Master the Art of Visual Storytelling for Your Nonprofit

Did you know that people retain 80 percent of what they see?

If you were to come and visit me, you’ll hear me telling my marketing team to always keep the copy brief and make it about the image.

Nonprofits have it tougher, I think, than a lot of businesses. They have to convey an idea. They have to move people to donate about a cause, which is not a product. You can’t see, touch and feel poverty or hunger, for example. Charities should master visual storytelling.

There’s an incredible opportunity to leverage and amplify your nonprofit brand with good visual storytelling. With something as basic as a smartphone, you can create livestreams, videos and visual art that engages your supporters. With digital and social media, it’s so easy for your followers to see your images, engage, comment, repost and send to others.

So you can master visual storytelling, here’s what I do with my team:

    • Singular Image: When my team is looking to do what we call our “social media art” or “digital art” we ask ourselves if the image is compelling on its own, without any copy or text. If it is, we use it. If it’s not, we don’t use it. It’s as simple as that. The image has to stand on its own.
    • Show Your Work and Your Team: If you see some of our livestreams, you’ll notice that we walk around the office and we get our team members to talk. I’m sure you’re wondering why you would want to do that, but social media “rules” are different than traditional marketing. Social media is much more casual. I called my blog “Not Your Father’s Charity” for a specific reason. I wanted to send the signal to everyone that doing what others did in the past is not how you’re going to be successful today. You want to attract young Millennials. You have to expand your base. You’re not going to hook into young people by doing the old school things. This generation wants to know all about you. So get out from behind the camera and show your face every once in a while.
    • Graphic Design: Your images are easy to manipulate with tools such as Picasso and Canva. You can take great pictures on your smartphone and then add some relevant text. With my marketing team we’ll use images and then combine them with awesome quotes. We use this type of art all the time on social media to engage and capture the imagination of our followers around the work we do each and every day.
  • Create a Facebook Page: We all know that Facebook is the dominant social media platform in the world. I used to say if I can’t find you on Google, you don’t exist. Well, if I can’t find your nonprofit on Facebook, you don’t exist. One of the things I would do if I were still running a nonprofit organization is to schedule weekly images on the social media management queue. I would pin an excellent and compelling image to the top of the page. Tell your followers to share your images in your posts. Don’t be shy. Use your images as a call to action to help you promote and spread word about your brand.

It doesn’t take a lot of time or even any money to get your story out there visually in a winning way. And, with today’s apps and web-based software, you needn’t be an expert in technology or design. Every social sector organization, no matter their size or budget, can now master visual story telling.


7 Creative Ways To Inject New Life Into Your Marketing Plan

All companies will find themselves at odds with their marketing strategy. This isn’t to say that they are not getting the results they want from the plan. It just seems as though the plan in, and of itself, grows a bit stale and worn. What’s more, all successful companies find that in order to stay on the cutting edge and attract new customers, they need to tweak their marketing approach to appeal to new audiences.

it’s a risk that has tremendous rewards, and even more key is the idea that you don’t have to go too crazy with new approaches. With these seven slight, creative tweaks, you can breathe new life into your marketing:

1. Use Social Media a Little Differently – Themes in social media are the name of the game to get likes and looks. Try using this to your advantage. Maybe a “Throwback-Thursday” hashtag on a picture can be a fun way to show your business (and your hairstyle) from ‘back in the day’ and where things are now. The strategy is not too outlandish, but it’s just cool enough.

2. Get Your Customer In On the Action – Your customers are your best business outreach. It’s through their experience with your product that others are drawn to you. Let them submit pictures of themselves with your product (ease may vary depending on your product), and depending on likes or shares, they could win a gift card. This way, you’re actively connecting with your customers, fostering relationships, and getting them to help market a company they like.

3. Infographics – Embrace visuals! Online attention spans can be short, so why not hit potential customers with interesting information in the form of an interesting graphic? This way, a lot of information gets shared in a small amount of time, and you increase your chance of having the graphic be shared.

4. Embrace ‘The List’ – Whether it’s a ‘Top 10’ or a ‘Top 5’, by creating a ranking of an item, you’ve created a place for discourse on whether others agree or not. Moreover, you’ve now created an interaction based on a passion of the prospective customer, and that can certainly create attention for your company.

5. Show Some Personality – People enjoy connecting with companies that are personable. Maybe your employees are all college football fans. Guess what? So might your customers, so let your school colors show. You could even have fun with memes!

6. “Gamification” – Everyone enjoys games, so find a way to blend your product into a game of sorts. Maybe a themed online treasure hunt based in your company’s industry may elicit new information about your product & get people to see what makes you so unique.

7. Titles Matter – When it comes to your content, your title is the major draw. You need to work on the best way to get eyes & mouse-clicks, and this means carefully crafting your titles. It’s a small thing, but you’d be surprised how much this matters.

Marketing strategy is an ever-evolving part of doing business. Just be sure the evolution doesn’t pass you by.