Your marketing or fundraising campaign needs just the right photo to make an impact. How do you know which one will work? Or which ones to even try?
Whether you’re choosing from stock photography or working with a photographer, the photo selection process is an important step in telling the story of your organization and impact.
Once you know the main goal of the campaign, you’re one step closer to picking a great image to enhance it.
A good photo usually has these 4 things in common:
1. Good composition
The composition is the arrangement of all the elements in the picture. Background, foreground, shapes, proportion, etc. The photo should feel balanced.
2. Good exposure
Think areas of light and dark. A lot can be done in Adobe Photoshop to fix certain lighting issues, but not always. It’s always best to start with a good image.
Does it make you feel happy, empathy, or powerless? Be careful about relying too much on “misery” to tell your story.
4. Captures a moment
Photos that capture a moment in time can be a powerful storyteller. Maybe it’s something small that’s often overlooked, or even a really big moment that usually passes by quickly.
Once you’ve found photos that meet the 4 requirements (or at least 3) narrow down the options by asking yourself these:
- How many do I need?
- What size do I need?
- How will these be used (social media, print, etc.)?
- Will the text be placed on top, next to, or not at all?
It’s important to choose a few options to test before making the final selection. A good designer can make magic with even “not-so-great” photos, but it’s usually best to start with a variety of images. Lay them out and pick whichever works best for your needs. You could even A/B test two different photos in a campaign and compare results.
What have been your successes or failures when choosing the right photo? Let me know in the comments
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Without a hero, stories fall flat. We need someone to root for, hope for, or fight for. Also, without a hero, the story is quickly forgotten.
What should you write about?
When it comes to writing your story, there is a lot to consider. One is for sure, “We’re great, support us!” shouldn’t be your story.
All stories need to have 3 elements:
- Hero — give us someone to root for
- Desire — what does this person want or need
- Conflict — what’s standing in the way
And don’t forget to make us feel. The best stories involve emotion. Don’t focus on numbers and data at this point. Put us in the hero’s shoes with an emotional connection.
What about an ending?
You actually don’t have to give your story an ending. Let the reader add their ending by enticing them to take action on behalf of the hero.
Which hero should you pick?
If you’re not sure if you should focus on donors or clients, then conduct an A/B test. Your website or social media is the perfect place to test this kind of thing. Create both stories, with similar visuals, and test them to see which one resonates the most with your audience.
Have you created a story focused on a client or donor? I’d love to hear about it.
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What does nonprofit design have in store this new year? Here’s my a list of what we have to look forward to and be ready for:
Storytelling is no industry secret. Emotions drive all our decisions, whether it’s to cut our hair, buy a house, or donate money to a cause. How you tell your story is up to you, but don’t forget the human element. Include photos and stories of real people that have benefited from your mission, or someone on your team that is dedicated to making a difference. Make it personal.
This is what I’ll be working on this year. Telling my story, why I do what I do, and why I believe design can change the world.
Mobile, Mobile, Mobile
We do everything on their phones, from reading and talking to buying and donating. Make sure your site looks good and works well on a phone and tablet. And make sure donating is easy to do. Make use of the latest technology like the new apps Social Give and Givelify which are changing how people donate.
Networks and Movements
The complex problems we’re trying to solve need solutions and resources from everywhere. We can’t do it alone. Join forces with like-minded people, nonprofits, businesses, and governments. As the saying goes “there is no silver bullet, only silver buckshot.”
Everyone’s doing it and it’s really just the beginning of user generated content. Not sure if it matters to your organization? Remember the ALS ice bucket challenge? was under generated and raised $115 million in 2014. Make it fun, easy to do, and make sure what you get can be repurposed.
I’m sure you already have a to-do list a mile long for 2017, I know I do. So start small if need be. You can always build on small wins and incorporate more down the line. What are you working on this year?
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I hear the word “viral” a lot, but what does it take to make something that people want to share? According to Seth Godin, make it so enticing that they have to share it with at least one other person.
7 things to keep in mind for your next viral campaign
What is the campaign about
Maybe you want to raise awareness. But think about why you want to raise awareness. Is there something special about your organization or mission? Maybe there’s something new that’s a game changer? It might help to gather some stakeholders and brainstorm together.
Who is your audience
Be as specific as possible so you craft the right content and tone.
Make something entertaining and shareable
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel with every campaign, but a new perspective can help. It can be as simple as getting your team to do something silly and document it through photos and video.
Why should they share
People tend to share things that are a statement about what they believe in. Another option is to put them in the driver’s seat by letting them choose what the special offer is. You can give them something exclusive, or appeal to their emotional needs and values.
Make it easy and rewarding
Don’t make them click 5 times, or jump through hoops. If it’s not easy to view and share, they will not do it.
Acknowledge and reward them
Thank them, answer questions and be responsive, always. I recently read about a Swedish blood bank that sends donors a text message when their blood has been given to a patient. Wow! I would give blood just to get one of these text messages.
Give up some control
Like all things that live on the internet, you have to give up some control. You can’t always predict how people will respond or use what you create. If you embrace this fact, it actually puts you ahead of the game.
I’d love to hear about a recent campaign you did. Was it shared like you hoped?
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Telling your story and the impact you have can be difficult. It takes planning and resources, so here are a few tips on how to DIY a “Behind the Scenes” marketing campaign.
First, spend some time thinking about the actual project/initiative you’re working on and what kind of behind the scenes story you want to tell. Are you working with a photographer to get some client stories for your website? Or maybe putting together your Fall line of sustainable accessories? Each one will call for a slightly different approach.
Take pictures and video of everything.
- Equipment, accessories, production assembly line
- Transporting and going to venue
- Setting everything up
- People in action
- Team meetings and gatherings
- Taking a break and having fun
Take notes and ask questions
- Capture funny things said and profound insights from participants
- Get someone that participated to write about what it was like from their point of view.
Now edit and upload
- Post 1-2 per day on your social media accounts. If you have multiple accounts try to use slightly different angles and cropping, so that it doesn’t seem like the same exact picture is being used. Add text to provide context, tag people, and use a hashtag.
- Combine a few into grids using apps like Layout.
- Add some to your blog or website.
- Using an app like Canva and design a graphic with a quote from one of the participants
- Feature a short synopsis of the day by one of the participants on your blog or website.
A few things to keep in mind
- Bring extra cameras
- Have someone dedicated to taking pictures and talking to participants
- Be flexible and a fly on the wall
- Tell a story using images and interviews
- Don’t be a perfectionist
Everyone loves to see how things come together and get a glimpse behind the curtain. This is your opportunity to showcase your dedicated team and the hard work they put in—even if it’s a team of one.
Have you done a behind the scenes campaign before? What worked and didn’t work?
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