Getting your donors’attention in the best of times is hard enough and we’re not in the best of times right now. In my last post, I wrote about the importance of telling your stories. Written stories are great, but donors may not have the time or energy to read a story right now.
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 great photo
You can capture your donors’attention in an instant with a great photo. That doesn’t mean one of your executive director receiving an award. Use photos of your programs in action or something else that’s engaging.
Print newsletters and annual reports tend to be dominated by long-winded text. Most of your donors won’t want to read the whole thing, and long print communication isn’t in your best interest right now. But if you share some engaging photos, your donors can get a quick glance at the impact of their gift without having to slog through a bunch of tedious text.
A Postcard Annual Report is a better option, anyway. 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 – fundraising appeals, 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. Also, make sure your photos match your messages. If you’re writing a fundraising appeal about children who aren’t getting enough to eat each day, don’t use a picture of happy kids.
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. It may be hard to get new photos right now. If so, I hope you already have some good ones to use.
Highlight your work with a video
Videos are becoming a more popular way to connect. They can be used to show your programs in action, share an interview, give a behind the scenes look at your organization, or my favorite – thanking your donors.
You can share videos that are relevant to our current situations. If you’re a museum that’s about to re-open, you can show how people can visit it safely. If you haven’t re-opened, you could give a virtual tour of some of your collections. You could also talk about how the COVID-19 outbreak or systemic racism is affecting the people/community you work with.
I would definitely recommend a thank you video. I received a personalized video a few months ago that specifically thanked me for making a donation in addition to my monthly gifts. It was such a nice gesture. If it’s not feasible to make personalized thank you videos, you can make a general one.
Make your videos short and high quality. Short is key. People are spending a lot more time online now, especially on Zoom. If your video is more than a couple of minutes, they may not bother to watch it.
You can use videos on your website, in an email message, on social media, and at an event (virtual for now).
Enhance 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
This is no time for a long annual report. Also, if you send out your annual report too late, it becomes irrelevant. I just received an organization’s 2019 annual report with no insert referencing COVID-19, and right now I’m not interested in what this organization did last year.
With everything changing at a rapid pace, I would recommend short quarterly or even monthly updates with infographics and other visuals instead of the typical annual report.
Good visuals will enhance both your print and electronic communication. Keep your donors engaged with all types of stories.