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Three Principles for Getting the Most from Your Nonprofits Best Stories

Magic wand time – POOF! I just turned your organization into a fashion magazine. Of course, we’re using magic so we can also get rid of all those airbrushed, sad-looking models and replace them with powerful pictures of people and communities doing amazing things instead.

Take a closer look – what exactly do you see?

Getting the answer is the heart of what VisualStoryLab, a project of Resource Media, is helping nonprofits do. They’ve tapped some of the best brains in the business – neuroscientists, photographers, advertisers, filmmakers and of course, top nonprofit communicators – to better understand how people process information and ultimately make decisions.

How does a person actually decide to fight for one important cause but not another?

In this helpful two-part webinar series, Resource Media boils it down to three guiding principles for effective communications:

  1. People are visual first, verbal second
  2. Decisions and actions are based more on emotional reactions than rational thought
  3. Visuals are the most effective communication vehicles for evoking emotion and getting people to take action

The key is to start with the end in mind. Nonprofits all too often try to win over supporters by leading with their most persuasive arguments and statistics or by using only text to convey who they really are.

But why? It’s been proven time and time again that pictures are more powerful than words. Seen any nonprofit mission statements go viral lately? Probably not, but I bet you can think of a funny video or six that you’ve seen in the last month.

Nonprofits must embrace the power of the picture. Tip: Try building your next campaign plan around a powerful image or set of images.

Show supporters what’s possible when they commit to fighting for your cause:

  • How happy children are by gaining access to better education
  • How empowered citizens feel when fighting against evil corporations
  • How beautiful our environment can be when it’s being protected

Or illustrates what’s at stake if they don’t:

  • The sadness of someone who just lost their home
  • The anger felt by a community whose voices are being drowned out
  • The outrage felt when Congress fails to pass a critical piece of legislation

Whatever image you choose, aim to make an emotional connection. Remember: Even if your goal is to change the world, it’s okay to show your glossy side first.

More Resources:

Topics: Strategy