February 25, 2017 brianfeulner

6 Ways for your Nonprofit to improve its visual communication

Having great photos and video for your website, press releases, communications materials and ways of reaching new or dedicated donors has never been more important. Whether your a small non-profit starting from scratch or a large mover and shaker, it’s always good to spend some time looking at your visual communications strategy. Here area  few tips to get you started. 

Photos of your team and your team in action Action is the key here. We’ve all seen the lawyer-ly websites with headshots on blue stagnant backgrounds or the fake book shelf. Those days are over. The young, hip millennial crowd wants to see real people, preferably doing real things. Let your staff be who they are and look like they are. The more personality and action in these photos the better. Let your community of donors, fans and volunteers see who you are.

Short video telling folks what you’re about – Consider producing a video of two minutes or less telling people what you’re all about. There’s no need to get technical here, but sharing a video mission statement will allow your audience to understand who you are, and hopefully connect, creating a long term relationship. (What do you do: We help to provide clean drinking water to parts of the world that have a difficult time accessing it. Why do you do it: Water is the most important element to human survival, without it the world will suffer. Where do you focus? Our work is focused on countries in central Africa. Etc.) Keep it simple and keep the wording so everyone will understand what you do. Consider adding in some photos or video b-roll of your team in action so it’s not just a straight video of you talking. You’ll lose eyeballs that way.

Web video series of storytelling that reflects the work that your non-profit does. The key here is storytelling. These videos don’t have to be who ra ra’s to your organization. They should simply be well-crafted, interesting and informational short videos that reflect the people or subjects involved in your work. If you help deliver clean drinking water to African nations, maybe do a story about a family living in central Africa that has to walk long distances to get their drinking water. Show the pain and suffering that they experience to allow viewers to understand why your work is so important, without having to throw it in their face.

Larger the visuals the better, but make sure they’re curated. From a design perspective, there’s nothing worse than a website with small thumbnail type photos, especially beautiful ones, scattered throughout a front page. Edit down your photos so they look good together first. Remember, sometimes less is more and go big with your beautiful photos or video in your showcase.

A photo of Athens by Brian Feulner shared on the Cause Beautiful Instagram account.

Shareable photos on Instagram and memes. Instagram is a great revenue for new viewers to learn your name and brand. Frequently updating your Instagram, twitter or Facebook pages with photos of your team doing the work they do, people that you help or work that you’ve done will get the message across that you’re hard workers doing good in the world, while also spreading your non-profit’s message. Having guest photographers who do related work do an “Instagram takeover” for a period of time is a great way to dip into a larger network, gaining more followers and spreading your message to a wider audience.

Video memes. Facebook and Instagram are great places for short videos with text captions over the top that simply tell a story. Because mobile is ruling the world, not everyone has headphones on, or the time to see a full two-to-five minute video. Hence the popularity of silent, or musically based, videos with text over the top. Think of these like video memes. FaceBook has also made it easier to close caption your videos. This is a must have to keep up retention rates on mobile viewers. 

Brian Feulner is the owner of Feulner Visuals, a photographer and video production company that helps non-profits change the world.

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