In these days of information overload, it can be hard to get your donors’ attention. In my last post, I wrote about the importance of telling stories. Written stories are great, but since donors get so many messages from different sources they may not want to read another word.
This is why you also need to use visual stories. Some people respond better to visual stimuli, anyway. Here are a few ways to tell visual stories.
Tell a story in an instant with a photo
You can capture your donors’ attention in an instant with a great photo. That doesn’t mean a one of your executive director receiving an award. Use photos of your programs in action.
Print newsletters and annual reports tend to be dominated by long-winded text. Most of your donors won’t have time to read the whole thing. But if you share some engaging photos, your donors can get a quick glance of the impact of their gift without having to muddle through a bunch of tedious text.
You may want to try a Postcard Annual Report instead of the usual boring booklet. Postcards with an engaging photo are also great for thank you cards and updates. I’m a big fan of postcards because they’re a quick, less expensive way to communicate by mail.
If you use social media, you need to communicate several times a week. As your donors scroll through an endless amount of Facebook and Twitter posts, an engaging photo can pop out and get their attention.
Use photos everywhere – appeal letters, thank you letters/cards, newsletters, annual reports, updates, your website, and social media. Create a photo bank to help you with this. It’s fine to use the same photos in different channels. It can help with your brand identity. Be sure to use high-quality pictures. Hire a professional photographer or find one to work pro bono.
Work with your program staff to get photos and videos (more on videos below). Confidentiality issues may come up and you’ll need to get permission to use pictures of kids.
Highlight your work with a video
Create a video to show your programs in action, share an interview, give a behind the scenes look at your organization, or my favorite – thanking your donors. Make your videos short and high quality. If you’re interviewing someone, make sure that person is good on camera.
You can use videos on your website, in an email message, on social media, and at an event.
Liven up your statistics by using infographics
A typical annual report is loaded with statistics. You want to share these, as well as your accomplishments, but you don’t want to overwhelm your donors with a lot of text.
Why not use an infographic instead of the usual laundry list of statistics and accomplishments?
Here are some examples. A Great Nonprofit Annual Report in a Fabulous Infographic
Brochures are becoming a relic of the past, but what if you want an informational print piece to give to potential donors or volunteers? An oversized infographic postcard should do the trick.
Good visuals will enhance both your print and electronic communication. Keep your donors engaged with all types of stories.