3 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Visuals More Effectively

Did you know we only retain about 10% of what we read?

But, when we combine words with relevant images, we retain 65% of that same information up to 3 days later.

As a collegiate soccer player, I always found it easier to run a play when our coach drew it out on her clipboard and talked us through it. We could quickly see how to run the play and visualize the result.

There is serious power in using visuals to retain important information, and not just in sports. Non-profit organizations can make a bigger impact and compel people to take part in their causes by learning this skill.

When creating a social media post, a blog article, a fundraising flyer, or an annual report, strategically placing visuals to assist the written words makes your organization a valuable player in the competitive digital world.

Just like our coach helped us “see” the play so we could run the play effectively, pictures tell stories that your current and potential donors can easily and quickly digest. In fact, our brains process visuals up to 60,000 times faster than text.

In addition, according to an article published on BrightEdge, articles with visuals get 94% more views! That means, more fans for your organization!

Cause organizations that have a playbook of branded visuals not only increase engagement, but they also see an increase in donations and support.

As a professional graphic designer, I know how challenging it can be to find visuals that align with your organization’s mission and also compels people to give to your cause. There are ways to use images effectively that inspire a following and increase support for your cause.

Here are 3 Ways to Use Visuals More Effectively: 

#1: Create a Consistent Look and Feel on Social Media Content

Using imagery and consistent branding on social media makes your organization more memorable. Think about a brand you love and I bet a visual will come to mind almost immediately.

Focusing on visuals that convey the changes your organization is making is a powerful way to build and enhance a more personal connection with current and potential donors.

When you have a consistent look and feel to everything you do online, your organization becomes easily recognizable, familiar, and trustworthy.

Here’s an example from Title Nine using consistent visuals to stir emotions:

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Power Play:  Imagery that brings about an emotional response also lets your fans and followers know that you “get” them.

#2: Use Date-Driven Visuals to Highlight Results 

If you’ve got something important to share, show it via visual storytelling. Think of this as a visual scorecard of how your organization is meeting or exceeding your mission objectives.

Visually highlighting your impact and results of the good work your organization is doing is the winning game plan for scroll-stopping content.

Using data-driven visuals is an eye-catching way to share a visual story that inspires people to take action and support your cause.

Blog posts with graphs and charts get 258% more clicks than blog posts with other types of images.

Quicksprout Research

Regardless of whether you’re sending out a fundraising flyer, a blog article, or an email, incorporating relevant data-driven visuals helps potential donors digest important information faster (60,000 times faster to be exact).

Here’s an example from the HighFives Foundation which uses data-driven visuals in their annual report to draw attention to their good work:

High Fives Annual Report, Visual Data

Power Play: Choose data that drives key points of what your organization has accomplished so it compels your readers to support and give.

#3: Update Website Graphics to Generate a Brand Buzz 

Of course, the words you use on your website are important. But even the best words without emotive images will make your website, and your sales, fall flat.

Images are powerful motivators, encouraging readers to engage with your content. Understanding how and which visuals help you accomplish your goals will help you make the right choices for your site, resulting in positive growth for your organization.

– BrightEdge

Incorporating visuals and imagery that align with your organization’s mission and your target audience’s desires catch the eye and spark curiosity and trust.

One of my favorite foundations, Challenged Athletes Foundation, does a phenomenal job of using both words and visuals to inspire and engage their visitors.

Four individuals on a track participating in a relay

Power Play: A Brand Guide ensures your business or organization has a rule book that maintains a cohesive look and feel to your core messages. If you don’t have a brand guide for your organization, let’s talk! 

When you have a compelling case for support, clear objectives, and visuals that assist your messages, you stand out and engage donors who care about your cause. If you run a non-profit and need help with adding pictures that tell a great story about your good work, let’s talk. Schedule a complimentary consult today.