It might be old news, but it's still true: Visuals trump text. Content with compelling images experience 94% more views on average than content without images.

Nonprofits can harness the power of visuals to help boost their online presence, generate an engaged social media following, and share information with supporters and donors. Here are 10 ways your nonprofit can leverage visuals online and off.

1. Release data with an infographic

Infographics are a fun way to visualize data in a shareable format. Successful infographics highlight relevant data that truly interests people in a visual, aesthetically pleasing way. (See a nice gallery of nonprofit infographics from The Chronicle of Philanthropy for some examples.)

Want some help with your own infographics? Register for our upcoming Nonprofit 911 webinar, Infographics 101, for an introduction.

Gates Foundation Reinvent the Toilet Infographic
 

Want to learn to create infographics like this one from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation? Sign up for our free webinar Infographics 101.

 

2. Enhance storytelling

Storytelling is an essential part of nonprofit marketing. Images enhance stories and create an emotional connection to characters and your cause. Do you include images of the people or animals your nonprofit impacts, like the St. Bernard Project did in their Faces of Katrina campaign? Including real faces will help your donors feel an emotional connection to your cause.

3. Highlight quotes and facts

Have a great quote from a conference? Make it shine by overlaying the quote on an interesting picture from the conference. Have a powerful fact to share? Couple it with a graphic and share it on social media to add visual interest. This type of visual is a great idea for nonprofits who want to share facts and quotes on Facebook.

4. Create a collection

Many organizations have a set of images from a special event or volunteer day that participants and donors would love to view. The perfect way to share these images is through a collection or Facebook album. The Best Day Foundation, an organization that plans adventure activities for children with special needs, shares collections of their Best Day events (and tons of smiles!) on their website.

5. Show your funny side with memes

Because memes are typically funny or adorable, they're great visuals and very shareable. The National Wildlife Federation made one that totally fits the bill by poking fun at the popular "Hey girl" meme featuring actor Ryan Gosling.

6. Document events

Having a photographer at an event can prove helpful days and even years after the event is over. Here are some ways you can use these photos:

  • Share event images with donors in a newsletter or event recap
  • Show event success to sponsors
  • Use the photos for future promotional activities for the next event
  • Create a historical archive of the organization's main events and activities

The Arts Council of New Orleans used a Facebook album document their May Arts Market.  

7. Showcase behind-the-scenes activities

Behind-the-scenes photos can help organizations show supporters that there are people just like them making sure the mission of the organization is lived out every day. Public radio station KSER uses behind the scenes photos to show the normal and exciting things that happen at their station.

8. Make your website shine

When you think of your organization's website, what are the first words that come to your mind? Are the images blurry and stretched stock images or are they crisp, professional photos that truly exemplify your organization's mission? Your website should be your nonprofit's home base online, so make sure the photos boost your organization's image. Our friends at Care2 have great tips about how to choose appropriate images for your website.

9. Organize and direct

Nonprofits can spruce up emails and websites by adding visual cues to help donors and supporters find the information they need. Using icons to organize content like an email list sign up, donation page, petition, volunteer opportunities, and wish lists can help supporters quickly navigate to your prime content.

10. Spread the love

It's becoming more common for Facebook and Twitter users to dedicate their profile or cover image to their favorite nonprofit during special campaigns. Think of it as a digital bumper sticker. Parents of Girl Scouts were encouraged to share this image to show their support on Facebook.