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Picking the Right Photos for Your Nonprofit Website

If it’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words, are the photos on your website saying the right things about your organization?

For many the answer isn’t a clear yes.

While the photos may speak to a organization’s staff and supporters the message might be muddled to an outsider. If like most nonprofits, your organization is always trying to reach out to potential constituents and funders – then make sure your photos help you get the job done.

Instead of telling you how to compose a good photo (you can read about that here), the examples below will illustrate what makes a good photo instead.

Can you guess what this organization does based on this screen grab from its website?

Partial screen grab of the Tutors for All website with obscured logo

(Click to enlarge)

If you said, provides students one-on-one instruction with college-age tutors then you are correct.

The screen grab is from the website of Tutors for All. The organization works to bridge the achievement gap through partnerships with universities, public schools and community centers to provide one-on-one instruction for kids in underserved communities.

Photo Lesson: Use photos that align with the action statement implicit in your mission.

Can you guess what this organization’s issue area is?

Midwest Renewable Energy Association homepage with logo obscured

(Click to enlarge)

If you said renewable energy sources then you are correct.

The screen grab is from the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) website. The MREA “promotes renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable living through education and demonstration.” The MREA holds energy fairs, an education institute, and conducts tours of demonstrating energy sustainable practices within the local business community.

Photo Lesson: If it’s difficult to show exactly what your organization does – because of the breadth or nature of its activities – then find a way to show what your cause is.

For more examples of organization’s demonstrating their mission in action and showing their causes take a look at the thumbnail screen grabs of the websites of Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Michigan Anti-Cruelty Society, and League of American Cyclists. These nonprofits don’t operate on large budgets but have managed to put their best foot forward by using photos that clearly connect to what they do.

Click on thumbnails to enlarge
 Screen grab of Chattahoochee Riverkeepers website Partial screen grab of MIchigan Anti-Cruelty Society website Partial screen grab of League of American Cyclists website

For more on the technical aspects of capturing good photos, this article from the TechSoup blog covers what you need to know.

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