviews and contacts). A campaign page on the other hand, is a page for fundraising for a specific project, and an organization can have multiple campaigns for different goals.


Both the organization page and campaign page showcase your photos, but we would recommend to choose different photos for each. For the organization page, choose general photos that represent all of your nonprofits activities and goals. For the campaign page, focus and choose only imagery that represents the goal of the specific campaign.


For example, say your nonprofit does community development and works in the fields of education, environment, women empowerment and healthcare. You currently have 2 active projects, one for building a school and the other for buying shoes for children.

In this case, your organization page should show several pictures reflecting the activity you do in education, environment, women empowerment and healthcare.

For your projects you should have two separate campaigns, one for building a school, and one for buying shoes. Each campaign will showcase only pictures relevant to the specific campaign.


Here are some excellent examples of great photos from campaigns on GivingWay:



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While picking photos to represent your organization might seem like a very casual afterthought that you might do in 2 minutes, it really has significant implications and it's worth putting some thought into. After choosing your photos make sure to review your photo gallery often, update it with new photos of current activity and delete low quality photos that are no longer relevant so that only your best photos are displayed.



Remember you are not alone! Join GivingWay’s community of nonprofit organizations to share your insights and questions with organizations similar to yours.


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