Want to add visual content with a data-focused approach to your existing nonprofit outreach?

With all the noise out there-trillions of messages coming at you each day via ads, emails, texts, and tweets-it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. Visuals can send information to the brain remarkably fast and make seemingly boring information (such as a white paper or an annual report) look fun and exciting! Here's what your nonprofit's visuals need to succeed:

1. Have a reason.

The strategy behind creating an infographic should be considered before you gather your data and get going. Ask yourself: Why should I create this content, and what will I do with it? Will your infographic provide thought leadership, answer a burning question, drive brand awareness? If you're making a piece "just because," acknowledge that and determine if you have the resources to spare before you continue.

Network for Good Digital Giving Index

Network for Good's infographic, the Digital Giving Index (the top of which is shown here) showcases the latest stats on $190 million in online donations.


2. Use good data.

Case studies, fact sheets, client data—there are a wealth of places you can find data to visualize. Be sure that your data is sound, and include clear sources to show you're credible. If your supporters are captivated, they might want to explore the topic and your data further.

3. Tell a story.
There's no guarantee that something you make will go viral, but you can set up the conditions. A great story is the number one way to capture an audience who wants to spread the word. Make the story obvious and something your audience can relate to.

4. Use purposeful design.

When someone looks at your infographic, can he quickly and easily access the story and the data? Is the presentation successful? If it's hard for a viewer to understand what she's seeing, what roadblocks stand in the way and how can you remove them?

Bonus: "Keep it simple, stupid" isn't just something your math teacher told you. Many people think infographics need to be supercomplicated. Don't overthink! Picture familiar symbols: stop signs, smiley faces, Mickey Mouse ears. They're all extremely simple while communicating complex ideas.

Data visualization is a great way to help your audience see, hear, and engage with you and your brand. To learn more about how your nonprofit can use infographics, check out our free Nonprofit911 webinar with Joe Carillo of Visual.ly, "Infographics 101: Show Off Your Data."