Have you ever wondered why animal rescue organizations or international relief organizations show photos of animals or children in dire need? It’s not to heap guilt on you or disgust you. It’s so they can show you the remarkable transformation that happens when you donate and the visible difference your donations make.
If a homeless mission only shows you photos of transformed lives – say graduates of their sober-living program – and only uses their words to explain how far the graduate has come, then it’s entirely on the donor to imagine how far the person has come. They have to imagine the person’s worst or lowest moment to comprehend the magnitude of the changed life. It can seem unbelievable (and in all candor sometimes it is!).
Why is this imagery so important? 65% of the US population is visually oriented – that means they receive and perceive their
If we see a photo of a puppy covered in fleas and ticks juxtaposed next to that same puppy all clean and fluffy, we don’t have to imagine, we SEE the difference our gifts make.
If we see a child in dirty clothes with sad eyes downcast contrasted with that same child in a clean uniform and bright, shiny eyes looking right into the camera, we SEE the difference our gifts make.
What happens if you don’t have a before and after photo? If you have access to your subject, take a variety of photos showing them both serious and smiling, preferably in a variety of outfits and backgrounds.
Maybe you don’t even have an actual photo of the subject in your story? Look for stock imagery that most closely matches the description of your client but focus on the need aspect of the photo. A serious photo conveys more need than a happy, smiling face.
It’s not to say there’s no place for the joyful photos. There absolutely is! Use them to validate the donors’ decisions to give or to validate the success of your important work. Just be cautious if all you ever show to donors or prospective donors is joy. They could think that you’ve got the work covered and don’t need their valuable assistance.
That’s what I’ve got for you today. A musing on photos. What are your thoughts? Have you seen this play out in your fundraising work? Drop me a line at khoots at wizardofads dot com.