They have said that a picture is worth a thousand words. In many ways, this is true, especially when doing charitable outreach. Photojournalism has a long and proud history of bringing far-away images to those who may never see certain sites in person, but the picture’s impact on helping others is immeasurable. Understanding the role that pictures play in public relations, especially as it pertains to charitable organizations, is key to any successful media program, from fundraisers to awareness campaigns.
Connect the Givers to the Needy
Whatever your charitable organization is seeking to do, it is vital that you build a connection between those whom you want to help, and those who can offer the aid. If your group is feeding the hungry in a third-world country, no letter about the abysmal conditions can compare to pictures of the starving children. Pictures and video make it feel real, and in motivating people to care about your cause, you need for it to be real for them. Everyone knows that there is pain and strife in the world, but distance dulls our understanding of the pain.
While most people have seen a tree get chopped down, witnessing the devastating effects of deforestation is much more intense than simply describing it. Hearing about malaria outbreaks sounds awful, but seeing the conditions that people must live in, and watching them suffer from an easily cured disease, motivates us to action.
Show Where Their Support is Going
With so many scams being perpetrated under the guise of charity, it is good to show people where their time, money, and donations are going. This doesn’t just mean pictures and video of where everything ends up, but the process of gathering, shipping, and distributing the aid. The more confident the donors are, the more support you and your cause can count on as you move forward and grow your organization.
Let Donors and Volunteers See the Results
People inherently want to do good, but people also want to know that they have done good. Any charitable group will have better results and be more effective when they can actually show those involved with the charity what they have accomplished through their time, work, and money. The image of a child dressed by a clothing drive, or of volunteers cleaning a once-damaged habitat, can have an immeasurable effect on those who have supported your cause.
Nothing guarantees donor retention and growth like showing them the return on their investment. Every charity is, in a way, an investment opportunity. But instead of getting money or ownership of a commodity or service in return, it is rewarded with the good done for the sake of others. Show people that they have had a healthy return on their investment, and they will help again.