Yesterday, the good people at Resource MediaPicture1 shared a report which I immediately re-posted to Facebook and Twitter.  It is one of those resources that I kind of wish all my clients would block off 30 minutes to read and digest… then implement!

What is this secret sauce resource I speak of?  It is a report called Seeing is Believing and you can download it, for free, right now.  Go ahead… click over and get the download started.

I’ve blogged about this topic before, so it is clearly something I find important.  The good news is that the people at Resource Media think it is important, too (I am not alone!). And since you are a busy nonprofit professional, I have boiled down the report into three highlights.  If you don’t have time to read the whole report, this post is your next best option.

Pictures: take them

My favorite lesson from the report is “to use pictures effectively, be diligent about taking them… and storing them.”  This means making sure you have a designated photographer at events you host and possibly arranging for a photo shoot of volunteers, constituents, staff, and other people who have benefited from your organization’s work.  This also means organizing photos where staff can find them for easy use.  Don’t forget to tag your images based on content and date and continue to acquire new ones so your visual brand stays fresh and engaging.

Use genuine, not generic pictures

The next major lesson I took from the Resource Media report is about stock pictures.  Mostly that we should try really hard never to use them.  Take the opportunity to actually SHOW readers (and potential donors and activists!) how fantastic the work you do really is. Stock images are often forgettable and don’t evoke emotion, but images of the children your organization helps to feed or your board members just leaving a lobby visit have the power to make constitutes feel hopeful and motivated. Images help us convey emotion which is a primary motivator when donors choose to support an organization.

The A/B test is your friend

This is something I talk to clients about all the time — but usually about words, not pictures.  The Resource Media report suggests an A/B test with images, too. A case study described in the report included a 19 percent higher rate of engagement just by changing an image. I’ll take that!  It is also important to remember that folks won’t always react to an image the same way you do, making the A/B test even more important.  For more A/B test fun, check out one of my other favorite resources, Which Test Won.

So get out there, non-profiteers! Take some photos and use them well. Then tell us how it went.

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