I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase “A picture is worth a 1000 words.” It’s become somewhat of a cliche, but it’s also quite relevant in this time of information overload.
Donors get so many messages from different sources that sometimes they don’t want to read another word. But you have stories to share. This is why you need to connect by using 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 photo of your executive director receiving an award. Use photos of your programs in action.
Print newsletters and annual reports tend to be too long and dominated by 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 slog 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. They’re a quick, less expensive way to communicate by mail, which you should be doing at least three or four times a year.
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.
Showcase 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, be 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.
Make your statistics shine with 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 could be the way to go.
Good visuals will enhance both your print and electronic communication. Keep your donors engaged with all types of stories.