Picture Perfect | npENGAGE

Picture Perfect

By on Dec 13, 2012


It is end of year fundraising time.

You’re likely sitting in front of a very full inbox or are running off to a meeting to put the finishing touches on part of your December campaign.  Or, you’re wading through the results of a Google image search to find the perfect graphic which will accompany your next fundraising appeal.  If that is the case, read this post.

When I’m not working as a Blackbaud Client Success Manager, I am a photographer.  This is a hobby which occasionally turns into professional photo related projects.  I share this so that my bias is very clear… alas, here’s my juicy image selection tip: use photos.  Use high quality photos of real people doing things that relate to your mission. If you’re reading this, you are likely a nonprofit professional working for an organization that does great work making the world a better place.  Use images that convey that work in your fundraising and other communications.

Here are some other tips of effective images:


Use photographs of actual people involved with your organization.  Stock pictures are okay, but I am a fan of the emotional connection often conveyed by volunteers, board members, constituents, voters, protestors, or staff in images.


I love this article from Social Triggers.  Read it, bookmark it, and consult it when choosing images for your fundraising emails (or any online marketing efforts, for that matter).


Don’t just use an image because you have the space or it looks pretty.  Keep the image in line with your message, or around end of year fundraising time, your ask.  Use the space that your image will take up to drive home the fact that your constituents need the services you provide.


Consider hiring a professional photographer (or asking a volunteer with photography experience) to document events your organization puts together.  Keep a selection of photographs on hand which speak to your mission and showcase how fantastic your organization is.


Include a photo waiver in your volunteer paperwork so you know you’ve got permission from people pictured to use their photo for fundraising purposes.

No Cartoons

Stay away from cartoons or clipart.  You want leverage the emotional reaction people feel when they see photographs as part of your fundraising strategy, cartoons and clipart are useful but not when you’re attempting an emotional hook.

I’d love to hear how your organization is making the most of photos in your fundraising campaigns.  Who takes them? How to you keep them organized? What types of images have worked well for you?


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